HMI’s primary focus has always been drilling wells and developing water sources that could bring much needed potable water to the region west of Jeremie Haiti. As time went by, things happened to make us aware that we should address other needs. One of those was the education of children in the area in which we worked. There were several hundred children living in and around the villages of Numero Deux and Ravin Sable who had no access to elementary or secondary education. Following the requests of the parents and the encouragement and guidance of Rev. Jomanas Eustache, HMI was able to make a very humble but significant impact by ultimately beginning and supporting three schools which had at the height of our enrollment, approximately 750 children in grades pre-K to grade 6.
Shortly after the schools had begun operation, we realized that there was no recreational equipment with which the kids could play. As any good red-blooded American would do, we brought baseballs and bats, footballs, basketballs and a few soccer balls. Well, we immediately realized that everything could have been left back with the exception of the soccer balls. To say that bringing soccer balls was one of the things that HMI has done for Haiti that caused the most joy would be an understatement. The children screamed with glee at the site of soccer balls. We then began a campaign to bring large quantities of soccer balls for the kids at school and various families. We deflated the balls in the US, packed duffle bags with about 30 or so, brought pumps and needles to pump them up on arrival and distributed them using various criteria. We soon learned that their playing with the balls intensely on rocky thorny ground resulted in the balls simply not lasting very long. None were ever to be found on our return.
This organization was able to develop a virtually indestructible soccer ball that has been shown to last up to two years under daily and rugged use and longer if used for team use on a proper soccer field. What a delight to return to Haiti to find these balls still in good shape and still being used. On the One World Play Project website it goes into much detail as to how the power of play transforms lives and brings peace to areas of tension and strife. Take time to review their site but most especially consider donating to One World Play or directly to HMI for soccer balls as we partner together to make a better world through the simple use of soccer balls.