Well… back in Haiti and since I was here just a week ago its safe to say everything is a bit blurry.
It’s weird now though, I’m starting to feel more relaxed here than at home. I have felt a lot of things since my first mission here, but relaxed has never been one of them. I think because when I’m here I am focused on just one goal and at home I am coordinating more like ten. This last week at home was extra intense due to our recent commitment to launch a project for the flood victims in Pakistan. It’s a beast of a project and on top of our ongoing Haitian and Indonesian initiatives it is a lot to handle. That said we have great individuals stepping up to help… and frankly the result will be a lot of people, in a lot of places, getting access to potable water. This trip down here is an exciting one… For months now, I’ve been working on a few projects for Haiti that are all seeming to climax now. This one in particular is a pilot project that I started to develop with Nike a few months after the quake. They sent down a few delegates to scout out some programs that they could potentially get behind. Because of my Hurley partnership (Hurley is part of Nike Inc), the delegates were pointed in my direction as a resource once they were here. Short story long, one of the delegates, Tom De Blasis, and I began talking about a way to combine my water program and their interest in sport based community programs. We felt that the bare essentials for survival were health & happiness, i.e. water & sport. The result is a concept called the “Game Changer Kit” – a first response kit (combining our filtration system with a sport element) that we intend to pilot in Haiti, and then implement around the world. The kit is based off our existing two-bucket filtration system that normally includes one filter/spigot/sock… but now also includes, a tarp & rope for catching rain, a soccer ball (deflated), cones (to mark the field), and a ball pump. To top it off, the ball pump also doubles as a pressurization tool for the filter… it mounts to a little hose on the filter bucket to create manual pressure that triples the flow rate of the existing gravity fed method. So Tom and I worked on this concept for the past few months are finally bringing it to life on this trip! We made 30 sample kits and will be distributing them this week to two small communities in Leogane (quake epicenter)… through one of my existing networks – Thank you Fritz!! By the time we actually give a filter system to a family in need there is so much that has gone into getting it there. So many steps and hurdles to overcome just to get this simple solution into their hands and I really want to take this moment to thank the special individuals along the way that help to make this a reality. At the end of the day we can all stand together and say that we contributed towards giving the greatest gifts of all – Health & Happiness! Attached are a few pics from of the kit’s just after we assembled them and also the logo that Tom came up with for the project.
The Nike Game Changer Kit
What is the definition of a game changer?
For me, it is the moment when a significant shift is made in what seemed to be a certain fate. It is a new direction… a new path.
We just finished the distributions of our sample Game Changer Kits to two small villages in Leogane. The first one we went to was a little refugee outpost on the beach… and the second was a little mountain village that was only accessible by driving up a riverbed (pending rain of course!) with a 4×4 vehicle.
Contents inside the Game Changer Kit.
I had a breakthrough on this trip that changed my path down here. I know that bringing people water is an incredible gift… a true game changer. But by adding the soccer element with these kits really changes the community dynamic. There is an innocent excitement that you just don’t get with giving water, food, or shelter. Those things are SO needed but they are still reminders of how challenging their lives are. The soccer is a step through the doorway of their shattered existence, to a new place where the weight of the world is not on their shoulders. It is a much needed departure filled with camaraderie, union, and laughter.
I come from a sport background… and that foundation has always been and continues to be my north star. So even though I am most likely the worst soccer player on earth, I can very much relate with their passion. And though food, water, and shelter is the obvious framework for survival, I honestly believe that a community based activity such as sport is the vehicle that will pull them through the hard times.
We need something to bring us together… and sometimes we just need a healthy distraction from the everyday challenges we face.
I’m so proud of this project… and I have a new found respect for ANYONE who can play soccer well!!