I am happy to report that after an eventful (and dare I say adventurous) trip, our BlazeSports delegation has returned home from Haiti safe and sound. The team’s last few days in the island country were amongst their most productive. On Friday, they spent hours in the car, traveling to meet organizations and advocacy groups and to distribute equipment and supplies in towns throughout the south of Haiti. After crossing the mountains to Jacmel, the capital of the Sud-Est department, our cadre had a fruitful meeting with the departmental coordinator of volunteerism in the disability community. They also visited a small hotel and conference facility that could be used as a site for training regional volunteers and professionals in the future. The BlazeSports team then journeyed back to their rugged accommodations where they debriefed and discussed a strategy that accounts for the country’s needs a year and a half after the earthquake.
The delegation left Haiti on Saturday, and they were touched when several members of independent disability organizations came to say goodbye and to help the BlazeSports team transport their luggage to the airport. We are deeply pleased at the progress we’ve made in identifying the grassroots service organizations who are making a ground-level difference in the fields of sports and recreation for youth and adults with disability. After three trips to Haiti, we are succeeding in sorting out which of the country’s organizations are most effective and most aligned with our values and vision. Our partnerships with organizations like SOHaMO hold promise for meaningful future collaboration.
The trip may be over, but our efforts continue. Our commitment to Haiti is strong, as is our friendship with many in the nation’s disability community. All of us at BlazeSports are proud of our staff and partners who made this trying but fruitful trip, and would like to offer a special thanks to Dr. Michael Riding and Gillian Sharp, who traveled from rural Oregon and Scotland respectively to participate in this project. We’d also like to thank Mighty 8th Media for understanding the power of pictures and making it possible for the BlazeSports team to communicate our vision and our efforts, and we offer our gratitude to all of you who provided personal donations to make this and other humanitarian efforts possible. You know who you are, and we are deeply thankful for your generosity.
A SOHaMO girl paints with materials donated by Marc and Gaye Chatov.
If cleanliness is next to godliness, the BlazeSports delegation decided that no rinse body wash was practically heaven (Sportaid).