By Matt Van Geest
As the sun started to set, the crowd was buzzing, excited for that first goal.
The players fought tirelessly for the pride of their team so they could emerge champions. Finally, a goal! A few minutes later, another goal and the first half ended tied 1-1. The players went into the half tired, but eager to get back out on the pitch. The halftime show was fun for all. Beyoncé wasn’t available, but the singing contest with themes on cholera prevention, the foot races and the musical chairs competition kept the crowd excited.
Haitians love soccer and this event was no exception. Hundreds of people came out to watch the final championship games of the week, one in the village of Phaeton and one in Paulette, the two communities where Vibrant Village is focusing its efforts in northern Haiti. The event was designed as a celebration, both of the coming Carnival season and of Vibrant Village’s projects. We had spent the past few months in weekly meetings with community members to work on identifying their hopes and dreams for the future. This event was an opportunity to share those dreams with the broader community, to celebrate the completion of the revitalized water system, our first project in addition to our regular feeding program, and to just to let go for a day.
The community was grateful for the day. It was an endless flood of “Mesi Mesye Matye’s” or “Mesi Fondasyon Vilaj Vivan” (Thank you Mr. Matthew, Thank you Vibrant Village Foundation). A group of women who had been very active in the community meetings also made the extra effort of getting matching t-shirts that said “Merci FVV”, or “Thanks VVF.” That was a highlight for me.
The event marked new projects and the beginning of the newly established plans for 2013, as well as strategies and ideas for the next five years for both communities, and we intend to be working in these communities for the long haul.
The final score . . . well, it was a tie and went into shootouts . . . but what really matters is that this was a celebration of the hopes and dreams of these two communities for their future.