After much training and preparation our five representatives for the Palm Beach Special Olympics were on the plane for the flight to Fort Lauderdale. The smiles were big with pride as they took their seats, they could not wait for the take off. We were very lucky to be accompanied by their coach Guerdes, Rony his assistant and an ex-pequeños of Kay St. Hélène, and Carmelle, Gena’s amazing assistant at Kay Christine, our special needs home.
Mme Romy Tschudi, who chose the team and on whose horses the children train every Wednesday at Chateau Blond welcomed the children and staff with open arms once we landed. Kristy Fuego from our NPH USA Miami office awaited us with hugs too. The children were chosen from 50 special needs riders from Kay St. Hélène and from 30 riders at the Kay St. Germaine Special Needs school in Tabarre.
Darlene Milord from Kay Christine was chosen as the Ambassador of the trip. This trip was Darlene’s 9th time to represent her country and children and adults with special needs. Throughout the trip she was amazing, with her smiles, politeness and the way in which she embraced Daisy* from Kay St. Germaine as her little sister. She was always by her side, guiding and caring.
Everywhere Renald* went during the trip, his big smile melted the hearts of the staff, participants and the volunteers from Romy’s barn and from Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Centre. Winning 2nd prize in both his competitions with ‘Papa Rony’ being an amazing support to him.
Steevenson* and Philipson* from Kay St. Hélène Orphanage rode extremely well in their competitions. In dressage, Steevenson won 1st prize and Philipson came 2nd. In the trail riding competition Philipson rode home in 1st place and Steevenson in 2nd. What an achievement for two boys who are only in their second year of riding.
Darlene won 1st prize in dressage and 4th in trail riding. All of the volunteers and riders remember Darlene fondly from previous visits, especially Gracie who trained with our children on the first day of the trip and on previous trips.
Daisy with her big smiles and hugs won 1st prizes in both her competitions.
One of the highlights of the trip was feeding the giraffes at Lion Country Park, organized by Kristy. A big thank you to the staff of the park and to Kristy! Of course, big thank you to Vinceremos, IEC Wellington, Royal Inn and Romy and her team!
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Contributed by Jacinta McGuane, NPH Haiti Volunteer