From Rwanda to Iowa with a Smile

From tennis camp in Rwanda to tennis star in Iowa. It's the remarkable story of Habibu.

 

 

HABIBU: "MY FULL NAME IS HABIENZA MOISE, BUT I GO BY HABIBU."

HABIBU HAS BEEN PAT OF THE VALLEY TENNIS TEAM ALL 4 YEARS.

HABIBU "I REALLY LOVE PLAYING TENNIS."

COX: "HES JUST A FUN KID. GOOD NATURED, ALWAYS LIKES TO HAVE FUN. HARD WORKER."

FOR THE 3RD TIME IN 4 YEARS HABIBU QUALIFIED FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT.

COX: "THATS AN AWESOME FEAT CONSIDERING EVERYTHING ELSE HE'S BEEN DOING."

AND CONSIDERING WHERE IT ALL STARTED.

HABIBU: "I'M FROM RWANDA, SMALL COUNTRY IN AFRICA."

JULIE: "HONEST, KIND, SO MUCH ENERGY."

JULIE GHRIST, FOUNDER OF ART OF CONSERVATION IN RWANDA WAS THE FIRST TO MEET HABIBU IN AFRICA AFTER STARTING A YOUTH SPORTS PROGRAM.

JULIE: " HABIBU WAS ONE OF THE KEY PLAYERS OF ALL THE COMMUNITY KIDS, HE WAS ALWAYS THERE."

WITH THE HELP OF JULIE AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY HABIBU CAME TO DES MOINES IN 2013 FOR TENNIS CAMP.

HABIBU: "I CAME TO GET BETTER AT MY TENNIS GAME."

BUT AFTER SUMMER CAMP, HABIBU WANTED TO STAY IN IOWA.

RAY: "EVERYDAY AFTER SCHOOL HABIBU WOULD RIDE HIS BIKE TO OUR HOUSE AFTER SCHOOL, HE WASNT IN SCHOOL.

SO THE BENNING FAMILY MADE A DECISION.

RAY: "ONE DAY CARRIE JUST DETERMINED, 'HABIBU YOU'RE GOING TO MOVE IN TO OUR HOUSE', THATS HOW IT HAPPENED."

JULIE: "ALL OF IT WAS REMARKABLE, HOW HE HAD ENOUGH COURAGE TO GET IN THERE, HARDLY SPOKE ANY ENGLISH."

THE PAST 4 YEARS HABIBU HAS BEEN PART OF THE BENNING FAMILY.

HABIBU: "I FEEL LIKE I'M BACK HOME. THEY'RE LIKE MY REAL PARENTS. THEY TREAT ME THE SAME AS THEIR KIDS."

JULIE "I'M COMPLETELY FILLED WITH JOY, HAPPINESS, MAKES ME WANT TO CRY."

RAY: "I REALLY KNEW HE WAS PART OF THE FAMILY WHEN HE AND MY YOUNGER DAUGHTER CHARLOTTE HAD A HUGE ARGUMENT OVER THE CHANNEL CHANGER AND WHO WAS GOING TO CONTROL THE CHANNEL CHANGER."

MOVING FROM RWANDA TO THE USA PRESENTS OBVIOUS CHALLENGES. LANGUAGE, WEATHER, EVEN SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AT SCHOOL. HABIBU'S PERSONALITY HELPED HIM FIT IN QUICKLY, BUT EXPLAINING THINGS TO HIS PARENTS HALFWAY ACROSS THE WORLD CAN BE A CHALLENGE.

HABIBU: "I TOLD THEM ABOUT HOMECOMING THEY SEE ONE OF MY PHOTOS FOR HOMECOMING CANDIDATE AND SEE ME SITTING IN THE BACK OF A CONVERTIBLE WITH A GIRL. MY PARENTS THINK I WAS GETTING MARRIED! THEY DIDNT UNDERSTAND."

JULIE: "HE BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE."

RAY: "HE BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS WITH HIS PERSONALITY AND SMILE

JOHN: "DOES HE EVER NOT SMILE?" Julie: "NO I THINK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ASSESSMENT, THAT'S HOW I GOT TO KNOW THIS DARLING KID."

AND WHILE TENNIS OPENED A DOOR TO THE U.S. HABIBU HAS BECOME AN EVEN BETTER ATHLETE IN CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK.

HABIBU: "MY PLANS ARE TO GO TO IOWA CENTRAL , SAD THINKING I DON'T KNOW IF I'LL PLAY TENNIS, BUT I'LL BE DOING CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK."

FROM RWANDA TO THE USA.

HABIBU: "I'M VERY THANKFUL."

JULIE: "IM AMAZED BY WHAT KIND OF PERSON HE IS."

RAY: "HE KNOWS HE'S A VERY LUCKY PERSON, I THINK HE WILL DO SOMETHING MAGNIFICENT TO PAYBACK WHAT HE'S BEEN GIVEN."

IT STARTS WITH A SMILE. JOHN SEARS CHANNEL 13 SPORTS.>

KEITH MURPHY:
"HABIBU GRADUATED LAST WEEKEND. HE'S ALREADY STARTED A FUNDRAISING EFFORT TO RAISE MONEY TO PURCHASE TENNIS BALLS FOR HIS TEAM BACK IN RWANDA. YOU'LL FIND THE FACEBOOK LINK BELOW."

https://www.facebook.com/ibirunga/