USC quarterback Matt Barkley traveled to South Africa, Nigeria and Mexico on humanitarian relief trips, but the devastation he witnessed in Haiti still surprised him.
Barkley and 15 other Trojans football players returned to Los Angeles last week after building four houses and moving relief supplies to villagers still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.
"What we saw in Haiti was worse than anything I'd seen before in Africa and other places," he said Tuesday.
The trip humbled Barkley, as it did others.
Barkley recounted one young man working out calculus equations on a beat-up blackboard under a tree. Barkley cannot speak French or Creole but commands a working knowledge of a second language.
"We ended up talking for two hours," he said, "in Spanish."
Without computers or cellphones to connect with the rest of the world, the Trojans spent their evenings talking and telling stories. Those conversations, after working side-by-side during the day to help others, helped the Trojans bond, Barkley said.
"You do kind of a get a sense of a guy's character," he said. "It's cool to kind of build even more of a sense of a teammate."