Winthrop basketball players in Haiti: Day 1 an eye opener

Special to the HeraldAugust 9, 2013 

Taylor Calvert of the Winthrop women's basketball team. Just one day of seeing what Haiti is like has left a lasting impression, she said.

Day one in Haiti has come to an end. The travel day was long and pretty exhausting, but I am positive it will all be worth it.

Today was a huge eye opener.

Pictures just don't do the living conditions of these people justice. When we first arrived in Haiti, cultural differences between our two countries were already very noticeable.

The airport was hot and had little to no A/C blowing. It was also very crowded. The drive from airport to our hotel allowed us to get a very real idea of how the majority of Haitian people live. The streets are crowded with people and trash. The only clean area I recall seeing was the area surrounding the President's Palace.

People lined the streets selling fruits, clothes, electronics (flashlights, batteries etc), or washing cars. Those were their jobs, their way of income, their way of survival. Jobs that we often do as fund raisers for our extracurricular activities or hobbies, was their way of providing for themselves and their families.

Before entering into the city, we drove through a “neighborhood” for lack of a better word. Most of the houses were one room shacks, placed very close to each other on a gravel lot.

There were hundreds of them in a span of only a couple of miles. They appeared to be made of some type of metal sheeting, cloth, and wood. I noticed many of the children and adults had no shoes. Some children didn't even have clothes.

Already, this trip has changed me. It has given me a new perspective on life.

I remember having a big argument with my sister about who deserved the bigger room in our house. Children here are living in a one room shack with their entire family. All of a sudden the argument with my sister was no longer a big deal and now seems rather selfish.

The pictures of these living conditions don't do it justice. My heart breaks for the Haitian people, especially the children. I couldn't imagine growing up in an environment like this.

I am very excited to see what else this trip has in store for me. I already feel like a better person and its only Day One. I hope that I have as big of an impact on someone's life as this experience is having on mine.

Six members of the Winthrop men's and women's basketball team are in Haiti serving a Fellowship of Christian Athletes mission trip that was planned by Dan Johnston, one of Winthrop's two FCA Campus Ministry Directors. Winthrop student-athletes are sharing their thoughts about the trip from Haiti. Calvert is a junior forward from Shertz, Texas

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