Ohio State men’s basketball player Micah Potter was one of 13 OSU student-athletes who went on a service trip to Costa Rica from May 2-9.
They spent most of the trip in the coastal peninsula of El Cocal, where they cleaned up parts of the local community center, treated palm trees, cleaned up more trash on the beach and built two separate shelters from wood, bamboo and palm leaves so that the locals have a place to relax and learn. The Buckeyes also used bamboo to construct soccer goals and played the local children in a match ultimately won by the home team.
On the second-to-last day of the trip, the Ohio State group was in Isla Llamas, where the Buckeyes repainted the interior and exterior of both buildings of a school that was flooded by roughly four feet of water.
Potter told reporters on Wednesday that spending a week in the Central American country made him feel grateful for the life he has in the United States.
“It really gave me perspective,” he said. “The community we were working in, it was, obviously, very underprivileged compared to America. All of the kids there, they had one school they could go to, and the school had one building, which was like a community center. All of the classes that they took were in little hand-made shacks. It was like four poles and a tin roof or a palm-leaf roof. So just being able to go there really gave me perspective to be thankful for what I have here.”
The Mentor, Ohio, native added that he was blown away by the local kids.
“It was also really cool to see how willing to help and happy to help everyone is there, including the children,” Potter said. “At one point, we were filling in this massive hole that had a bunch of trash in it, so we had to clean out the trash and all of that stuff. But then we were filling it up with palm branches and sand, and there were probably 5- to 10-year-old kids lifting 70-pound bags of sand together. They were all just helping out, and they were happy to help and had big smiles on their faces. It was fun for them. Just being able to see that really made me appreciate the human soul for that matter.”
Potter will be a junior next season for the basketball Buckeyes. In two years at OSU, Potter has appeared in 59 games, including 16 starts. He has averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game to this point in his career.
With summer workouts now in full swing, Potter said the trip to Costa Rica has reminded him to make the most of his time as an Ohio State basketball player.
“It really just makes me want to take advantage of what I have and all of the opportunities that I have,” he said. “We’ve got amazing facilities here that are available to us 24/7 compared to the kids back in El Cocal, where they have nothing. The only opportunity they get is if they have to pay for it. Obviously, for me, all of this is free. Even then, nine times out of 10 – or maybe even more than that – they can’t pay for it. So, really, it’s just for me to be able to take advantage of all of the opportunities that we’re given here at this great university and, with that, take my game to the next level.”