Welcome Back!

Welcome back StreetSquashers ! As we begin another great year
at squash we want to get squashers more involved with our SSB. I know
you’re thinking “We have a blog?”. The answer is yes and we’re getting more
interactive with students. So send (maiyah.rushing.tma@gmail.com) in your squash pics, squash related articles (or not), or simply send us a joke you thought was funny. We’ll post it and your voice will be heard. To start the year off I’ll give you a riddle: When can you add 2 to 11 and get 1 as the correct answer? Comment your answers and I’ll announce the winner next week. Catch you next time. Till then, turn blue.

- Maiyah J.

Matagalpa

When we arrived in Matagalpa I was immediately excited to explore the community because it appeared more walkable and relaxed than the hustle and bustle of managua.  We immediately headed up into the picturesque hillside where as we climbed we saw the red and black FSLN markings of the sandanista party we had learned so much about.  After we arrived at our destination, La Selva Negra “The Black Forest” we sat down for a wonderful meal and chit chat before embarking on a several hour long hike through the forest. The hike was an experience none of us will forget, and a reminder about trying new things and not giving up.  Even with sliding up and down mud trails, seeing new plants, and fearing animals, we made it back with huge smiles on our faces and some awesome exercise!

Our second day in Matagalpa was extremely informational and left many lasting impressions.First, we visited the casa materna which is a home in the city for mothers from rural areas to come get medical attention, care, and education as they await their births.  It was wonderful to be able to meet some of the women and to hear about their   families and various experiences.  Hearing from the 15 year old mothers was the most moving because many of the students were able to think about their own goals of education and careers while these young mothers were so focused on having their children, and maybe, school would come later.  After another lovely treck in to the mountains, we were greeted with a warm welcome from Vicente Padilla (not the famous baseball player), but a famous Nicaraguan revolutionary, and his family, who told us their stories of struggle and hope throughout their lives.  Here, we had a living visual example, of strength and struggle, and of how people stay true to their beliefs and values even when there are significant barriers put in their way.
As we leave Matagalpa, it is not just with our woven crafts and organic coffee, it is with a better understanding of what life is and was like for the people of Nicaragua.  I for one, leave continuing to challenge my own ability to stand up in the face of adversity and hoping to continue to share all the stories I have learned with my family, friends, students, and anyone who will listen!

-Sasha

A Day with the Kids- Day 3

When I first got to Los Quinchos I was introduced to the farm they had and out of no where, one of the boys came and took me and my friend to show us the bracelets he made. As we made it back to meet our group, we got a tour of La Finca (farm). They had cows, chickens, pigs, rabbits, sheep & goats. We stood around looking at the animals and taking pictures with the children. It was very surprising that the boys were excited to take pictures with us. It wasnt long until the boys took us around to show the rest of their home. On the tour we passed by a swimming pool & the boys started to shows us tricks they learned.It was very touching to see them  playing around and enjoying each other´s company as well as ours, instead of fighting with each other. After seeing them play in the pool, we had a challenging soccer game featuring StreetSquash vs. Los Quinchos. They gave us a good game, and they won. The boys had a greater impact on me more than the girls home because I got to know the boys much better than the girls. When everyone was hanging out just talking and attempting to understand what the boys were saying in  spanish, some type of ant stung me and one of the little boys thought it was his fault so he started crying. I felt so bad I was trying to take the pain and hurry through the process of cleaning it up so I  could go talk to him, to tell him it was ok and that it was not his fault. Then I gave him  a hug because he thought he was going to get in trouble. Over all I enjoyed meeting new people, understanding their way of living Imageand learning new spanish phrases.

-Tishina Bowden

 

 

StreetSquashers Learn Nicaraguan History

Today has been our first real day here in Nicaragua.  We learned both about the past and the present of this country.  Nicaragua is a country of rich resources, and even richer when it comes to war.  This country has seen almost a century of war, decades of inhumane dictators, and its fair share of heros devoting their lives for the peace of the people.  The United States were the ones manipulating the country to go to war with itself over and over, yet we are greeted by everyone here with smiles and nothing but kindness.  The Nicaraguans hate the United States´s government, but not its citizens.  It is funny that the United States is a more advanced country, but we accuse every muslim to be a terrorist because a group of radicals decided to kill thousands of people when the United States government were responsible for millions of deaths here yet we are welcomed in the warmest of ways. I´m still processing all of the information but it is interesting to learn the way governments and countries interact. This is teaching me to love my country enough to want it to do the right thing.

——-Shaheem Perry

 

Day two in Nicaragua

Today was really inspiring,  I have learned a lot about the history of Nicaragua. We learned that the USA was giving money to the dictator to support the war knowing that plenty of people were dying. It took only one man to stand up and create his own little group called the little crazy army. It was called the little crazy group because when he started the group it was only thirty of them, and after a while people started joining them. Why was it that he was the only one that decided that it was enought? I think that it was that rthe other people were scared of dying or losing everything by going aginst the dictator. The culture and the history of Nicaragua is interesting. It was really not a culture shock for me because I grew up in country where some of the villages look like the city of Managua. 

…… Fatou Sangare

College Essays Are In!!! Now check out a sample…

As I sat in my seat listening to music, I could feel the rumble of the plane landing. I heard babies crying and people frantically speaking in a different language. Surrounded by clusters of people and air-borne for eight hours now, my apprehension was at its peak and I was ready to land. Stepping off the plane in Rome, I took a deep breath and realized that something was different about the air. It was a signal that welcomed me into this new world. As I walked, I noticed foreign signs, which were adjacent to the foreign foods, which were emitting foreign smells. Everything moved so quickly, with people using their hands while they talked and kisses being given from cheek to cheek; and to think I saw all this action just in the time spent walking through the airport lobby!

After our group arrived in the hotel and settled in, my squash coach took me to see something that would set the tone for my entire trip. As I made my way into the Sistine Chapel I didn’t know what to expect, I had no knowledge of its magnitude. But as I looked up at the chapel ceiling I did not feel like I had expected I would. Instead of feeling surprised or shocked at the artwork and architecture before me, I was taken to a place of comfort. I realized that although I was in such an unfamiliar place, finding something that I loved in this new place would not be as difficult as I had thought.

Even though I was in an environment I had never been around before, looking past those differences allowed me to relate Italy to something that I already knew and loved. Living in New York City, I was always in an environment in which beautiful skyscrapers lined the streets, and it was there that my interest in architecture was born. I felt that the type of architecture that existed in my city could never exist anywhere else, and it doesn’t. However, in Italy I discovered a new type of architecture that I came to love just as much. Walking through the ruins I saw more than just miles upon miles of old stones. I saw what could be considered a template for many cities of today, and I saw civilization in the form of art, unlike any other.

Ultimately, going to Italy was an eye opening experience for me because even though I had a wonderful time, the insight I gained was greater. I realized that art exists in many forms and in many places. This experience, in the long run, has fueled me to look for new things and seek the unknowns of culture outside of my own.

-Sion Sennon, ’12

Old Rivals Return for Alumni Cup

The Alumni Cup was a day that many alumni were looking forward to. There had been some trash talk over facebook about who would come out on top, and the day finally arrived for everyone to follow through on their boasting.

The event started at 3:30. Little by little, alumni started coming in to the building. Younger kids were wondering who all the tall, older people were. Intermittent cries of joy rang throughout the building as old friends reconnected after months or even years apart. Once the alumni settled down, they were scattered around the building to volunteer. Some were helping in college prep, others in academic studies, and of course some were on the squash courts.

Once they got on the courts, current students began to realize who they were. It helped that each alumna/alumnus had an Alumni Cup t-shirt on. Students sought out alumni and began asking questions like, “How old are you, how long have you been playing squash, when did you graduate from StreetSquash, what university are you going to or did you go to, what jobs do you have,” and the list went on and on.

Before the tournament started, I was helping downstairs with the sixth graders. As I was watching, I saw alumni helping out with squash. They were doing drills with students, running on court and playing points with them. The students were very excited because they wanted to see what skill level the alumni were and wanted to see if they had a chance of even beating them in squash. The way it was looking, it got very competitive between them. Over all it was very exciting seeing all of them here helping out.

At 6pm, the volunteering ended and the moment came for the alumni to gather and get to the business of playing squash. All of the alumni were happy to see each other. There were a lot of alumni I had never met, so I introduced myself to any of them I did not recognize. Moments before the tournament started, Brad, Director of Alumni Outreach, explained to us that it would be a round-robin tournament. Everyone had to play everyone else to five points. The four alumni who ended the round-robin feeder with the highest point total would play a seeded bracket to determine the overall winner.

Then it began! I started seeing alumni hop into courts, challenging one another. Some of the points were fast and some of them were long and grueling. All night I heard, “Hey, lets go. I want to play you,” or, “You go to my rival school; you’re definitely going to lose to me,” and also, “Take it easy playing with me; I haven’t played for a while.” I played with more recent alumni and a few I had not played with for almost eight years. Some of them were tough, but I did the best I could. There were a lot of fantastic players that I had the opportunity to play with. Most of the matches were exciting to watch; so many of them were very competitive and intense. You could feel the excitement in everyone.

As time flew by and many everyone got a lot of squash, all of the alumni were very fatigued. Not every one got the chance to play with each other because there were so many people. Another distraction prevented the round robin from being completed; there was food in the library.

Dinner provided another time for alumni who were not playing to catch up with those who had been occupied on court before. After everyone ate, we were too tired to play so there was no finals draw. Surprisingly, I was one of the top scorers. I was excited to play but not everyone was able to continue. So everyone started to get ready and go home.

This was my very first Alumni Cup and I had a great time. It was great seeing everyone, especially the first group of StreetSquash students. I cannot wait until the next time so many alumni get together to catch up. I am already starting to practice for next year’s Cup, so the rest of the alumni better watch out!

-Melvin Ventura