TREVOR BRUNE via Crowdrise
December 03, 2012
I am working with Patrice Millet, one of CNN Heroes of 2011 to raise enough money to build a turf field down in Port au Prince, Haiti. I have already raised and donated 300 pairs of shoes and soccer balls, as well as countless shirts, shinguards, and shorts. If i can get the $45,000 needed to install this field then it would be amazing. His organization has a field now that is mainly dirt and few areas of grass. The kids in his organization ages 11-16 play in 100 plus degree weather every day with humidity. At the end of each practice they are caked with dirt. With a turf field, they will be able to play on flat ground and not worry about dirt winds in their face or leaving the field covered in dirt.
Here is my experience:
The kids we visited have such different lives than myself, my family, and basically most of the world. These kids appear to drink rarely and mainly it is unhealthy water. They eat once or twice a week, sometimes saving up all their food for a large feast on Sunday. Thankfully, Patrice Millet-the CNN Hero I stayed with- gets donated food from Food for the Poor so that after every soccer practice (there are three groups that each train separately so they train twice a week), the kids get food bags full of food items such as Tomato Paste, Pasta, Chocolate Bars, Beans, Rice, Anchovies, Cookie/Crackers, and Jello, which can feed a family for the next two or so days. After getting their food bags, the kids and the coaches come together in a circle holding hands and pray for four or five minutes. Witnessing these kids at the end of practice highlighted to me how crucial and amazing this organization was for the kids. This program keeps these kids together as a group, hopefully prevents them from joining gangs and doing negative things in their community, and instead it displays good morals for the kids as well as providing a place to go to seek comfort and to have role models to speak to them.
The soccer field they play on currently is the worst soccer field, or any field of that matter that I have seen in my entire life. There are only a few tufts of grass throughout the dirt field. When the kids practice from 3 to 6 P.M. every day, the wind often picks up the dirt and blows in each person’s eyes as well as coating their entire bodies with a thick layer of dirt and grime. Each day the temperature reached 90+ degrees and often felt hotter as there was 70% humidity - so basically an oven over 100 degrees.
Patrice also regularly visits orphanages and other soccer programs run by his friends to supply them with the food and soccer equipment each kid desperately needs. The orphanage we saw looked pretty awful with unfinished bathrooms covered in cobwebs and rooms with no air circulation and with endless flies. The only kids that were at the orphanages at that time were babies because the rest of the children were at school. There were 20 or so babies in a room that had bunk beds without sheets or blankets on them. When the babies would fall asleep, flies would just sit on their bodies and zoom around their faces. There were only 4 women at the orphanage taking care of all these kids. The main woman in charge told us that she had 90 or so kids and that each week she would bring one or two more children back to the orphanage that she found alone in the streets. I don’t even know how they were able to fit 40 children into these rooms rather than 90.
Later on in the week, I was able to be a part of once in a lifetime experience. This was only possible because Food for the Poor generously donated a brand new mini bus to Patrice’s organization which he uses to transports kids to and from games, pick up needed supplies, and as well take the kids occasionally on incredible trips to different places in Haiti. None of them have ever been out of Port-au-Prince. After playing soccer games that same morning in the mountains a couple hours away, the kids went to a swimming pool for the first time in their lives. This breathtaking pool in the mountains was miles away from their heated, worn down tents and exhausted and malnourished lives in Port-au-Prince. These kids were so excited being in the pool that all they did for the first 20 to 30 minutes was to slap the water and chase each other in circles. It was like watching the joy of a baby splashing in a bathtub. This was one of the happiest and most memorable moments in my life. Another amazing experience was to go into the mountains to hike a trail in the coolness of the mountains on Holy Day; a surprising day where everyone dresses up in nice clothing and and goes to church. We walked up and down hills, seeing amazing views that looked down into the valley where all the vegetables and crops were produced for much of Port-au-Prince. The kids took as many pictures as they could, some even switching shirts so they could go back and tell their friends and family they went to the mountains numerous times.
All of these trips, all the food these kids get, and the life experiences and values shared with these kids are all driven by Patrice Millet - a man previously diagnosed with Bone cancer but trying to impact the world. He truly changes these kid’s lives in such a way I didn’t realize until this trip. He is such an amazing man and I was so happy to be with him for 10 days.
Putting in a turf field will be a huge improvement and will benefit everyone in the organization!!!! Please help and donate!!!!