As day one brought a beautiful atmosphere and attitude amongst the campers here in the bahamas, day two was more of an eye opener to the realities of the circumstances that some of the campers live in.
First and foremost, the game of baseball is truly an outlet for most of the youth attending our camp. On my way to the field with Antoan we had a great conversation about the kids at the camp and the dramatic differences they come from. As we spoke I learned that one boy who is 13 years old missed the first day because he couldn’t get up in time and when I asked why I was blown away. Antoan said that they boy stated he had to work late. Are you kidding me! Apparently this boy has to work the night shifts at the local market and was asked to stay after hours so he could stock the shelves and clean the store.
Wow!! At 13 years old this boy is working late night to feed and cloth himself. To top it off, I learned that the boy lives right across the street from the field where we are doing our camp in a house that had a blue tarp for a roof. Unbelievable!!! How do you empathize with that!! A 13 yr old boy who lives in a house with a tarp as a roof and who has to work nights to be able to eat. Don’t let me forget to mention he excels in school.
As we continue our conversation I learn about an 11 year who seems to have it just as rough. This boy is participating in Antoan’s after-school program and missed one of the days a few weeks ago. His reason, not excuse was he had to finish his homework. Ok I can understand that. But here is the kicker. This boy has been seen buying kerosene at the store on a few occasions and kerosene isn’t used much on the island other than by old timers who still use kerosene lamps.
Put two and two together and think about that for a second. A boy who is seen buying kerosene and who is also missing an after school program because he needs to finish homework. If you haven’t figured it out yet the boy has no electricity in his house! He has to get home early enough to finish his homework before the sunsets so he has light to do it. WOW!!! An 11 yr old driven enough to succeed in school that he rushed home so he can use the sunlight to do his homework.
At this point I’m blown away and speechless. Who am I to ever complain about anything?
So as we arrive to camp and get the day started Im watching the players interact and gauging the energy and I love what I see. The boys are full of energy and ready to get rolling.
I noticed this one boy in a yellow shirt who just seemed to be in heaven. He was so full of energy and ready to learn it was contagious. Im coming off a night of five and half hours of sleep and half dead but this boys energy immediately woke me up and got me excited about the day.
As I am roaming around from station to station I kept noticing this boys energy and desire to give it his all at every station he was at. Now this boy doesn’t possess as much talent as the others but he sure works like he does. Im watching him just soak up the information we are teaching. And he is determined to succeed without any thoughts of failure crossing his mind. I’m loving it!! This is Whats it’s all about!
To make a long story short this boy in the yellow shirt is the same boy who has no electricity in his house. Im flabbergasted! This boy is living a HARD life! One I couldn’t even imagine living. But he is out here full of life! Full of energy! Seeming so appreciative of the opportunity to just be learning and playing baseball. Again, I’m speechless. Writing this is tough without getting emotional.
Today was a great day all the way around and one that I am appreciative to have gone through because it was just so eye opening. Today is a day I will never forget but one that is going to change my life. Being here and learning about what some of these boys gone through is something that our youth from the US need to experience. So just maybe they can see how good they got it. I can’t wait to bring a team here to play against some of these boys and for them to witness what life is really like living with bare minimums.