Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hope Amidst the Rubble

We've all heard it before: you can't believe it unless you see it with your own eyes. Well that's Haiti--the miles of destruction, the breathtakingly beautiful land beyond the rubble, the resolute faces of minute to minute perseverance, the goats..

Our first day in Haiti was all that and more. Led by Jean Chevalier, Special Olympics Haiti is coming to life. For Jean, SO is a pathway to rehabilitation-of rebuilding broken spirits but also for rebuilding Haitian society to be about the inclusion of all. We met with USAID and OAS leaders who challenged us to think about social change, about sustainability, about engaging government leaders. And most excitingly, we met with the leader of the YMCA which will open a new center and wants every Special Olympics athlete to become a member and have a year round fitness and sport development plan.

I must admit that Rose and I are a little in shock with it all. But when we met this morning with 30 new trainers and managers who are ready to help us open 5 Special Olympics Camp Shrivers this summer, we felt at home again: people offering to help, wanting to fight discrimination, ready to give the gift of skill, the joy of a smile, the power of an example for others to follow. I hope during the rest of the trip we find the leaders and the money to empower them to success.

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