Every day seemed to get better. The days began before dawn for the kids – mostly because they woke up then. No surprise considering their sleeping arrangements. The 253 kids ‘camped out’ in the bible school dorm – 2 floors. They brought mats from home to sleep on. I brought some of the team members to see the kids in their sleeping quarters the first night. Quite a site it was. Actually, it was a bit scary at first. Since it was the first night, and the captains were busy chatting among themselves after the evening meeting – much to my dismay I might add. ‘Their’ kids were basically running in circles in the large open room. What was funny, however, was the sleeping little girl. She was curled up in a ball on the cement floor, her flip-flops posing as her pillow. Kids were shouting and running circles around her and she was sound asleep. Reminded me of the village lives these kids lead. Since most of them live in 1 or maybe 2 room mud and thatch houses with their entire family, they would naturally learn to sleep through about anything. Before we left for the night, we rectified the situation by getting the captains to where they needed to be.
After ‘baths’ and breakfast, was the morning meeting complete with drama and puppets. The singing was great. Each team had a ‘chant’ they would say as they marched into the church, team by team. Trae was the puppet team and might I add, did an incredible job. He’s got a great puppet voice and amazing way of connecting with all 253 kids from behind a puppet curtain. And he did it all with his arm in a sling. He had a couple guys helping him out when they would sing. His involvement reminded me again how much we will miss him when he goes to university next year. I don’t really want to talk about that just now…
After the morning meeting, the teams would meet with their captains to review lessons and practice the memory verses. Tanika tried so hard with her 18 little girls, to get them to say their memory verses in unison. It was very cute to watch. Even though she was frustrated that they couldn’t seem to do it, they will certainly remember the time she spent with them! We had a running contest between teams for the week where the kids earned points for team behavior, memory verses, cleanup, games, etc. After team time, we had game time. This took great organization but was a blast. We had 4 game stations going on at the same time, and these were rotated. Our ministry team brought great supplies, including wooden eggs/spoons, potato sacks, a huge parachute and lots of other stuff. They also did an impromptu session of the limbo, which ended up being a favorite. That, tug-o-war, and tag were by far the favorites. The simplest things…
After games was lunch – and I must give kudos to our cooks, who came in from the villages to volunteer- every meal was on time. You may not know it, but that’s a huge deal! Lunch was served by lining the kids up single file. They would come through the line and be handed their food in a plastic bowl. They would find a place to eat and proceed to do so using their right hand – we had a silverware free zone, which really cut down on clean-up. Tobi actually prefers eating this type of food minus silverware. After lunch was ‘rest’ time. Yeah, right. After their forced rest, we provided an afternoon snack. I should add here that Team Capital Life brought the entire budget (which is a small fortune) for the camp and in addition brought all the game supplies and prizes. They also wanted to do something special for all the kids so we had a flip-flop day. A flip-flop guy came to the church and we sized every kid with their own brand new pair. We learned then that though these kids are little, their feet, well… are not. Oh, the team also brought t-shirts for every kid and captain, all of us really, that said ‘Camp Empower – raising up a generation of tomorrow’s leaders.’ Vie Abondante & Captial Life church June 2008 was also printed, with a screen print of Africa. We got a great group picture and the kids LOVED their shirts! The snacks we either a mango or a Solani. Solani is drinkable yogurt in plastic bags. You just bite of the corner of the bag and drink. These special treats for the kids were just that- very special for them.
After snack time we did our craft – which was putting together and decorating a small square wooden stool/bench. There was one for each child and they will be very useful in their homes. It was here we learned that fabric markers work great on wood – even rough wood. Following snack time was another round of games before dinner. After dinner clean-up we had our evening meeting where we talked about the day and our team ministered to the kids. More singing, puppets and fun.
Each day followed the same schedule, and by the time Friday arrived, though everyone was feeling exhausted…from the youngest child to the oldest adult, we were all sad that it was coming to a close. I was trying to get our team back to the guest house for lunch after our final meeting, but none of them wanted to leave the kids. They all wanted to stay and see the kids off – in those same vehicles that they came on! Each child was going home with a prize, a new pair of flip-flops and a bench (these had to be piled on top of the trucks). They were also going home with great memories and the assurance that God loves them and has a great plan for their lives.
These kids are the future of this nation – the seed. The future is bright.