Today, our group traveled to Sand Banks, which is actually a Haitian Refugee camp on the island. Jake explained the situation to us briefly before we got there, but I really didn’t know what to expect. When we got there, it really hit me just how tough these people lives must be. As we went around gathering the kids to come play with us, it hit me; these people are as happy as could be. Their faces lit up with gigantic smiles when they saw us with our soccer balls, and sprinted around the entire camp to gather up their friends to come play. One small thing that truly hit me hard was their basketball hoop. At home, I’m lucky enough to have a small half-court basketball hoop, and although I do play on it sometimes with my friends, I take it for granted. All these kids had was a plank of wood bolted onto a tree and a plastic box-crate as a hoop. After my experience with them today, I bet they thought it was one of their favorite things to play with. For an hour we all ran around playing dodgeball, and by the end I was having so much fun with them that the time flew by. When we had to get back on the van to drive home, I realized how different I looked at life then these kids.
Where I live in America, happiness comes by wealth, and how successful you are. You need to be that top student, get into an amazing college, and get a high paying job. If you can’t do that, you are seen as being lazy, or really frowned upon, which is so tough in our society. Talking to some of the Bahamian kids at the camp with us, we starting talking about the difference in social stigmas in between our countries. They mentioned that there is never any mental health issues or suicide-related deaths here, whereas in America, this is sadly nearly common. I directly relate this to that stigma where you always need to be successful and rich in life, and if you can’t get that, some people resort to stuff like that. The people here are always as happy as can be, and especially the kids in Sand Banks. Most of these families all share the same air mattress, and are still light years happier than most or any Americans. They always have smiles on their faces, and are so excited to come play with us and run around for an hour. When I go home, I always want to remember my trip to Sand Banks. If I’m ever mad to do a school paper, or upset about something like that, I want to think back to our trip today. I always need to be grateful for everything I have, and never take anything for granted. As long as I’m always as happy as the kids at Sand Banks, I know everything will be okay.
- Tucker Gannon 7/8/19