PPI-SA was thrilled to receive a special visit last week from the Zients family of Washington, D.C. Jeff, the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, his wife Mary, a native of Johannesburg, and their three sons- Matt, 15, Josh, 12, and Jonny, 10- flew into Durban on Monday, August 6th and spent two days with PPI-SA staff and participants.
First, the Zients visited the PPI-SA office and shared a delicious feast from Nando’s with the office staff before heading out to Molweni for a coaching clinic. Though the day was unusually cold, windy, and a bit wet, Molweni coaches and players braved the elements to put on a wonderful demonstration of what we do at PPI-SA. Matt, Josh, and Jonny also participated in the clinic as their parents chatted with PPI-SA staff and snapped photos of their boys playing alongside the kids from Molweni. The clinic culminated in a scrimmage where Josh, Jonny, and the St. Leo’s Primary School team took on older brother Matt and the Sizimisele Primary School. After the scrimmage, the Zients boys raved about the experience. St. Leo’s players worked feverishly to convince Josh to transfer to their school and play for their team permanently. As final goodbyes were said, the rain started pouring down, having held off just long enough to allow PPI another opportunity to bridge divides and foster extraordinary experiences for its participants and visitors.
That evening, the PPI-SA office staff reconvened with the Zients for a wonderful dinner, highlighted by PPI-SA veteran Ryan Douwie, who miserably failed to live up to the hype he had created about how much curry he could eat at the buffet. After another meal the following morning with PPI-SA board members, the Zients returned to the office for one final goodbye before heading off to the airport.
All of us at PPI-SA would like to thank the Zients for their visit and their generous donation to our program. Their son Josh will also be raising money for PPI at his upcoming bar mitzvah. We wish Josh and the rest of the Zients the best of luck in all of their future endeavors, and would like to extend a special thanks to the coaches and players in Molweni who braved less than ideal conditions to make their short stay memorable.