19 July 2007

KENYA : NBA Aces Dribble Around On Charity Mission

Mercy Gakii And Tim Kamuzu Banda

Three United States NBA basketball stars ended their charity mission to the country's slums yesterday.

The three - Ron Artest, a forward for Sacramento Kings, Theo Curtis Ratliff, the excellent shot-blocker for Boston Celtics, Etan Thomas and Maurice Evans who turn out for the LA Lakers - have been in the country courtesy of a joint project between the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and Feed the Children programme - an international christian organisation that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to disadvantaged people around the world.

They were the face of a feeding programme hosted locally by the Anglican Church of Kenya that has seen the organisation distribute 5,000 tonnes of rice to people in poor places around the country.

"To see what I have seen here is amazing. You see, poverty cannot be measured. Am glad to have come and been part of this," a humbled Evans said.

The three toured and assisted in feeding people in the Kibera and Mathare slums. They also visited and worked with the children at Kawangware's Ray of Hope Clinic.

"It has been a humbling experience and one that I will go back and share with the people back home and see what else we can do," explained Artest.

Asked whether they would consider coming to Kenya to help train or carry out a basketball clinic in the country, the three basketballers unanimously agreed that they would be more than willing if that was organised.

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