Throughout my 15 years of life, I have had many amazing experiences that will forever reinstate me. The time I had with the boys and girls in Sandy Shores are those that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
First day on the flats, I was guided by @flatsphantom aka Travis. Awesome guy. He helped me to learn how to cast into the wind. As it was very windy, I easily caught my back with my fly, because I was waiting too long on my back cast and the wind would take it. Any way he got me on a bonefish and I instantly trout set and lost him. Then after an hour of casting to bonefish I finally got tight with one. It was surreal. The fishing here can get real stressful, Once the guide points out a fish its like everything I know about casting gets thrown out the window. So after today, I can say the fishing is high intensity. I’ve gotta learn how to calm down to make the perfect presentation. Today, one of the local Bahamian Students asked me to teach humid how to cast. Knowing that these kids look at me as someone to learn from is unreal and it inspired me to get more kids hooked on fly fishing throughout the week.
Today was another tough day of fishing, we were surrounded by storms all day then at the end of the day I hooked up with a bonefish. Luckily we had a BTT rep on my boat and I was able to tag my fish. We then went to Sandy Shores which is a Haitian refugee camp. The infrastructure here was non existent, there were no doors, broken windows, and the “houses” were a couple feet apart from each other. Seeing these living conditions was hard to see and comprehend. However, through all of this these people are still happy and grateful for what they have. We walked through town and gained a following of maybe 30 kids, and played dodgeball with them. The way these kids are able to act in these conditions is mind boggling. BY simply playing ball with them we turned them from the nine year old adult they are forced to become into the fun loving lighthearted kid they urn to be. I am inspired by there lightheartedness and ability to be thankful for something as simple as a soccer ball. I met this one boy named named Issac who was nine, and had to share an air mattress with four other boys. He was the most mature kid I’ve ever met, because he had to become that way to live out here and enjoy it. Instead of worrying about his next fly rod he is going to purchase; he worries about his next meal. This really got my life priorities straight and inspired me to become more like these kids who have experience more in their nine years of life than in my nineteen years of life.
When we first pulled into the town, I was surprised to see nobody around, until we got out of our cars and walked further into town. As we walked in, I was able to see children peeking out their non existent windows and doors to see what we were doing. Once they realized we were there to have fun, boy after boy, and girl after girl, filed out onto the street. This was so significant for me because the last thing I expected was a smile. This got me thinking about what makes each person happy. It is different for everyone. But, what I have realized this trip is although these children may have to share a bed with 4 other people, or skip meals, they never take the little things for granted. I feel as though their society is poor economically, but rich with love for one another. Something that many communities in the states seem to lack. There are few people in the U.S. that will smile and feel so much joy because somebody hands them a soccer ball. I met a young boy in Sandy Shores named Marvin, he was very small but had a big personality. What amazed be about Marvin was that every time I would hand him a ball he would say, “thank you”. This expanded my mindset on how important the little things are. Something many people including myself need to grasp and hold on to throughout our lives. I believe that this experience has evolved my mindset and has further broadened my horizon with many struggles people face throughout this world.
- Eric Schuhrer 7/8/19 Abaco