Our team of men woke up feeling the effects of a long day working the water truck. We knew we had a full day ahead of us though so we shook it off and loaded the tap tap for Cite-Soleil for our "play day". Play days are something a little newer to the teams, and something our men's team has never done. We loaded up a bin full of balls, bubbles, and other things and rolled into the city.
Stop 17 was on the docket, our first stop from the previous day. We grabbed the soccer balls, basketball, and football ready to take on the men of Cite-Soleil. Our team decided that it was time for us to engage the men of the city, a group that typically just leans up against the wall watching us with disdain. We were led down to the basketball hoop and played a game of 3-on-3 basketball, USA vs Haiti. Playing basketball in the blazing 95 degree heat (with insane humidity) was a crazy challenge. The men, women and children gathered rows deep to watch and cheer. It was exciting and so much fun. I loved seeing the excitement in the eyes of the guys on our team and the missionaries who joined us. This kind of interaction just doesn't happen down there. The men that played had a lot of fun and we formed some new bonds today.
After a solid 90-minutes of playing it was time to move on to a visit to Pappilon. After having some delicious food and smoothies in their cafe, we were ready for our tour. What an amazing place with an amazing story. An animated tour guide named Tricky led us through the the production site where we watched some extremely talented ladies work their craft. Beads. Clay pots. Jewelry. Textiles. Dolls. Everything crafted from materials sourced in Haiti. They provided free childcare for their employees, most of whom were the sole or main provider for their family. Inspiring. Following the tour, Tricky led us to the store where a few of us contributed by buying stuff for our families to help keep the ladies going!
It was a nice break from the reality that was our next stop, Mother Theresa's Home for Sick and Dying Children. The name alone leaves lets you know what kind of a visit this would be. We were allowed to head into both the infant and toddler rooms. It was a very challenging couple hours as we held young children who had a variety of sicknesses and were left there to be cared for by the amazing ladies that run that place. Personally my goal to was to see a smile on the face of every child I held. I didn't always succeed, but I know we brought a lot of joy and comfort to these kids. There are some faces that I will have seared in my brain from that stop. You don't get to learn much about the kids, but their name and age in most cases. One young girl that I walked up to looked no older than 18-24 months old (she was in the infant room) but she was four. Malnourished. Desperate. But in the right place. These ladies are amazing with the care they give to these kids day in and day out. I don't know how they do it!
The bus ride home was a little quieter than usual. The men, usually loud and boisterous, with the energy of the city were realizing the tough reality for so many here. Life is tough. Food and water aren't a given. Illnesses that basically don't exist in the US are still very much alive here. I'm glad I don't have to go back there, its an amazing place but it really tugs your heart.
I love that our nights end with an amazing dinner, games like mafia, and bags with the security team, it helps you to unwind from everything you see throughout the day. Tomorrow we head back into Cite-Soleil for another water truck day ... I hope our muscles are ready!
-Trevor and the 2nd Annual Men's Team