Cyprus Plays On!

PeacePlayers participants and families unite together for a barbecue a nice distraction away from the current Economic Woes that have hit the country

PeacePlayers participants and families unite together for a barbecue a nice distraction away from the current Economic Woes that have hit the country

This week, International Fellow Ashley Johnson provides an update on the financial situation in Cyprus and how PPI – Cyprus is playing on 

A creative new way to practice their crossovers with holla-hoops

A creative new way to practice their crossovers with holla-hoops

The story of Cyprus’ financial collapse seems to be headlining the news across the world over the last two weeks.  I have had friends from as far away as Afghanistan and Africa email me to ask my perspective from the ground in Cyprus.  One cannot seem to escape the constant newsfeed and information flow.  Every single individual in Cyprus’ life has been forever imprinted with the events of the past two weeks.  As I write this blog entry the banks re-open their doors, today is Thursday March 26th and the banks have been officially closed since Friday March 15th.  This past Monday night, the 25th of March, on the eve of the EU and IMF enforced deadline, Cyprus came to an agreement with the EU and IMF on a 10 billion euro bailout deal.  However, in order to qualify for the deal Cyprus will have to raise 5.8 billion euros.  Significant capital control measures have been established placing strict restrictions on the outflow of cash.

While Cyprus as a whole remains engulfed in the banking reform, PeacePlayers-Cyprus plays on.  We knew Saturday morning March 16th would be a unique day in the history of PPI-CY, we didn’t realize it would also be a unique day in the history of the country. The same morning that it was announced that President Anastasiades had signed the original bailout plan (to be rejected days later on March 18th), PPI-CY hosted its first ever “twinning” combined with a parent’s barbecue.   Nearly 90 participants and families from both sides attended.

Gorkem steals the show during the picnic with a rendition of Gangem style on the picnic tables

Gorkem steals the show during the picnic with a rendition of Gangem style on the picnic tables

The gravity of the new announcement had not yet hit the public and the mood was quite jovial.  The participants, who are all members of our Leadership Development Program, greeted their friends from the other community and parents cheered from the sides as the kids played with one another on mixed teams.  Following the games, The United Nations Civil Affairs team announced that the troops stationed in Cyprus had raised funds to purchase new basketballs for our program.   Afterwards the participants and their families joined the PeacePlayers’ coaches, staff and board members for a large family style potluck and barbecue.  The event was a huge success and was a great step forward for PPI-CY as we seek to increase the parental engagement and support of our program.  With the fantastic turnout and excitement of the PeacePlayers’ “twinning” and barbecue we know at least one event that took place on this day will be forever embedded in a positive light in peoples’ minds.

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