I have to confess.  I’ve always thought that tennis is pretty bougie.  The preponderance of cable knit sweaters at the US open only confirmed my suspicions.

As a kid I never any real desire to play – prancing around in a tiny white skirt just wasn’t my thing.

Fast forward a few years to 2011. When I first arrive at Villa Creole in Haiti, the hotel had signs everywhere for a tennis court out back.  One day my friend Cristina and I followed signs to find a refugee camp where the courts once were.  After the earthquake, nearby residents who had lost their homes had relocated to any open space available, including the courts.

By mid-2012, the people living in the courts had been relocated to shelters in the hills behind them (this kills me - that people call their homes shelters, and that it is the appropriate thing to call them).  The courts had reopened, and one of the men who had lived on the courts had taken them over.  His name is Wilnes, and he also offers lessons.  Cristina happily started to play when she would come, and highly recommended them to me.  At first, I politely declined.  The thought of staying at a fancy hotel and playing tennis while in Haiti was just too much for me. But then, on my last trip, after nights and nights sitting in from of my computer and avoiding the treadmill, I needed physical activity and social interaction.  I caved, and took a lesson.

To my surprise, it was really fun, and just what I needed. For someone who absolutely loathes working out, it is really perfect for me – just social enough, outside, and requires enough attention that I don’t get bored out of my  mind while I am doing it, as I would on a treadmill or the elliptical.  Don’t get me wrong: I still haven’t gotten over my squeamishness about the preppiness of the sport, and probably won’t be wearing a little white skirt any time soon.  But for now, I am happy to have found something fun to do to pass the time while I am here.

Wilnes' shelter.

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