Haiti: Fuel TV/Nat Geo’s On Surfari
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My carry-on is crammed with Clif bars and board shorts, and I've squeezed three small-wave surfboards into one weathered day bag. My legs are a little sore from the past week's Blacks sessions and climbing the goat trail back to the car-park, but my mind is fixated on the task at hand.
Tonight we're striking out on an adventure through Haiti. I'll be accompanying Shayne and Shannon McIntyre, Matt Beacham, Russell Brownley, and Art Brewer as part of a surf-and-serve excursion through Haiti for an episode of Fuel TV and National Geographic's On Surfari.
Only a few months before the earthquake struck I found myself meandering through the slums of Port Au Prince with my buddy Russell and our guides from Compassion International. We were there to learn about Compassion's child sponsorship programs and how we could help share their story. As touched as I was by the resilient spirit of the people of Haiti and the different ways Compassion International's 100-percent Haitian staff were able to initiate a long-term change within their local communities, I really never thought I'd be going back.
But here I am seven months later en route to Haiti. I can tell that this trip is going to be different than the last one for more reasons than just the earthquake. But if there's one thing I'd selfishly like to extrapolate from this trip it would be a sense of hope. I'm eager to reconnect with the families we haven't been in touch with since the earthquake. And I'm excited to spend some time at the education and care center for handicapped children in Jacmel, deemed Pazapa (pazapa.org). I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but I'll definitely keep you posted.
The surfer and social activist Kahana Kalama is the star of the award-winning documentary Gum for My Boat: Surfing in Bangladesh, directed by Russell Brownley.