The South Surrey-White Rock Minor Softball Association kicked off its season with opening ceremonies Saturday, and among the highlights was the introduction of two visiting coaches.
As part of the Pearl of Africa program – in which Ugandan coaches and players develop with help from softball programs here – the South Surrey association welcomed Esther Nakabugo and Rosemary Jopaowitt into the fold.
The pair – both accomplished players and coaches in their native country – are seeking to develop youth players, and advance the sport, back in Uganda. They’ll spend four months on the Peninsula, learning from coaches here.
The Pearl of Africa series – which was created by Vancouver’s Ruth Hoffman in 2012 – began when a Langley Little League baseball team travelled to Uganda to play the team they should have faced at the 2011 Little League World Series. That year, the Ugandan team did not participate because they were not issued the necessary travel visas by the U.S. State Department.
After hearing that story, Hoffman spearheaded a campaign to raise money for the trip, and ever since, the campaign has continued to raise funds for a variety of softball/baseball related projects in Uganda.
Hoffman also attended Saturday’s opening, which was held at Sunnyside Park.