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by Skal Labissiere
Kings Forward

Do you ever think about what you miss the most in life?

I have. Every single day since the earthquake hit.

It was a simple life in Haiti, but one I loved.

I fell in love with basketball here, I made my first friends here and the best memories in my life took place here.

I thought the day before yesterday was unbelievable, but last night surpassed even that. I don't even think there's a word to summarize what it was.

After seeing my friends for the first time since 2010, being reunited with everyone at my old high school and having a memorable Day 2 of Camp S.K.A.L, I went home.

Well, where my home used to be.

As soon as I got out of the car, it felt like scenes out of a movie about my life. Everything felt the same, when at the same time, so much has changed.

The house I grew up in has been rebuilt and the hoop I pleaded with my dad to get is no more.

But many of the people who didn't pass away during the earthquake are still around.

And man, seeing them was amazing.

I saw the man who helped save my life on the day the earthquake hit.

When I was buried under the rubble, he helped my dad dig and dig until I was rescued. For the first time since I left, I saw him. And neighbors around the block. Old friends. Elders.

The streets looked similar, the neighborhood felt the same and even the gate to our old house was still around.

That visit and being able to reunite with old friends was incredible. Not only that, but I watched some really competitive basketball at Camp S.K.A.L.

Some of the campers were pretty young, but they proved they could play. My trainer, Packie, saw a few kids playing outdoors and hand-picked them to join the camp.

A couple had yet to reach their teens and were four-foot-something, but they stood tall alongside the older kids.

Others are sleeping at friends’ houses that are miles and miles from their homes so they get a chance to learn and play at the camp. That's the kind of love for the game I grew up with. Basketball is universal and these kids love the game.

It's hard to find a word to describe what all of yesterday was; there's nothing in any language that can describe the feeling of returning to where you belong and reliving the memories that you've dreamed of.

Home is where we all belong, and when you're away for as long as I've been, that feeling of joy returning is unlike anything else in life.

Growing up, Haiti always used to feel like yesterday.

So I guess I did find a word to define the day...

Yesterday felt like home.

With God's blessing, I hope to return every summer.

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