The civil side of Cricket World Cup 2007 - Hope for CWC By Edison Jefford
Stabroek News
April 5, 2007

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MELLO HOPE! Mello strikes a pose with the part of the contingent from Hope Children's Home. Director of the home, Samantha Finlayson sit at left (second row) while Abby Blaisdell sit at left behind Finlayson at the Providence Stadium. (Curtis DeBruhl phot

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2007 Cricket World Cup (CWC) mascot, Mello made the lives of 15 children from the Hope Children's Home in Enmore more special on Tuesday with his presence.

No! Mello did not visit the Children's Home; the children were at the fourth Super Eight match between South Africa and Ireland on Tuesday at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

Mello along with the Civil Affairs Department of the United States Embassy in Georgetown brought 'hope' to the children of the home by entertaining and encouraging them during the match.

Civil Affairs officer from the US Embassy, Curtis DeBruhl told Stabroek Sport that many of the children will never see a World Cup match in Guyana again for a long time, so the programme was geared at giving them 'a lifetime' opportunity.

"The big purpose was that we know it's a big moment for Guyana and the Caribbean, it will never probably happen again in a long, long time, we didn't want to miss out on this historic moment," DeBruhl said.

DeBruhl, a Sergeant First Class in the United States army along with colleague Abby Blaisdell, a Staff Sergeant overlooked the project under the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) of the Embassy.

The HAP team raised funds via donations from citizens within the Enmore community to purchase the match tickets for the 15 children and their chaperones. The programme was coordinated through the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) planning committee.

Director of the Hope Children's Home, Samantha Finlayson, as well as local Peace Corps volunteers were among the entire team that took responsibility as chaperones for the children at the CWC match.

"When the plan to sponsor underprivileged children was explained to the CWC planning committee, they were more than willing to accommodate for the amount of tickets needed to cover the large group," DeBruhl recalled.

The only stipulation was that an effective plan be organised to facilitate and manage the children at the match. DeBruhl and Blaisdell said that they are pleased that the programme had come to fruition.

"It has the potential to give these children a brighter outlook for the future. Today they are just children, but tomorrow they may be the leaders of this country," they said.

DeBruhl indicated that the backgrounds of some of the children motivated them to do something special for the 'kids'. He said that some of them came from abusive homes with parents who are drug addicts and so on.

Asked if the Embassy's work with the children will end at the World Cup, DeBruhl said 'certainly not'. According to DeBruhl the children will benefit from a US naval hospital ship expected in Guyana in September.

"A lot of the children have medical needs, they will benefit from the USS Comfort - a US naval hospital ship coming to Guyana in September," the Civil Affairs officer said, adding that they will benefit from surgeries and dental work.

The HAP Team works to bring people and organizations within communities together in an effort to forge the friendships and bonds that enable them to work together towards developing a stable and sustainable future for the community and the country.

DeBruhl said that he would like to especially thank Delroy Taylor for helping with the match tickets. Taylor has extended his gratitude to allow the children to see Saturday's and Monday's matches in Guyana.