BENEDICT NTEZA'S STORY
Like millions of other people around the world, Benedict Nteza has a passion for tennis. However, unlike most tennis players Ben has to face daily challenges in order to play the game he loves. Without access to proper tennis equipment it was nearly impossible for Ben and the other children of the Kihamba Village to play tennis. Now, with the help of Second Serve, Ben is able to bring joy to the children of his village in the form of tennis.
Ben is a 16 year old boy who lives in the Kihamba Village in Kyegegwa, a rural area in western Uganda. In his village, Benedict is known as “Uncle Tennis”, because he teaches all of the other children how to play tennis. Along with coaching the other children how to play tennis, Ben also has many other responsibilities. On a typical day, Ben wakes up at 3 a.m. to do his schoolwork. After school, Ben does work around his home and in his garden. By 8:15 a.m., Benedict is finished with all of his work for the day, so he gets something to eat. Once this is all complete, Ben goes to coach the other kids at 10 or 11 a.m. Everyday Ben teaches the kids something different. Recently, Ben has been teaching the kids how to perfect their serves.
Second Serve has donated rackets, bags, clothes, strings, water bottles, shoes, and more to children of the Kihamba Village. However, even with help from Second Serve, Ben and the other kids still don’t have access to many things they need. In the Kihamba Village there are no real tennis courts, so Ben sets up a makeshift tennis court for the kids to play on and a back board for them to practice their strokes on. The kids still lack other equipment such as balls for the younger kids, a tennis stringer, and rackets. “l enjoy myself when l play tennis, and [I] would like others to have that joy too,” Benedict said. “It is unfortunate that courts and tennis tools are so scarce in Uganda. Being a social and motivation[al] sport, it could be better [for] people to know the basics of it.”
Not only is Ben helping his own village, he is also working to spread tennis to his neighboring villages. Currently, Benedict is working diligently to create a small tennis court for the kids in the Kyaka II Refugee Camp. Ben also hopes to work with scouts and girl guides from other neighboring settlement camps. In these camps there are refugees from Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many of them are interested in learning tennis. With further donations and assistance from Second Serve, Ben is optimistic that he can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the underprivileged children in Uganda.
By Morgan Shaffer