We are the ENC women's basketball team! Our seniors will be blogging everyday of our trip but i wanted to share a quick word on what it's like prepping for a trip like this!
As we all know, planning a trip can be extremely stressful. However, if you can effectively plan a trip for 20 people (17 players and 3 adults), without getting stressed, well, then i need to get some tips from you! Props to all coaches out there who plan these trips!
You soon realize, when wheels go up, you're doing it for the right reasons. We take a trip every year with our team. Destinations like LA, Brooklyn, and most recently, Miami, have all been fun! This year, it's Puerto Rico and this journey, three months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, it will hopefully be one of our biggest experiences in this program.
We spent the day traveling...wheels down, its night, the weather is amazing, we are greeted at the airport and taken to the hotel to check in. We cap the night off at Outback (it was the only thing close to us and open) and we are ready to take on tomorrow!
-Sacha Santimano - Head Coach
From The Players
Prior to our arrival in Puerto Rico, we didn't know what to expect after Hurricane Maria nearly blew away the entire island. We weren't fully aware of the aftermath. We only knew that we were going to help those affected by the storm, embrace a new culture, and enjoy the 80-degreeweather in December.
Our first journey in Puerto Rico started off with helping the Calvary Church of the Nazarene. As we traveled from our hotel to the church, the infrastructure of the surrounding buildings got worse as we got closer to our damaged destination. Our driver, Carlito, was showing and telling us about the destruction committed by Maria. We saw the walls of a gym ripped away and all that was left standing was a weak foundation and lop-sided basketball hoop. That sight really struck a chord with our team since we realized how fortunate we are to have a gym with four walls, six baskets, heat, and working electricity.
When we arrived at the church, other volunteers, known as Samaritan's Purse, put us to work. We unloaded a huge truck that included the following necessities: generators, tarps, air mattresses, bed sheets, and water filters. They told us that the generators were either for schools or people who needed one for medical assistance. The tarps were for the roofs that were blown off during the hurricane and not yet replaced. Air mattresses and bed sheets were for people who are still sleeping on soaking-wet mattresses.
We noticed many wonderful attributes of the people we worked along-side with throughout our busy day. They had the kindest souls, and they were so grateful to have us their help despite going through a major tragedy. Witnessing their kindness and gratefulness first hand made us realize how truly blessed we are.
We spent the rest of our day at the beach enjoying each other's company. Soaking in the warm ocean water and burying each other in the sand was a great way to end the day. Later that evening, we went to a Puerto Rican restaurant and enjoyed the local delicacies. We are so thankful for this opportunity to come to this beautiful country, play the sport we love, and help those in need. We are excited for what the rest of our trip has in store.