Blog Post - HI Trip Day 1 by Rich Harrison, 01/15/17

Rich Harrison - Jan 15th, 2017

Airport experiences often provide for some of my most favorite memories.  The hustle and bustle of so many different people coming and going to so many different places.  It always amazes me that no one ever really runs into each other.

This idea took on a whole new level at the Port-au-Prince International Airport.  As if our 8 person group carting 15-50lbs bags of brand new Adidas Football for Hope gear through customs was challenging enough (another story), it’s what was waiting for us beyond that was beautifully synchronized chaos.

It’s incredible that anyone can pass through the disordered parking lot, but somehow everyone manages to…. over time.  This is when the real adventure begins.  Driving to Nicole's Place, our guest house, was so damn exciting.  See, there are no traffic signals or stop signs in this city. But again, somehow no one ever really runs into each other.  Speeding down narrow pot hole riddled streets with kids running aside knocking on our windows through busy uncontrolled intersections, missing motorcycles on the right, then the left and somehow not one every runs into each.

 

Tim Reppe - January 15th, 2017

I'm hoping to make an impact on this trip but not quite sure how yet.  I've seen pictures & read news about devastation, disease, and poverty on a massive scale.  I could get a sense of it on the ride from the airport to Nicole's place seeing infrastructure mostly in a state of disrepair.  I see people who are in need (but don't want to rush to judge on their condition).

There is a lot to be done in this country.   And I am just one person.  Can I really make an immediate impact and one that will last?  Just read that Sean Penn's Haiti Rising organization raised $37M in aid.  At the same time, we're discouraged from handing out individual money and gifts.  Then what is the purpose of me coming?
I believe I can make an impact with the power of human contact.  Spending time with kids has the ability to touch his or her life in a way that money cannot.  With soccer as the medium, I can be a role model for the children in attitude, discipline & teamwork.  This can be with hundreds of kids or just one.  I believe that making an impact with just one child can have a multiplying effect after you've gone as he or she continues to pay it forward.
The first day of volunteering has yet to begin & there are many unknowns.  But I'm anxious to get started.