Water Balloons and Muddy Feet

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hh-haiti-2010-1.jpgWhen her back was against the wall, Alice in Wonderland reminded herself of what her father told her: “I try to believe in six impossible things before breakfast.” In Haiti, trying to believe in six impossible things is not that hard; in fact, the options are quite limitless, as there is so much that needs to change and so much in the way of that change, sometimes simple hope and laughter can count as near impossibilities.hh-haiti-2010-2.jpgPort Au Prince has become a city of tents: estimates have been as high as 1.3 million people that have been sleeping in tents, with nowhere to go. Tents fill every park, spill onto sidewalks, even line the medians in the battered city streets. Not only are people homeless, they are without water, medical care, and virtually without hope. One more little cluster of tents doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to people. And although numbers represent individual lives, it is really hard to separate the two, until you experience the difference for yourself.Down a long, dusty road just outside the city lies a little haven that you would miss unless you knew what you were looking for. It is called Rêve Timoun, which in Créole means “Children’s Dream”, and for the 34 young lives that currently call it home it is exactly that. It may not look like much to you: a barren, square chunk of land with a central makeshift tarp shelter with rough wooden benches that is surrounded by little Coleman tents clinging to the ground as they defy the endless wind, sun, and inevitable rain. This past week when our Hero Holiday team pulled up to the Rêve Timoun property, they thought they were ready for whatever they encountered: pain, loss, extreme poverty. But instead, they experienced the unexpected: passionate singing, intense laughter, heartfelt affection, and warm memories.hh-haiti-2010-4.jpgThe Hero Holiday group had come to this property prepared for fun with soccer balls, skipping ropes, various gifts for each child, and best of all, balloons. But not just any balloons – these were balloons that were ready to be filled with water and wreak havoc and induce violent fits of laughter. After their introduction of singing and hugs and struggling to fill the balloons with water in a place that had no running water to begin with, the team lined up the kids to face each other. Armed only with a water balloon, they began their battle, testing each other’s skills of focus and pure energy. As the war broke out, the screams of sheer joy and excitement filled the air. One of the little girls, probably about 4 years old, was so overwhelmed with excitement and incapacitated with laughter that she was unable to focus long enough to even throw the balloon. Finally after a three or four minute struggle and with some help from a teammate she threw the balloon and squealed with delight as her opponent retaliated. This was the most excitement they had ever had on this property and they wanted to the experience to last forever.At the end of the day, everyone who stood on that sun scorched property were able to believe in more than six impossible things, because they were surrounded by 34 impossible hopes. Each child represented incredible impossibilities: having already survived the deadliest natural catastrophe in global history, they made it to this safe place.  Despite near starvation and exploitation before they arrived here, they now faced life without parents or family. Each one of these young lives had been in the clutches of death and now here they stood, embracing all that life had for them that day.hh-haiti-2010-3.jpgRêve Timoun cannot offer the children much in terms of material comforts – they currently live in tents, sleep on donated yoga mats, and eat and have school under a tattered tarp – but as cliché as it may sound, they truly do have incredible depths of love and support. The staff of volunteers who live and sleep on the same property provide them with love, protection and the ability to continue to believe in the impossible: a life with a good future. And together with our Hero Holiday participants and all of our supporters, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is privileged to believe with them for that future…because they are worth it.To find out more about our Hero Holiday trips to Haiti, check out You can help us to help them by donating to our Hero Holiday projects at Together we can believe in the impossible!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 2nd, 2010