WELCOME GUEST BLOGGER (AND ONE OF OUR OWN HOOPS GUY), BRIAN BEHRENS!
As you know, Hoops sent our second travel team down to Cap-Haitian, Haiti from May 26th through June 4th. The eight team members met up with Austin Smith, our on-site intern who has been working for Hoops and Haiti Hospital Appeal since late January. The team’s main goal of renovating a local, public basketball court was a great success! The entire court was painted, including boundary lines and backboards, and sturdier rims were hung. The greatest impact was made with the installation of lights that now shine brightly on the court. When Al Behrens (Hoops guy and team leader) asked local community leaders how excited they were to be able to play basketball in the evenings now because of the light, they responded with “Yes, and our children will have a well-lit area to study and our community with have a secure place to hold events!” This was something that hadn’t even crossed our minds until they mention it, making the project even more special to both us and them.
Maddi Knecht was completely new to Haiti, as she made her first trip down with Hoops! She had fun meeting new people and playing with children. She can’t wait to go back!
“I believe this experience was something that will forever change the way I think and treat others. Not only did my faith in Christ become stronger just by creating relationships with the other team members, but the people in Haiti really showed me what it means to love other people. I remember Junias telling us how every member of the family earns money that is used to help the entire family, not for personal things. It really opened my eyes how selfless these people are even though they have nothing. It taught me to be thankful for everything God has blessed me with. This trip meant so much to me and there are so many wonderful memories that I will keep with me throughout my entire life.”
Abigail Crockett was a first time traveler, so being on a plane was different, let alone being in a third world country! She adapted wonderfully and had a great time!
“My favorite experience was seeing the smiling faces of the Haitians every day. It’s crazy because they barely have anything but they’re still so happy. It makes you realize how much you actually have. This country was beyond beautiful and everyday God’s light shined down on it.”
Julia was with the Hoops team last year in May and could see how God had worked in Haiti over the past year and continues to work.
“Surely Jesus uses what is foolish and weak in the world to shame those who count themselves wise and strong! This week, I found Jesus off the beaten path—the unexpected, unanticipated places. I found Him on the side of the road, while heat was sweltering and mosquitoes were feeding, waiting to be rescued from the daily monotony of poverty; I found Him as a small, mentally challenged girl reaching towards heaven, a proclamation to her only desire—to be loved, held, cherished, and wanted; I found Him as I had the privilege and honor of using His bathroom—a clogged toilet that could only be flushed with two buckets of well water, a toilet housed in a small concrete shack privatized by a meager blue curtain; I found Him quietly walking the beach with me as we partook in sharing each others’ grievances; I found Him being beaten away from the basketball courts by older men who found His longing to simply be present a nuisance. Jesus was there, but simply and very subtly, always in disguise. Perhaps He was overlooked and even unwelcomed or perhaps finding Him required much effort and reflection; nevertheless, He is alive and He is well.”
Seth Bauersfeld also really enjoyed his first time in Haiti. His greatest struggle was getting back onto the plane to come home. He kept saying:
“I want to live down here forever!”
Seth’s favorite moment came before the dedication of the newly improved court. With nearly 300 people surrounding it and waiting for the first gam to be played, a young man who is a local Haitian with Downs Syndrome stood out from the crowd. Seth and this young man instantly bonded and continued the message of hope and love through their laughter, hugs, and even a quick one-on-one match of hoops! Seth certainly has a big heart for helping and made it very clear that he will be returning to Haiti as soon as he can!
It was a very successful trip filled with great memories. Truly hope and love were spread… Through Hoops.
The travel team was at it again today, working hard and making friends!
It was a busy day working on a court in downtown Cap-Haitien in Cité du Peuple (City of the People). Work included painting the court, repainting the backboards, and hanging brand new rims! The work went by much faster thanks to the local help of guys in the neighborhood. They were all very proud of their remodeled court. This basketball court will provide a safe and fun environment for the community to play basketball, hold neighborhood events, and allow a place for school children to study.
The team has been having a lot of fun riding around in the back of the truck and spending some quality time with our AMAZING friend, Junias!
Tomorrow, more work on the court for our team and more updates for you!
Just wanted to give you an update on what Hoops for Haiti is up to this week…
We had a team of 8 leave from Bloomington, Illinois bright and early yesterday! Today, they arrived safely in Cap-Haitien, Haiti ready to settle in and get to work!
Once on the ground they loaded up their luggage and rode (the best way to ride in Haiti, of course… in the back of the truck) out to their new home for the week. From there, our guy Austin gave them the grand tour of the hospital (HHA) and compound where they will be staying all week. After a little rest and amazing Haitian food, they ended the day playing, what else? BASKETBALL with kids from Helping Haitian Angels.
Their week is sure to be filled with a lot of hard work, but even more memories! Here are just a few pictures from day 1 in Haiti:
I’ll be sure keep you updated with their whereabouts as the week progresses!
We need your help. Hoops for Haiti is leading a basketball clinic and tournament in Cap-Haitien, Haiti at the end of this month. You have donated uniforms, basketballs and shoes from all over the United States and Canada for the young basketball players of Haiti. In order for us to get the required amount of equipment (uniforms, shoes, basketballs) into Haiti, it’s going to cost about USD$5,000. Please helps us bring a message of hope and love through basketball. To see how you can help the Hoops for Haiti Basketball tourney in Haiti, click on this link:
It’s been a while since we’ve connected with you and we apologize for the delay. For the next several weeks (and hopefully even after that) you can expect to hear from us every Wednesday! Yep, you heard that correctly… Right here, every Wednesday!
Today we have some big news to announce… Austin is moving to Haiti!!!
This is really exciting for Hoops for Haiti, as it will again give us someone on the ground down in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. For the next year Austin will be working on building connections, setting up camps and tournaments, leading American “travel” teams when they come to visit, and just maintaining a general presence in Haiti for Hoops.
As if that isn’t exciting enough, Hoops is also working on developing a partnership with Haiti Hospital Appeal. HHA is based out of the UK and currently runs a hospital, children’s home, and emergency services in Cap-Haitien. With our new partnership, Austin will be donating some of his time to volunteering with HHA. He will be in charge of logistics and the sports complex coordinator. As part of this, Hoops for Haiti will now have our own basketball court and basketball facility to store equipment in at HHA.
Austin leaves this Thursday (1/30/14) from the Bloomington, Illinois airport at 7AM. If you’re around the area come give him a warm send off!! We would love to see all of your faces bright and early. We are planning to meet at 6AM at Central Illinois Regional Airport, so that Austin will have enough time to say goodbye to everyone and still get through security. Austin (along with Mark, Al, and Leah) will fly with Missionary Flights International from Fort Pierce, Florida to Cap-Haitien, Haiti on Friday, January 31st. We will be keeping you updated on our experiences throughout the week here on the blog as well as Twitter (@hoopsforhaiti) and Facebook!
Also, we will be posting an address where you can send stuff (letters, cards, words of wisdom) to Austin here on our website in the very near future.
Thank you for all you are doing for us. We appreciate all of the love and support and are very excited for the future of Hoops!
First of all, thank you. Hoops for Haiti is able to have a a tremendous impact on the lives of Haitians in no small part because of you.
We are often asked by our donors for pictures of the uniforms or equipment that they have donated. It is only natural to want to see pictures of the kids enjoying the gifts that have been given. Generally speaking, whether it is a donation of money, uniforms, basketballs or anything else, donors want to know (and see) the donees receiving the utility, or even better, the enjoyment of those gifts. That is one of the joys of giving; watching others enjoy what we have given to them.
People from all over the United States and Canada have donated uniforms, shoes and basketball equipment so we can then give them to the kids (and adult basketball players) of Haiti. It is our job, in a sense, to give these uniforms, shoes and equipment away to the basketball players of Haiti. We are stewards of the uniforms and equipment.
I’ve written about the need for “Haitian Heroes” before. Most community, school and church leaders want and support anything that can build up Haitian Heroes, instead of thinking that the Americans (or any other outsider) are the heroes, bringing in items to “save the day.” So, Hoops for Haiti has partnered with local Heroes.
Because of this, we have not been able to take pictures of all of the uniforms and equipment that we’ve given away. A lot of times, we give the equipment to the neighborhood or community leaders and then they give the uniforms and equipment away to the kids in the neighborhood. This has backfired a couple of times when we later see adults – friends of the community leader and sometimes the community leaders themselves – wearing the uniforms out on the street. But that has happened so few times that we continue to work this way in an effort to encourage and build up Haitian Heroes.
(One of the neighborhoods where uniforms were donated.)
(Uniforms were donated here, too.)
Please know that even if you don’t see your uniforms or equipment in pictures, they are being used for their intended purpose: bringing a message of hope and love through basketball. We will continue to take pictures when we can, because it’s great to see happy faces wearing cool uniforms.
Thank you for what you have done; it has allowed us to do what we have done.
Hoops for Haiti has made some changes with our storage facility. The picture below is a full trailer of donated uniforms, shoes and equipment that we are moving from our Seneca storage facility to our new storage facility in Hudson, Illinois.
All new shipments (uniform and equipment donations) should be sent to:
Hoops for Haiti
14995 E. 2550 North Rd
Hudson, IL 61748
To ship the uniforms and equipment to Haiti, we need to raise some money. To donate financially, please visit this link:
Thank you to all of our donors.
We’ve had a great week here in the Cap-Haitien area. The Travel Team flys back to the USA today and then to Central Illinois tomorrow. Over the next couple of days, I’ll update all that has gone on and accomplished this past week.
In the meantime, a friend of mine sent me a message and said that he found a video of our work here in Haiti and suggested that I work on my shot…take a look:
Today we continued to strengthen and build relationships in Cap-Haitien in 2 different locations. The first location, where we fixed two basketball hoops and reprinted the lines on the court, many people from the neighborhood worked side by side with us.
The second court we worked on was in the center of Cap-Haitien. The main court for the best players in town, we fixed the basketball hoops and put up new nets.
After a much-needed break and swim in a pool, we went to the UN Peacekeeper’s Day events. We’ll tell more of this in a different post