by Ian Frank
With my first full day in Haiti about to begin, I did not have a single clue what I would encounter. Starting with the beginning of the day with a breakfast of powdered milk and cereal, and varying degrees of coffee quality, I knew today would be a good one. For one, I was excited to play with the school children. I have always been pretty good around kids, now it was time to put actions behind my words. Little did I know how the love of the children, love of futbol, and the Haitian climate would affect me.
After a relatively cool morning chore of coating a ship tanker with rust resistant paint, it was time for the highlight of my day, recess. The Haitian school on our compound has recess at ten o’ clock. Tim and I were especially stoked for the chance to get to interact with the young boys and girls. As I walked over to the playground, four little boys came running up to Tim and I, mimicking the actions of the other adults around us, we gave them piggy rides. This relatively small action had an interesting effect on me.
The only form of communication I had with the children was, "what is your name?" beyond that, I had not a clue what they were asking me or saying about me. This lack of verbal communication enhanced the need for physical communication. After learning my name, the kids just wanted to hold my hand, get a piggy ride, or just look and smile at you. I loved it. Even though we spoke a completely different language, I felt a deep bond to these kids. They do not care who you are, what you have done, or anything, just as long as you give them your time and attention.
Once Tim and I were acquainted and accepted into the throngs of children, we decided that a futbol game was in order. During the next hour, I learned three things: 1. I am not as good at soccer as I thought, 2. I most defiantly do not know Créole, nor can I remotely follow what is being conversed, and 3. the sun and heat are a lot more intense in this little nation. Thanks to my Créole, I eventually ended up as goalie on my team… poor choice. Since I am tall, I must be a phenomenal goalie (or so they probably reasoned). Yes, I am tall, and yes, I have long arms and legs, but when it comes to putting everything together to stop a speeding ball, I fall horrendously short. Even though I cost my team eight points total, the kids that hung out by the goal posts were quite entertained by my (lack of) skill as team goalie.
After about an hour of running and kicking and pushing my way around the soccer field, I could finally appreciate the intense heat and punishing sun. I cannot remember the last time I felt that hot. As my body became weaker, and my mind to slip, I realized that I have not had any fluids for the whole game. Once retiring, and about fiftyish ounces of water and lunch coursing through my veins, I started to feel normal. This heat is intense. For me at least, it is bearable to do chores and walk around campus, but playing soccer with energized school students is a whole different ball game (pun intended).
My first full day on campus with Nehemiah Visions has me even more stoked for the days to come. The children and the heat alone make this a place to remember. This is a place I will sorely miss. You can feel the need and the love everywhere. Although skeptical and nervous at first, I know I am here for a reason; there is no doubt in my mind about that. I am certain that the next day’s God will expose me to even more adventures and a chance to grow closer to Him.
Here is a look at the Dots in Blue Water Team from Berne, Indiana