Kick the Can in HAITI!

Sometimes there are certain smells that remind me of another time in my life. Fresh mowed grass is one of my favorite smells, it always reminds me of summer; fresh baked brownies is another smell that always makes me smile. The lasting smell of bug orange scented bug spray is another favorite thats seems to linger where ever I go.When I was growing up I spent one week each summer as a camper at 4-H Camp Owahta near Cortland, New York. When I was old enough I became a camp counselor for four years. The memories I have from Owahta are some of my best, they played an important role in shaping who I am today.

There are certain smells that always remind me of camp. When we got to United Christian International (UCI), where we are staying this trip to Bohoc, everything reminded me of Owahta. It is a large property with a school, a worship center, and guest house. The family who run UCI also live here. It all seemed familiar to me as I thought of my time at Camp Owahta. Even the showers and bathrooms seemed the same; a bit rustic and rough around the edges.

This is our first time staying at UCI and the people here are very welcoming. They brought in a Haitian Christian group to sing for us one night; tonight the team is helping with English class and paining a mural on the wall. Tomorrow a former Witch Doctor who is now a Christian will come to give us his testimony.  

During the day the team has been hard at work building pit latrines for widows and a woman who runs a school here called Kris se Espwa. In the afternoon we spent time at an orphanage called Matthew 28 and the school of the woman we are building one of the pit latrines for. Today we went back to the same school in the afternoon to play with the older children. On Monday we did activities geared towards young children, but today we went back to hang with the older kids.

We weren’t sure what to do exactly. The supplies brought by the team were jump ropes, coloring activities, and bubbles; all geared toward younger children. They had basketballs and soccer balls that we have been using, but we wanted to do something different with the kids.

Dividing line, Team Orange and Team Yellow

With Camp Owahta fresh on my mind as I walk around the UCI campus, I was reminded of a game we played that was always a good time, Kick the Can! I explained to the group about Capture the Flag and Kick the Can, the rules are similar. Two teams split on a field, a line down the middle, cross into the other teams side and run until you kick the can out of the circle at the other end of the field; get tagged by the opposite team on their turf and go to jail. The first to get to five points wins.

The Jail!

It was a great time and the kids seemed to love it! One Haitian boy on my team who spoke good English came up to me while we were both in ‘jail’ and said “This game is really fun!” The team seemed to really enjoy it too; they thanked me for teaching them an “Awesome American game.” The kids caught on fast, using the same techniques the kids at Camp Owahta used. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to share this small part of my past with people in my future. Everyone around me had a smile on their face that made us all winners in my book (even though the other team won 4-2)!

Going for it!
Group shot!

Tonight as the evening is coming to a close we are sitting around after dinner with two guitars singing. It’s not the same as the campfire at Camp Owahta, there is no speaking stick and no campers putting on skits. I find it beautiful how memories of the past are similar to the memories of now; the new chapters of my life are being written and I am excited to see what lies ahead.

As I breathe in the night air out in the Haiti country side and sing with the team, a lonely tear of joy is brought to my eye. I am so blessed. God is good.

“Come thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy redeeming love”

-Come thou Fount, David Crowder Band (One of the songs we sang around the table tonight)

“It’s not whether you win or lose its how you play the game.” -Anon

(I have pictures that i will add when the internet is faster!)


Posted on March 24, 2011, in 2011. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Tara, I’m so glad you have such memories from your childhood that they would have such meaning to you now. I think of you everyday and wish so much that Grandpa knew what you were doing. He would be (and is when he remembers) so PROUD of you. He had such a big and caring heart, You are so much like him in that way! I love you and am so proud of you. Mom

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