If futbol is the everyday sport in Nakivale, basketball is the sport most overlooked because of lack of decent play spaces. Every basketball team we met expressed concern with uneven ground, the dirt and gravel covering the courts, and even disruption of play as cars, motos or even cattle move across.
Estelle from the women’s basketball team explains the dangers: “Truly we have a really bad court. Sometimes we slip, we fall. Cars and motos drive through the court while we’re playing.”
So on Day 211, we resolved to do something about it. We met with Alex and other engineers from the Wakati Foundation, all who are refugees themselves. They presented a budget to resurface the court near ARC’s office in Base Camp. “We have many skills in our country as engineers” says Alex, a big smile on his face as Wakati Foundation signed the contract for the resurfacing. “We work as a community. It’s our job to give back.”
They started the work right away, bringing in large rocks, breaking them into smaller pieces, and laying a firm base across the court. On top of this a layer of soft concrete is laid on top. The hard rocks won’t shrink in the hot sun which assures durability, and the soft concrete layer channels water away to the edges for draining. And because the court is raised, it will force traffic – cars, motos, even herds of cattle – to skirt around the court instead of across.
Our last ‘to do’ was to make sure the kids basketball team had jerseys. Now the men’s, women’s and kid’s teams all have jerseys, and with their new court they can invite teams – even from outside the settlement – to come play in Nakivale.
The teams are beyond excited about the transformation of their court. Before the resurfacing, Gilles – the captain of the Lions basketball team – said “You see that little court we have – I can’t even call it a court. They wouldn’t understand how we could play there because it’s just a bunch of dust.” Now the basketball team is ready to play. “I like playing basketball because it’s my passion. This new court – it will keep us safe. It changes everything.”
A special thanks to Clif Bar for making the concrete court in Nakivale a reality!