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Soccer fields and rubble

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 14, 2010 | 12:33 am

 

The World Cup is over—a painful reminder of that in Uganda—but the suffering in Haiti is not.

And neither is their love for futbol.

My GetReligion colleague Sarah Pulliam Bailey came back with this story after a quick visit to the island nation last month. A snippet:

Piles of rubble fill the streets of Port-Au-Prince, and hundreds of thousands of families still live in tents as hurricane season rapidly approaches. In one tent city of about 15,000 people, aid workers are fighting an outbreak of typhoid. But for a few hours in late June, Haitian children learned soccer skills from one of their own.

Born and raised in Haiti, Ricardo Pierre-Louis made the Haitian national team at 17; but getting there wasn’t easy. His parents couldn’t afford to give him the 25 cents needed to buy a soccer ball, so he would make balls out of blown-up condoms. Out of millions of Haitian children, he was one of 25 selected to play on the national youth team at 14. Now he wants to do something similar for the Port-au-Prince children living in tents.

“My distractions were my soccer and my education,” Pierre-Louis said. “Imagine seeing someone get smashed in the earthquake. How do you take that as a kid?”

Pierre-Louis, 25, was brought back to his home country for the first time since the earthquake by an organization called OneHope, a ministry that tells Bible stories to children through booklets and movies. The ministry recently sent a small group from their Florida headquarters to lead the Port-au-Prince soccer clinics, with the intention that Haitian leaders would continue the clinics throughout the summer.

The situation in Haiti remains daunting.

Read the rest here.

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