By Guesly Dessieux
For past week, we have unfortunately been unable to hold soccer games or practices on the Project Living Hope fields due to two nights of heavy rain that left the fields partially flooded. As the fields began to dry out we waited to play because we did not want the smooth surfaces to be damaged.
About ten of us men have been working endlessly this week to dig ditches and place sand bags around the tops of the fields to divert future rainfall and prevent flooding. Yesterday we reopened the fields for practices and we hope we will be able to have games this coming Saturday.
Around noon today, as several of us were digging ditches, I looked over to see three boys around 15 years old walking on one of the soccer fields. They were all nicely dressed in their school uniforms with backpacks on their backs. I wondered why they would make the one mile walk just to come to the field. Kenson, one of our newest Project Living Hope employees, and I stopped working to see what the boys were up to. What I saw was interesting. The boys put down their backpacks and began pretending they were playing soccer. One of them got into the goal and the other two pretended to shoot on him. The one playing goalie would dive and the other two would cheer and run in circles like he had scored. It brought smiles to both of our faces, knowing the fields had been closed and the boys had made the walk up the hill just to see if we had reopened them. I called to them and said, Would you like to use a real ball?” Their eyes lit up and with big smiles all three said, “Really?!”. We kicked a ball to them and they continued playing, this time actually shooting goals. We continued to watch and smile. Kenson told me how this place already means a lot to the town of Camp Marie and I told him it was wonderful to see that we are creating a place where youth feel comfortable, cared about, and safe.
After they were done, one of the boys brought back the soccer ball and said thank you. He commented that the field had been closed for a couple of days and they had missed being here. They just wanted to check it out prior to having practice tonight. It is amazing to me the hope we can already sense in the youth that are involved in our soccer leagues. To have a place to play along with all the equipment they need is uncommon in Haiti. I am grateful for all our donors and volunteers who have helped us come this far. Project Living Hope is not currently at a place financially where we can install artificial turf on our fields, but it will indeed be amazing when we are able to replace the dirt fields with turf ones. Until then, I look forward to more pretend soccer games as we continue to trust God with every step.
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