Winthrop Haiti diary: Shared passion brings out smiles

Special to the HeraldAugust 10, 2013 

I woke up Friday morning in Haiti to a view outside my hotel room that was breathtakingly beautiful. The mountainous view with the ocean below was something I was not expecting to see, but greatly appreciated.

After a great tasting breakfast, we headed off to the basketball arena to conduct our first clinic.

When we arrived at the “arena”, we found that the basketball court was actually located outdoors, but is sheltered from the sun. The indoor air conditioned gym that we take for granted would be a great luxury to the people here in Haiti. There were no fans to help cool us, but only open doors that would occasionally grant a cool breeze.

As the children started to trickle in for the clinic, we could see the excitement on their faces. That joy and sparkle on their faces and in their eyes made me eager and excited to interact them.

It was so much fun teaching the kids and sharing with them what I know about the game that I love. The children were so receptive to everything that we showed them. The absorbed every bit of information. It was the little things, like seeing the happiness on their faces when they did a drill correctly, that made teaching them so rewarding.

Although there was a language barrier, the experience proved that basketball is universal. To see little boys wearing Lebron James and Dwayne Wade jerseys shows the impact that the United States, much less basketball, has on the children of Haiti. I could see myself in the way the girls played by not being intimidated and holding their own among the many boys that were there.

To see children from another country that share the same passion for the game that I do was more pleasing to me than anything else. I've realized that these children cherish the moments and attention we show them more than any material thing we could give them.

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.

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