|Sport without borders is universal for Charlotte soccer’s Clower|
|Mission to Haiti opens new doors|
|Published Sunday, September 16, 2018 6:00 pm|
Helping others is something senior Amelia Clower has grown up doing.
All throughout her childhood, her family would travel to Honduras and help put on a free medical clinic. In January, Clower had a different experience when she went on a trip of her own to Haiti with the non-profit Filter of Hope.
“Every time I went to Honduras I was with my family, so I would just play with the kids. This one was different because I made really solid relationships with the adults there,” Clower said.
Different groups affiliated with Filter of Hope take trips to three countries throughout the year, distributing filters that create safe drinking water. Their main focus is on rural areas of these countries that don’t get much attention.
“A lot of companies will go out there and spend 50 grand and install a water filter system, but then there’s no upkeep with it so people don’t know how to work it and they ruin it. So, we did family-by-family distributing these and teaching them how to use it,” Clower said.
Each day of the trip, the group would set out to the top of a mountain, distributing filters along the walk.
“You could distribute 35 in one day with your group of five people, or you could stick with one family the entire day,” Clower said. “The last day we were there we had a really close relationship with this one family, so we didn’t distribute as much as we planned that day. Building relationships is way more important, that’s why we go in the first place.”
Though she had the background of taking trips like this one before, the work she was doing this time felt more personal to Clower.
“The main difference between Honduras was we would just set up shop and they would come to us. We literally were inserting ourselves into their homes and no one questioned it,” Clower said.
Clower found that when she was in a foreign place, a game close to her heart made it feel more like home.
“Every day after we were done working we would have a trail of like 35 kids from the first village we would go to and they would just follow us up to the top of the mountain and insert themselves into every single home,” Clower said. “By the end we would walk back down the mountain and be waiting for the other groups. We would start playing this huge game, kids would come out of literally everywhere and see that we were playing soccer and just start screaming and yelling and coming down to this huge field.”
While she wasn’t fluent in Creole, the main language in Haiti, Clower found herself using the universal language: sports.
“My arm was covered in Haitian sayings, Creole words, Creole sayings. But as soon as we started playing soccer I didn’t have to worry about any of that because we would just start playing and it was like its own little language which was so cool,” Clower said.
Though she left her new friends months ago, Clower said when she steps on to the field this season, she is going to “think about their faces lighting up every time they get to do something like that.”
“It’s just pure joy and I don’t want to get too caught up in the other stuff because it’s my last time playing soccer ever,” Clower said. “I want it to be super joyful every time I go on the field because it’s a total privilege and I don’t want to take it for granted.”
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