Thursday, August 14, 2014

Last days at the lake

One last blog post for 2014! We spent our last two and half days at the Lake Attitlan in the town of Panajachel. We like to end our trip here because it gives the students (and more to the point the adults) a chance to unwind and especially to buy some gifts for those at home.

This year we were able to schedule a game in the lakeside town of San Pedro so on Sunday morning we all took a 45-minute boat ride across the lake for the game. It's not a bad way to get to a game! :) The gym in San Pedro is probably one of the nicest that we have played in in Guatemala. The Young Guns had a great game, but it was really the Old Heads (with a big assist from a lot of the Young Guns) who had the best game. We like to call this the Jamal Coates, Keepin' it 100 Memorial Game. Stats below at the end of the blog.

After the game, we all boarded the boat and headed to Santiago de Attitlan where the Hoops students were able to do some shopping and visit the historic church at the center of town. We then took the boat back to Pana for a bit of down time before we all met up to celebrate Carlos' birthday! According to our waiter at the Sunset Cafe, it is a tradition to crack an egg on the head of the birthday celebrant and then put flour on it. I'm not sure where this is a tradition except for maybe in the mind of the waiter, but Carlos took it all in stride.

On Monday, which was our last full day in Guatemala the students spent their time trading clothes and lord only knows what for trinkets. We also got together for our last group meal. Everyone seemed super excited to get home, but also sad to be leaving Guatemala.

On Tuesday morning it was an early morning (like 1 a.m. early morning) bus ride to the capitol and the airport and then the flight home. With only a minor delay in Houston due to crazy weather in D.C. we were home and reunited with our families (or dogs) in time for the evening news.

It was a great trip and we are already looking forward to next year.

Young Guns vs. San Pedro
Daniel 2P/2R/2A
Sanu 15P/5R/4A
Demani 9P/1R/1A
Carlton 2P/2R/2A
Alec 2P/7R/3A
Carlos 17P/4R
Ronnie 4P/7R/1A
Manny 6P/5R/1A
Miguel 2P/2R/1A
Nigel 10P/2R

Old Heads vs. San Pedro
Bryan 17P/5R/7A
Diggs 18P/2A
Alex 17P/10R/8A
Malik 25P/17R/1A
Carlos 5P/1R
Demani 10P/4R/5A
Daniel 8P/1R/1A

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Everybody eats...the food version

One of the great experiences about visiting a foreign country is being to taste all the new and different foods available.While the traditional food in Guatemala may not have the flair or panache of say the food in Spain or Mexico, it is still wonderful, hearty fair.

Demani and Manny dig into some of Dona Thelma's wonderful tortillas.
 Getting the students to eat with their host families and try new things while we are traveling about is often one of the most difficult tasks on the trip, but this year's group was pretty good about eating with their families and trying new things.

What better to eat at the beach than a fish, head and all?
 Because taking photos of food is what all the cool kids seem to be doing these days, Hoops Sagrado thought we'd provide you with a blog post of some of the things we've eaten along the way. This is just a snapshot (pun fully intended) of many of the wonderful meals and treats we've had in the last three weeks. 

Chicharonn and carnitas in a banana leaf? Yes please! Sorry Breezy!

The power sometimes goes out in Xela so you have to learn to cook by candlelight and headlamp.

People think I'm joking when I say the best Italian restaurant in the world is in Xela. But one look at this happy face should convince you that I am not lying.

Baking cookies is always an adventure (high altitude, questionable stoves, no cookie sheets, etc.). They aren't quite like the ones I make at home, but the kids seem to like them so that's all that matters.

For many years and special occasions, Hoops Sagrado ate at a restaurant owned by our good friend Don Otto. We were sad to learn of his passing when we returned to Xela so we made a Don Otto platter in his honor.

The Guatemalans love their bread and they make some of the best stuff around. Everyone quickly learns about Xelapan and it's gluteny goodness. This is a loaf of bread in the shape of an alligator.

While the kids have all been great about eating, they are all talking about going to Chipotle as soon as they get home. Sorry, but in my opinion, Chipotle ain't got nothing on a homemade tortilla, black beans, quac, salsa and queso fresco.
And finally, I give you Sebastian who has embraced his Guatemala side while staying true to his love for pasta. Who says you can't put your spaghetti on your tortilla?! I wasn't going to stop him.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hoops Sagrado 2104 Kids' Tournament

We'll let most of the photos speak for themselves, but it was another super successful tournament this year. Even though there was some disappointment, everyone had a great time and the children in the tournament really liked their gifts, so thank you so much to all of our generous donors.

In the end though, there were winners and losers. On the boys' side, Chirijiquiac defeated Chuisuic 9 to 1 for third place and Pachaj defeated Xejuyup 5 to 0 to win the championship.

The Xejuyup Boys, coached by Carlton, Daniel, Carlos and Bryan vs. the Pachaj boys coached by Malik and Sanu for the championship game.
 On the girls' side Chuisuic defeated Xejuyup 6 to 1 for third place and the Red Devil's of Chirijiquiac were taken down by Pachaj 8 to 2.

The Chirijuquiac girls coached by Diggs and Max (along with Jionni, Demani and Ronny) vs. the Pachaj girls coached by Josh Phelps, Johanna and Miguel along with Sanu and an assist from Malik.
 After the game, each Guatemalan student received a brand-new high-quality basketball, a Hoops Sagrado t-shirt and a bag full of school supplies, again thanks to our super generous friends, family and even a few random strangers.

The Hoops students were each given gifts as well as thank yous from the schools they have worked
with for the past few weeks. 

There were definitely some tears and sadness as the children began leaving the basketball court for home, but the sadness was buoyed by so many of
our students promising their young charges that they would be back next year.

Third Place Girls Game pitted team Xejuyup with Carlos, Daniel, Carlton and Bryan coaching against Chuisuic with Alex and Alec at the helm.

The third place boys game was Chuisuic with Ronnie and Nigel (and an assist from Alex) at the helm vs. Chirijiquiac with Ronny, Demani and Johanna taking charge with back-up from Diggs and Stratton.

Bryan coaching up the Xejuyup boys.

Team Xejuyup wishes Samuel and Nafisa a very feliz boda!

Demani is looking forward to rocking this shirt at Haynes.
Nigel, Ronnie, Alec and Alec give the Chuisuic boys a pep talk.

Move over Justin Beiber

After our games on Sunday in San Felipe, our good friend Paty who runs the basketball program there invited us to come to her school (where she is the sports director) and have a fun Tuesday morning playing basketball.

Needless to say it was not that difficult to talk the Hoops students into missing a day of classes to play basketball.

The San Felipe team was no match for the Hoops Sagrado Young Guns so Diggs and Malik did the right thing and agreed to play for San Felipe. At half time, a group of teachers joined the San Felipe
At least his shirt was on in this picture.
team and even though the officiating was horrible, the Hoops Sagrado Young Guns won by two.

The real fun though was after the game was over. Dozens of San Felipe students flooded the court and wanted their photos taken with all the players and their autographs as well.

Johanna leaves her mark.
Seriously, Justin Beiber, One Direction and whatever popular boy bands are out there ain't got nothin' on the Hoops Sagrado folks. Even the Old Heads and Stat Girl got in on the action.

All of the students were wildly popular, but I have to say that the reason there isn't a good photo of Max during this fracas is because Stat Girl couldn't get close enough to him to take a photo.
No really, Max was the bomb!

Bryan lives in fear of Sebas at 15!
Also, Sebastian was ridiculously popular. It may have been a bit overwhelming for a nine-year-old, but he took it in stride.

Jionni is so bad she signs with one hand and drinks a Coke with another.
 On a more serious note, Hoops Sagrado has made a tradition of giving away our scoreboard each year. Last time we were here it was to our good friends in San Cris and this time to our dear friend Paty who has always welcomed us with open arms.

Gracias Paty for your friendship!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Weekend game report

In addition to doing cool things like visiting Takalik Abaj and Champerico, we also played some basketball this weekend!

 On Saturday we played against the sub-21 and adult teams from the of Retalhuleu (Reu). For those of you familiar with our trips, this is the green gym where someone on a previous trip may or may have had a situation with a bathroom door.

First up were the Young Guns and it was pretty clear that even in such a short time that the students had forgotten what the heat and humidity of D.C. are like because everyone was pretty gassed. That being said, the Young Guns played pretty well but still not quite well enough to defeat the heat-tested team from Reu. Stat girl is convinced that when all these guys come back next year :) they will be unstoppable!

Young Guns 48 vs. Reu 56
Sanu: 13P/5R/1A
Alec: 2P/5R/2A
Carlos: 2P/1R
Ronnie: 1R
Miguel: 1R
Demani: 7P/3R/3A
Nigel: 3P
Carlton: 4P/2R
Daniel: 13P/7R/2A
Malik: 4P/7R

Group photo with all four teams in Reu.
The Old Heads were up  next and once again during this game is when some of the creative score keeping came into play. When Stat Girl isn't running the clock/scoreboard as well, she always makes sure to keep the overall score and not just stats too because even if we lose based on what's on the scoreboard, it's nice to know that we actually won (which has happened...several times).

Even with the creative scoring, the Old Heads were able to pull out a two-point win. And this is also when we said good-bye to our friends Jim and Josh who had to return to the States for that pesky thing known as work.

Old Heads 56 vs. Reu 54
Bryan 5P/3R/2A
Josh 8P/15R/2A
Diggs 12P/4R/2A
Malik 11P/9R
Alex 8P/5R
Sanu 11P/1R/1A
Daniel 1P/1R/1A

Sunday it was off to San Felipe!
On Sunday it was off to San Felipe for a game with our old and dear friend Paty and her teams. It was also a chance for some of us to at long last, get some chicharron and carnitas, but we'll talk about that a bit later.

Once we got the gym set-up, yes, sometimes we have to help clean up and/or organize the court before our games start, the Young Guns took to the court. While they were down by more than 20 points at one time (I blame the late arrival home on Saturday and the early start time on Sunday) they rallied and came back to take the lead for a brief period of time, but they ultimately lost by three.

Although they've lost several games, I think this one may have been the hardest since they did rally so hard. Still, Stat Girl will give them credit, after some initial moping, which is to be expected, they returned to their jovial selves pretty quickly.

Young Guns 50 vs. San Felipe 53
Demani 6P/3R/2A
Daniel 19P/6R/3A
Alec 5P/14R/1A
Carlos 8P/1R
Manny 2R
Ronnie 4R/1A
Nigel 3P/5R/2A
Miguel 2P
Carlton 2P/2R/2A
Malik 6P/5R

Johanna and our good friend Paty who runs the basketball program in San Felipe.
Because there were some issues with scheduling the Old Heads game our friend Hans who plays for Xela and San Cris joined the San Felipe team. Combio Man, as we've long called him because he plays for so many different teams, lived up to his nickname. While Stat Girl kept score and of course stats, this game was more like a Sunday morning pick-up game than an actual game. The Old Heads went up by quite a lot early on and ultimately won by 10.

Old Heads 54 vs. San Felilpe 44
Bryan 7P/12R/2A
Diggs 10P/5R/1A
Malik 10P/12R/1A
Alex 5P/10R/1A
Jeff 3P/1R/1A
Sanu 16P/9R/2A
Daniel 3P/2R
Hans 4P/10R

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A day at the beach

On Sunday we headed back to the coast, only this time we literally went to the coast! Following a stop in San Felipe for some basketball (of course!) we got back on the bus and headed due west to the Pacific coast of Guatemala and a beach town called Champerico.

The Charles brothers and Max prepare for impact.

This is one of the more fun excursions on the trip because we essentially take over a restaurant that is located on the beach and spend the afternoon eating seafood, playing in the ocean and this year, horseback riding (for some of us anyway).

Things were a bit different this year at the beach though. For those of you familiar with our annual pilgrimage, you'll notice from the top photo that the restaurant seems like it's really far away from the actual ocean and that's because, well it is. Due to storms during previous years and to a new port being built north of Champerico, the water and tides have really changed. 
Still, despite the changes, everyone seemed to have a great time as the pictures on today's blog post show.

A bit of home!

Just like at Thanksgiving there was the adult's table...
And the kid's table.

Nigel rides a horse!
Alec and Malik are ready to round 'em up!

Johanna's firs time on a horse.

Miguel looking like he lives at the beach!