Haiti 2011

I had a transformative experience visiting Haiti a year after the devastating earthquake ravaged the island. After hosting the Haiti women’s national soccer team at Disney Sports through the massive efforts of the Heaberlin family, we formed a beautiful bond with these players over a week of competitive games, learning Haitian sayings, seeing the theme parks for the first time through their eyes and learning their hopes/dreams.

We made a promise to see each other again.

Thanks to Delta and our generous community, four of us packed 650 lbs of supplies (socks, toothbrushes, books, pencils, soaps, etc) to take with us on a mission trip to help in a small way.

We arrived to a small outside hangar and were greeted with the most amazing bouquet of flowers I have ever seen, along with the smiling faces of the most of the team. Local media was also present as we made our way to an undisclosed house that had been changed last minute due to security concerns. We ended up at a mansion and we’re whisked away to the top floor with 4 individual cots & the most amazing terrace to watch immaculate sunsets over a severely damaged country. We had armored guards with us everywhere, but nonetheless, we focused on the well being of the team members.

We also toured the outside of the governors former mansion that had literally looked like it had been sliced in half from the quake. The tent cities were as far as the eye could see and absolutely heartbreaking. Then we had the opportunity to walk inside some of the downtown ruins – up close it was a whole new appreciation of complete devastation in a community. The roads had gaping holes in them the size of soccer goals that you had to navigate. You could walk faster down the road than the cars trying to swerve this crazy maze.

The girls were over the top elated that we had kept our promise to visit and try to help them towards a better life. We all learned Haitian words to communicate and had fun laughing at each other over meals made especially for us. We had piles of clothes & essentials delivered to each girl individually and spent time with them 1-on-1 to fill out their resumes and learn their aspirations.

Goodbyes were extremely emotional but inevitable. Over the years I did keep in touch with a couple of the players, then just one and now I have lost track all together but I’m always hopeful that the girls are thriving and beating all the odds.

My parting thought…. every child deserves the chance to be whatever they desire & the opportunity to achieve their wildest dreams.

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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