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The mission trip was a success and it's amazing to be home. If I had to sum up the trip in a single sentence, it would go something like this: The people were amazing, the conditions were bad and the kids had smiles and hope in their eyes ~ and our group made a lot of people happy during our stay, but the work has only begun. We were able to start getting things moving in the right direction but there is still a long way to go. While on the trip I was able to befriend of number of people that will surely be friends for many years to come. I'll attempt to do a breakdown of the trip with photo's and as always you can check out the A2S blog here for their postings of the trip as well.
We visited the IDP camp just outside of Benin City. This camp is home to hundred of broken families that previously lived in the northeast where Boko Haram is now a stronghold. We delivered food, medicine, soccer balls and small gifts for the kids, toured the camp and listened to stories from surviving members of displaced families.
Day 2 & 3
We had a busy couple days hosting 2 clinics at the same time. One was for local teachers that covered new teaching methods as well as offering a networking opportunity between one another. We had Bob McKillop from Davidson College host a coaches clinic that involved 60 plus coaches from the local region. At the end of day 2 we opened up the newly renovated basketball court and invited a large number of kids that attended the previous weeks basketball camp.
Day 4 & 5
Access 2 Success held their 1st annual Entrepreneur Incubator Program where we received over 76 business plans and the group whittled it down to 10. Over a two day period we listened to pitches and judged the groups til we identified 3 businesses we were willing to help start up. For those who didn't win we still offered mentoring opportunities with A2S and the feedback was amazing. All the groups were extremely supportive of one another they did a great job under the pressure and the celebrations of the winning teams was something special to see.
Day 6, 7 & 8
Community Outreach programs were done throughout the week which included the Vacation Bible School hosted at the A2S After School Academy, visiting local schools, Cultural Day and visiting homes in the neighborhood while handing out gifts to kids.
ColorID's ID Printer System
ColorID was able to set up a new ID System at the After School Academy so all 250+ students have an ID. The importance of having a visual ID here was very apparent. For example when we were handing out backpacks to all the students, non-students were finding their way inside the school and stating they were students when in fact they were not. The visual ID would deter this from occurring again as staff and teachers would be able to easily verify the photo on the ID. A2S has plans to issue ID's at next years basketball camp as well to help with the registration process at the beginning of camp. Overall the system was a huge success and the kids loved their ID's. Thanks to our friends at Brady People ID and HID for donating items toward the ID System at the A2S After School Academy!
There were a number of things that made this trip extremely special and rewarding. Appreciating what exactly we have here stateside, getting to know the locals as well as seeing the joy and happiness in the kids eyes first hand. The main takeaways from the trip is that we have a lot of work to do in order to assist and aid others so they too can get to appreciate the things we take for granted on a daily basis. If you'd like to extend a helping hand, please visit A2S Foundation to learn more/donate today.