WHEN VOLLEYBALL WENT TO HAITI

This past spring break, Athletes in Action (AIA) Volleyball took 20 high school athletes to Haiti for the first ever co-ed high school tour. The athletes were from all over the Fraser Valley and had been involved in summer camps, in Action Beach Club, and in CRAVE small groups.

Kara Davis and Nicole Bazin, who led the tour, explain, “We partnered with Harvest International Ministry in Les Cayes, where the Wray family runs a children’s camp called Camp Mahanaim.”

The purpose of the tour was to impact the south of Haiti by giving children and youth the opportunity to play volleyball. In all of Haiti, there are only five gymnasiums for 10 million people, and Camp Mahanaim recently built one of them.

“We were able to host the men’s and women’s national teams,” Bazin says, “and share our faith through our sport.“ The Wray family had been working with 30 Haitian girls aged 13 to 18 and the tour participants were able to help them in their training for the upcoming inter-scholar national championships held in May. Haiti is a male dominant culture, and so the fact that the Wrays are building into the girls and providing them opportunities to escape poverty through volleyball is significant.

Among all of the volleyball, the tour participants also got to be a part of a Sunday school program in the slums where they fed 1,200 kids, worshipped, and shared Jesus. “We had the opportunity to distribute food and other resources to earthquake victims in a remote jungle village,” says Bazin.

Finally, one of the highlights for the team was opening the gates of the camp for several nights, blasting music, bringing out soccer balls and volleyballs, and seeing hundreds of kids flood into the camp to play for hours.

“This was an amazing tour where we saw sport impact the poorest of the poor,” Bazin says. “We saw joy amidst complete devastation; we saw the natural beauty of Haiti; we saw athletes share their faith; we saw God drastically change lives of the tour participants.”