LARAMIE, Wyo. -
In life there are times that we go through the motions, these are the times that we as individuals need to be sprung into action to help people not as fortunate as us. This year 20 student-athletes, coaches and students from the University of Wyoming took a trip to the country of Haiti.
The trip marked the fourth consecutive May that Aaron Frude, Director of the UW Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Chapter, had coordinated a trip to aid the people of Haiti and bring sport clinics to the youth of Haiti. Frude organized the trip with the help of Lyonel Narcisse, the father of late Wyoming football student-athlete Ruben Narcisse. Much of the UW group's time was spent with the organization Love a Child, which reaches out to Haiti's most at risk youth through counseling and rural outreach programs, food distribution and medical care.
D.J May a linebacker for the Wyoming Cowboy football team said, "This past week was very impactful for me. It was very humbling to see so many people in extreme poverty, trying to rebuild a very broken country. One thing that touched me within the first hours of arriving in Haiti were all the people, children especially, who would greet me with smiling faces and a wave or thumbs up as we road past their broken city on our way to Love a Child. Also, meeting many of the orphans at Love a Child on the first day was fun too because it was the first test of patience that God put upon me this week. It was hard to communicate with the kids but we made it work and created an instant connection with the kids through soccer and football".
While in Haiti, the UW representatives learned a lot about themselves and saw things that shook them to their core.
The Wyoming missionaries helped build a malnutrition center from the ground up with help from the local Haitian construction workers. The football players also helped bring the game of American football to Haiti, meeting with the head officials of the Haitian American Football Occasion.
When asked about the trip Chase Roullier, the starting left offensive guard for the Wyoming Cowboys said, "I had the honor this year to go to Haiti for a second straight year. Just as last year, the experience was unforgettable. The trip caused me to have a whole new perspective on the world. Last year, the trip was a lot about the shock of the poverty in the country, which made me appreciate the things and people that I have in my life. This year, while this shock was still prevalent, I was able to see past this. I was able to see the beauty of the country, its people and its culture."
This annual trip that has now grown into the culture of student-athletes and the Haitian community came from one original trip in May of 2012. The original trip was taken to honor a UW freshman football player Ruben Narcisse, who was tragically killed in a car accident in the fall of 2010. Since that original trip was taken in 2012, it has now grown and evolved into an annual UW FCA trip to Port Au' Prince, Haiti.
Ruben had a passion unmatched for the youth of Haiti and his country. UW teams have partnered with Ruben's father Lyonel and churches in Haiti to provide football clinics for the youth of the area, as well as worked with the organization Love a Child.
The 20 individuals that where part of the 2015 trip included former UW football players Frude, Brian Johnson and Josh Teeter. Current football players who made this year's trip included: Chase Roullier, Tom Thornton, D.J. May, Grant Lewis and Eddie Yarbrough. The Wyoming volleyball team also donated their time to this wonderful event. The volleyball team members attending were: players Bridget Shanahan, Emily Hines and Laura Beach and team manager Olivia Crum. Coaches that attended included volleyball director of operations Elizabeth Shuyler and football graduate assistant coach Grant Olson. Wyoming wrestler Jake Elliot, as well as UW students Erica Cook, Sara Mayhall, Jeremiah Larson, Nathaniel Cheshier and Ryan Shaffer also contributed immensely to the trip.
Sarah Mayhall UW student said, "This trip has impacted me in unimaginable ways that I hope and plan to continue and reflect on in order to grow. After so many awesome messages, days of work, laughs, cries and a lot of culture shock, I know I will take away many valuable realizations."
Volleyball team manager Olivia Crum said, "This trip was absolutely amazing. I was so blessed by the Love a Child ministry, the Haitian people and my fellow Wyoming missionaries throughout my whole stay in Haiti".