So when Betsy’s father, Lyle, was coming to visit her in late July, they had an idea. Lyle wanted to bring gifts for the students, and what would they enjoy more than Thunder gear? Through word-of-mouth and Facebook, Lyle, an executive assistant at Bailey Oil in OKC, gathered donations at his work. In all, he packed more than 60 Thunder shirts, to go along with banners, an official team basketball and other memorabilia.
So it came as no surprise to Betsy Dewey, a Peace Corps volunteer from Oklahoma City, that the Rwandan natives had never heard of her home state. “New York or California?” they’d ask back in January, her first month in the village, when she introduced herself as an American. “Oklahoma,” she’d reply. “It’s in the center of the country, but it’s not famous. Don’t worry.” There was no expectation that they’d know. So there was no reason for her to believe Luke, one of her oldest students, when he proclaimed: “Oh yeah, I know Oklahoma.” “No you don’t, Luke,” she laughed. “Yeah, I do,” he replied. “They have the Thunder. Do you know Russell Westbrook?”