...Today’s blog is written by Curt Van Inwegen
re·spire //v. re·spired, re·spir·ing, re·spires/
v. 1. to inhale and exhale air for the purpose of maintaining life; breathe. 2. to breathe freely again, as after a period of exertion, anxiety or trouble.
Here at Action Wipes, we normally think of exertion in the context of physical activity and the associated perspiration and cardio work. But after this week, we’ve added the term RESPIRE to our vocabulary and it takes on a whole new meaning.
I had the opportunity to visit Haiti this past week as part of a business trip (unrelated to Action Wipes). There are parts of Haiti that are classic Caribbean on the north side of the island and even the action sports market is showing growth, with the recent MTB Ayiti Stage Race. With the weather hot and humid in the mid-90‘s, I had packed a bunch of Action Wipes to use and handout.
We spent the majority of our time in the city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area, which is busy, dusty and home to most of the country’s destitute, living in areas of poverty so severe, that Haiti is regarded as one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. As part of this trip we had to head thru the Port-au-Prince to the town of Gressier; a roughly 24 mile trip that took us 3-1/2 hours of mind-numbing traffic and poverty. It was sad and psychologically draining.
But there are bright spots, one of which is an organization called Respire Haiti,whose mission is to “encourage, educate and empower restaveks, orphans and vulnerable children.” They currently feed over 700 children weekly, hold class for 300 students and are building what will be the only local medical clinic. It was a stirring experience to see the 180 degree difference in the people and children of Gressier and watch an impromptu soccer match on Bellevue Mountain with laughter, smiles and hope. At that moment, I gave my entire stash of Action Wipes to the founder, Megan Boudreaux. It was my way of saying “Thank you” for the inspiration and the ability to breathe freely again, with hope, that no matter what the odds, we can always do more, try harder and make a difference.