Update: April 14, 2012
I was overjoyed to witness the ongoing tennis coaching which took place every afternoon. The Quick Start players have made great progress. Of the 30 students, 20 of them do not attend school. I brought down some excellent materials from Educavision, a publishing house in Florida, for the coaches to help students learn to read and write. The 20 children now all have “cahiers” (little notebooks) where they can practice their letters and learn to read. The best excitement was when they approached me saying they had a terrible problem: the problem was that they had received a call from Junior Etienne, the Haitian Tennis Federation Quick Start Coach, inviting them to bring four children under 12’s to a competition at their Tennis Center in Croix de Bouquets just outside Port au Prince on April 14. The “problem” was how would they get there, how many days, where could they stay, etc. It turns out they have a friend with a van who can fit in the 4 students and 4 coaches, and by pure chance or providence, friends of mine who used to work at HAS many years ago and now are in Port au Prince showed up as a surprise. They actually have a training center right in Croix de Bouquets which houses up to 50 people and there would be room for the tennis team if they need to spend the night. The youth and the coaches are very excited and are anticipating great victories.
Follow-up consists of continued coaching, perhaps opportunities for more competitions, and trying to find support for the project: transportation for Coach John DeLong to return to continue the coaching, both with individuals and groups, to find funding to pay for the competitions which includes transportation and sometimes overnight lodging and lunches, and to continue to bring down materials, especially tennis balls.
By: Jenifer Grant