We - our small committee of 3 - who are working on getting the Peace Basketball League running have been busy. We plan to have six week periods each quarter for the guys to play and get their teams playing as teams. We had projected having 70 guys playing. Forty-three showed up and we're finding that to be about all we can handle right now.We've had two Saturdays prior to Mardi Gras time and we have games scheduled for the next four Saturdays. We are getting a few more volunteers lined up which helps. We have two wonderful professionals who are helping us with the educational piece of the plan. One will work with the guys on conflict resolution (a big topic for some of these guys) and another who will work with them on a project he calls "Addicted to the Lifestyle" in which he works to get them aware of how dangerous that is. Hopefully these men will have a bit on influence on some of these guys, many of whom were just picked up off the street. The men who are volunteerings as coaches and referees, etc., are wonderful people. They are very committed to helping these younger men. I am very impressed with them. They all have full-time jobs but they are willing to take most of each Saturday for this project. We pray in and pray out and Dr. Alcazar from Loyola has taught them a peace prayer that is done with hand motions. I have heard some of the guys say they really like that - more touched than by our words! It has been overheard by some of the volunteers that some of these guys have never prayed. So we already see the Spirit at work in them.
The big news of the past couple of weeks was Mardi Gras. It is quite the experience!!! I think I went to about 15 parades - sometimes four or five in one day. That was last weekend - both Saturday and Sunday. I stood for most of the time although we had chairs. The Krewes through various articles from the floats and those lining the street are yelling and grabbing things - many times beads but all kinds of other things are thrown - purses, women's shoes, toilet paper and plungers and toilet brushes. Many of the big Krewes have signature throws. Many just throw the beads. Our dining room table was covered with the beads and other things. We give some of them to an agency which sorts through them and sells back what can be sold. Others we keep to give to the young folks who come to volunteer and stay here. It's amazing how much of that stuff is thrown. But it is really like one big block party and it is fun. I have been worn out by all the revelry - slept most of Monday!