Monday, March 19, 2012
Thanks to All Those Who Contributed to Zimbabwe Squash
It was quite an undertaking that began last November to collect any and all squash equipment to donate to most worthy squash cause, The Zimbabwe Squash Academy, an organization in Zimbabwe, Africa which brings squash to orphaned children. These children as hard as life is have found some great consolation and purpose through squash. While I might play squash or go on the court to forget a bad day at the office, these kids go on court in spite of a really tough life. I hold the founder and director, Mashumba Mukumba of this program in the highest esteem, especially as I became friends with him over the past months. He has the patience of a saint, while not only running the academy but fundraising, and going through the immensely painful process to get the goods out of customs. What I thought would be a most simple process of collecting equipment and shipping it overseas turned into something else. I had to really scramble to pack and unpack the goods, since shipping to Africa requires a certain sized package, regulation, otherwise the cost is through the roof, and we are talking about thousands of dollars. But we managed and when after weeks of negotiating with Zimbabwe customs officials who were convinced the goods were part of an effort to import equipment for resale, Mr. Makumbha finally acquired the goods. The picture of the children in the academy with the equipment is worth all the problems we faced. I want to thank SquashGear.com (Ben Beilin is the best and so is his squash site) for his very genrous contributions, and the following LA Fitness, Lake Success, NY squash community: Margaret Higgins, Jay Arkin, Kyle Jens, Selena Mahoney, Dr. Ashok Kukadia, and Haadi Ahmat. We have already started collecting much needed additional equipment as one of our squash junior's is planning a trip to the Squash Academy for a summer internship and will be our carrier of donated goods. Any unused, new, or old equipment please donate it to the Academy through squashdashersbashers. It is only with additional equipment that they can make sure every squasher has the equipment to learn and develop their squash game.