Day 6 by Cristina

Today was a simple day. We woke up early, and had our usual breakfast. It was raining pretty heavily in the morning so we couldn’t build the basket ball court as planned but we still went to the after school program to play with the children. Since our morning was slightly delayed by the rain we didn’t have to rush out of the house so quickly, so since we all woke up at 8 and were now told that we were leaving at 12, we all went back to bed. When we boarded the bus we drove to the Hoops 4 Hope center. We had a delicious lunch prepared to us by Fiona, the manager of Hoops  4 Hope wife. We had chicken, squash, rice, mixed vegetables and fruit. After our lunch we played knock out on the little brick driveway, until it was time to go. When it was time to go we hoped on the bus again and drove for nearly an hour to the after school program. The ride was tiring but every time we ride the bus we all see different people and different environments. We drove past vast corn fields and along long highways. On the sides of the road local venders were selling everything from tomatoes to car parts in their small, homemade stand up shops in which they made them selves out of wood and plastic bags. The road was flooded with water and the amount of trash drifting along the streets were amazing. Clumps of trash floated along the water into the farm land and into the dirt sidewalks. We drove past factories and more slums, until we reached our destination. When we pulled up we were greeted by native dancers who played the drums, maracas and horns. They danced in their fur and feather costumes for 2 hours with us and the children. They taught us fun dances and songs. Later we went outside and played basket ball and sand songs and danced. Being with the children is always such a fun experience because they are always so energetic and loving. After hours of singing and dancing we drove back home and relaxed and showered before dinner. We ordered in Thai food and Hailey, Luis and I went out to go pick it up. It took a really long time to get since the order was huge , but when we got home everyone enjoyed their meals and we all settled in bed to rest for the next big day.

Day 5: Another day…another adventure by Luis

We started our day  at eleven o’clock due to the exhaustion of our team, this week we have being putting a lot of energy into the games with the children and we pretend to keep putting more and more energy, today we didn’t work with the kids, sadly, but we still got to go out and have an amazing day, our adventure starts at the park (put in name) the drive was already part of the adventure the roads felt like rollercoaster, but as soon as we left we saw an amazing view of the animals and nature all around us was amazing, we had a cabana in which were going to prepare barbecue we were waiting for the hoops4hope all-stars to arrive so we went for walks, we were able to see ancient rock painting that our guide told us that it’s estimated to be from the 1600s and a group of zebras. In The cabana, we had a lot of fun with the all-stars, playing cards, soccer and juggling. The food was spectacular we had beef, sausages, and chicken with sadza, a typical food from Zimbabwe made of very fine cooked cornmeal, after we had finished having lunch and cleaned up our cabana it was time to head on home and for dinner we would be having chef. Hailey prepared us some pasta and for dessert myself and Cristina made Brazilian dessert called brigadeiro.


Day 4:“Today felt like three days in one” by Pearl

Today we went to the Harare Children’s Home, Wild Is Life reserve, and a basketball game at City Sports Center. It was a… weird day. Very long. We started out early and went straight to the children’s home, and were given a tour by one of the caretakers upon arrival. After viewing the conditions the children all live in, we were given a couple hours to play with them. After about five minutes, everyone had latched on to a specific baby and took care of them for the entirety of the visit. I personally collected three. It was an amazing experience. We all felt so connected to the kids, and did our best to make them happy for the short time we were there. Everyone was walking around with a sleeping child in their arms. We gave them snacks and drew with them before we had to, tearfully, go. After the children’s home we went to the Hoops 4 Hope center for a quick meal of sandwiches. Next up was the Wild Is Life reserve, where we fed giraffes, met ostriches, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and baby elephants, and were finally able to meet one of the fabled Pangolins in real life. They are the sweetest. We undisputedly loved the girl we met, named Marimba. I yanked about twenty ticks off of the giraffes’ faces, therefore losing the opportunity to take selfies with them in favor of conserving their blood supply. We were supplied with high tea and snacks by the lovely people who ran the reserve, before leaving at dusk. We then travelled to see the local semi-pro basketball team play a game. Nygel was into it, he sat court side. At the conclusion of the game we drove home to the Ballantyne lodge.

Day 3! by Larry Li and John Saldona

Today was yet another spectacular day in Zimbabwe. We first went to the markets in Harare to start.  We bought souvenirs for our parents and snacks to eat at the lodge. The markets were incredible and everyone was so nice. However, I felt bad when the people who owned stores would ask us to come in and buy something when we had no money left. I remember a woman asked me to buy anything to “start her day” but I had bought stuff already and I had run out of money. I only had 45 cents and I showed her and she said, “that is alright, I will give you this” She gave me a small strawberry keychain that looked really nice. I felt bad because I couldn’t give more to them and I also told a lot of the store owners that I would come back next week just so that they could understand we didn’t have money at the moment, but I don’t even know if we are going to see them again.

There was a special kid with me the whole time, he cannot speak any English and it was hard for us to understand each other, we had to use hand starches for the whole time. When the clothes were given away for the kids, I got a tee for him, he was so happy, I can tell from his smile. These kids have nothing but smiles, compared to us I feel we have so much and we still always complain about it. When we were leaving, the kids were staring at us till we leave. I felt a lot of love from the kids and I want to help the kids more in the future. They made me realize that I should always be positive with my life.

Day 1: Let’s go to Zimbabwe! -by Carina Felden

Today, we started our Field Academy to Zimbabwe. We got on the bus very early (unfortunately) and took about a 15 hours flight from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa. Then we took another plane for about 2 hours to Harare, our final destination! There, we met the directors of Hoops 4 Hope and loaded 25 heavy supply bags onto the bus and it felt great knowing these bags were going to help so many people. Afterwards, we took a refreshing bus ride through Harare’s downtown business district to the Ballantyne Lodge and saw some important town sites like the Zimbabwe National Art Gallery. The streets were bustling with people and there was a lot of greenery. There were many ways people raised money by selling a variety of items: food, balloons, water while the cars stopped, merchandise or handmade art like Shona sculptures on the sidewalks. We were elated when we arrived at the lodge and were in awe of its beauty. We were greeted by the managers of the lodge and had a delicious lunch. The rest of the day we had free time to relax and get to know each other. Some students did activities like playing music and playing cards. Everyone is excited about the next day and look forward to being involved with Hoops 4 Hope activities.

“The lodge has a cozy homey feel, but also is very aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated designed.” – Greer and Emma

“The lodge is like a family.” – Larry

“I think it’s very peaceful and the amenities are nice.” – Nygel

“I think it’s cool. The pool is good.” – John

“The lodge is very okay. It’s really beautiful here, I like it.” – Alexander

“I think it’s interesting that all the rooms are designed in different ways.” – Pearl

“You don’t need any 5 star hotel, the lodge is enough and even better!” – Carina


Zimbabwe Pre-Trip Blog by Ally Friedman

The last few days before taking off and starting our incredible journey to Zimbabwe are very exciting for the kids, but very stressful for the chaperones. Going into this trip I feel many different emotions. I am so grateful that my school organizes a trip to go to this amazing place. I’m excited to meet and make new friends, learn about different cultures, and help people. Although I’m writing this blog, I thought you might want to get an idea of what some of the other people on the trip are thinking.

I interviewed a few kids on the trip and asked them what their hopes and expectations were for the trip, and here were some of their responses.

Greer: “I hope that we will be able to hear everyone’s experiences with the group and how they got into the group, and expect to have a great time.”

Emma: “I am hoping to come away from this trip with a sense of unity with the rest of our trip and gratitude for what I have that I do easily take so easily for granted.”

Carina: “My expectations are that I will have an amazing time and will realize how different the life could be, but also how much life can change through sports”

John: “I think it’s going to be really fun and I’m most excited to help out at Hoops4Hope”

Pearl: “[I] Really looking forward to seeing the biome and animals (I’ve always wanted to see Africa, the land itself seems just amazing) [I] Would love to meet a pangolin, as I’ve heard so much about them. I’m terrible with kids, looking forward to seeing how I handle this. [I] Would love to get to know everyone we’re going with. [I want to] try all the food.”

Sofia: “I hope to become closer with all of the Ross team, as well as make lifelong friendships with the kids and people in Zimbabwe.”

Ben: “My hopes and expectations for the trip, is to make lifelong friends that I know i have made an impact on. I also expect to have my viewpoints altered, and understand how lucky we really are.”

Jenna: “My hopes for the trip is that I branch out and meet new friends and create lifelong memories. My expectations for the trip is for it to be hard but very rewarding and having the best time!!!”

In preparation to the trip on our last Zimbabwe parents meeting in the High School Library Mark Crandall came and we watched the Zimbabwe Hoops4Hope movie. The film goes through a day by day of what the program is like. It also follows the growth of basketball in Africa. It is shot in many different perspectives following different people who make or made H4H possible. The film also explains how H4H and basketball saved many kids and took them off the street out of danger. Many H4H alumni continue to dedicate their life to helping and making the program better, some even made it to the NBA. This movie was so powerful and it made me want to be a part of this incredible cause, and do whatever I can to help.

Our last activity as a group before leaving was packing night. We were downstairs in Gandhi Hall. This is where everyone brought in extra suitcases and we packed up all the clothes and basketball equipment we got from our fundraising projects. Special thanks to Set Point Tennis where I used to work for donating lots of clothes.

-Ally F. Class of 2020

A note from the trip leaders:
We are very excited for this journey. The students have banned together and raised over $7500 for Hoops4Hopes and collected 24 suitcases worth of supplies, balls, uniforms, art supplies, sneakers, etc. We will arrive with heavy bags and light hearts. We are ready to dive into the spirit if “Ubuntu”: I am because we are.

Next stop, Harare, Zimbabwe!


Hi Team,
Please bring in any empty suitcases you may have tomorrow. It’s very exciting hearing about so many full suitcases, but I need to know how many empty we will have. We need about 10-12 empty cases for essential supplies we have to bring with us.
Also, I only have 1 request for a school ID. You MUST have one. Let me know asap if you need one and bring in $5.
Remember Hoops 4 Hope dress down day on Wednesday. Tell your friends. Please come to school early if you can help.
Final meeting Thursday during advisory and then 4-6.
Thanks all, Miss L