Working with the partner program GOALS Haiti was so much fun. The coaches were engaged in the discussions, energetic and competitive during the games, always on time to training (thanks to Jolinda) and made me laugh everyday with their love of dancing and singing. They are a second year program, so staple games, such as Circle of Friends, were easily taught and always full of laughter. At the beginning, the drills were ordinary such as high knees and high fives, but Circle of Friends quickly became a dance party where the main attraction was laughing at us trying to do their dances. Over the course of the week, we taught the coaches many new games including games that educated the coaches on HIV, gender equity, health and wellness, skills for life, and conflict resolution. We also had a great discussion on Thursday about child protection. As the week went on, the coaches were clearly becoming more confident and capable coaches, which will hopefully translate into their everyday lives. On Friday, we took a back seat and watched as the coaches took turns coaching back the games we had taught them. They were great and didn’t need our help for anything that day.
Every afternoon, we would visit one of the GOALS sites where we would proudly watch the coaches use our games with their players. Many coaches even added their own flare to the games to make them their own. It was really cool to actually see the games making an impact on so many people. Hiroki and I got the opportunity to coach 2 girls teams. It was fun to be able to run a short training session by ourselves, but I definitely have to commend Sophie and Nora for their ability to put 4 hour sessions together every day.
I can’t believe a week has already passed since we got here. New things still excite and wow me every day. It is completely different here than I could have ever expected, but I have learned so much from the people here already. I hope I am able to provide them as much joy and laughs as they have provided me this entire week. I am sad we have to leave Leogane, but I am excited to coach the new program in Fond Des Blancs next week!