Nothing too eventful happened at camp today. Cheslen held their attention pretty well in big group, but he was speaking in africaans an we had no idea what he was saying so it made doing the small group interesting, but the kids just weren’t very receptive to the message today.
After camp we prayer walked for about 20 minutes around the school. Then we ate kfc in the school parking lot. Yum. ( pretty much all the food we’ve had on this trip has been fried. I’m dying a little bit.)
We then got on the buses and drove to the nice part if cape town. I saw one of the football stadiums from the world cup and we went up to table mountain. It turned out to be a really nice day (warmish) and the views were breath taking. After spending about 2 hours up there we went to spigal hill and watched the sunset with hot chocolate.
Today was wonderful because we weren’t too busy. Four more days until we fly out.
Second day of VBS was interesting.. I dont think we held the kids attention as well as we did the first day, there was a lot of running around and yelling in africaans and not a lot of listening to myself or Carson about our lesson. It held off from raining until all the groups had finished rec outside (it was freezing, and very very windy, its so sad that some of these kids have no winter clothes heart wrenching) BUT Hopefully tomorrow goes better.
this afternoon since it was raining we went to the largest mall in south Africa or maybe even Africa (I don’t remember which) I felt like I was I’m America. Most shops were well known but I didn’t buy anything from them ($$$$) instead I bought a fleece so I won’t be cold on the safari (R139, $17.50). Beside it being an awesome price it was orange, double bonus!!!
*Side note, the exchange rate here is great for the USA 1 us dollar = 8 rand*
I can’t believe it’s already been a week over here! It’s gone by pretty fast. Today was our first day of VBS and it was great and things went pretty smoothly. I have 10 kids at the moment ages 8-11 (i think that’s 2/3 grades) and they are really sweet and fun to love on, so I can already tell it’s going to be a fun week! Since not all of the children came today (we had ~350 and were expecting 500) we might be getting some more kids Tomorrow.
Today’s lesson was about gods creation and Noah. And they new everything. Total rock stars.
Other than VBS the day was pretty uneventful, tomorrow we are going to be going to table mountain if the weather is nice, if not we are going shopping!!
Also Justin if you are reading this… I haven’t seen any jerseys, sorro!
We went to church this morning at delft baptist, the service was very enjoyable but very long (2.5 hours) then we ate lunch with a few people from the church.
I discovered today that I don’t enjoy creme soda. Yuck
We then went to the school were VBS is going to be at and swept up the place and arranged desks and the such to be ready for tomorrow. The school wasn’t like I expected it to be. They had white boards in most classrooms and projectors in some as well. The desks were combined so there are two children per desk. The school itself is very dirty. Dirt and dust are everywhere, and no amount of sweeping seems to help. Since there isn’t grass outside they just end up dragging more of it inside, and I think the custodians have just given up.
After set up was done, we headed back to our home and started the kong process of packing the kids backpacks we will give them tomorrow, they will get a coloring book, crayons, pencil ruler packet thing and a track telling them all about delft church. There are going to be 500 children at VBS and I will have 2/3rd graders, Mountain group 8!
After that we went to another church service at west bank baptist. I really enjoy their church, the people are so nice and welcoming and you just feel like you’re apart of a big family.
We didn’t have dinner until 9 tonight.. But it ws worth the wait. Deliciousness.
The mornings are getting earlier and earlier. And right now it would be great to be able to just take another 30 minute nap or so.
We started the day off at training at delf church, and then walked over to the school, met with who we are going to be working with for the week for VBS and looked at the lesson plans.
This afternoon was super emotionally draining. We went to the camp grounds which Is the poorest area around where we are staying and had a mini block party for the kids. We had bounce houses for them to jump in, a bible story and songs, some arts and crafts and then dinner.
It was heartbreaking to see that many of the children didn’t have proper clothes for winter nor did they have any shoes, and this afternoon the wind started to pick up and they were all just shivering. The most you could do was hold them close and try to keep them warm. After they finished eating we sent them home with a goody bag of crayons/coloring book, soap, toothbrush, washcloth, information about their local church and a few treats. We then went by each house in the neighborhood and gave them a food parcel.
The houses were made up of scrap sheet metal, trash bags/other fabrics, card board, it was pretty much a tent city of sorts. They have some electricity, but not much, no floors, and there is no running water/plumbing. I’m really not sure how they stay warm at night since it’s not feasible to have a fire inside the house. If the housing was the only problem, I’m sure life wouldn’t be as bad but these neighborhoods are subject to gang violence, drug& alcohol abuse, little to no income, hunger, theft and sexual assault.
From the few hours that I got to spend with the children, we didn’t get to learn much about them aside from their names. But it was interesting to see that this culture (like many others I’m sure) doesn’t value their children. They see them more as an economic expense/ another mouth to feed, whereas in America we believe that children bring joy into your life.. It was hard to watch/understand how these parents cared so little for them. For example, we were passing out rice and a stew (meat,veggies, potatoes) to everyone and a mother used her child to go get food, and then once he did, it was taken away from him and she ate it.
Even through all of what they go through on a daily basis, the kids still have so much joy and love in them, and it was very overwhelming.Today was truly a humbling experience, and I know now exactly what I have ti be thankful for.
We started the day bright and early. Had a small breakfast and then were on our way to one of the churches, specifically west bank baptist. We stopped by saw their old church that we built and then looked at where they were now holding their services because they had outgrown the other place.(PTL!) we then left and headed over to delf baptist church, looked around chatted with pastor mark Anthony and then headed to the school where VBS is going to be held next week. Upon our arrival all of the “learners” as they refer to students were leaving for the day (~10am) because it was the last day of class and they had Holliday for three weeks. (schools in south Africa are year round much like in London).
After this we had an hour break at the mall for lunch. The mall was very much like what an American mall is and had some interesting fashions. I learned that like the US cape town also has beiber fever lols. My family ate at a place called whimpys (burger joint) tasted good until 2 hours later I became violently ill. More on that later…
We hosted a block party for a few hundred kids (it was crazy!!!) they had a period of worship, arts and crafts, and sports/recreation. We also fed them and then sent them home with a goody bag. The purpose of the block parties is to engage neighborhood kids with the church and try to make new relationships with the families, so that hopefully more people will be lead to know Christ and that the church can help with the needs of those in the surrounding towns.
In the midst of the block party I was Ill, there were no clean/decent restrooms, so I had to suck it up and wait it out until the kids left and we could go back to the college (where we are staying) to get some meds. Good news is I’m feeling much better now.
Upon arriving back at “home” we were greed by the west bank church cooking for us. They made scoot, which is a type of fish that is in abuddance in the winter time. It was delicious! After dinner we headed over to their church for a youth worship night. There were soooo many kids there that just have such a passion for Jesus. And the way they worship is so different from us. Lots of dancing and singing and running around the room. I’ll have to post a video so you can understand.
The night was followed up by a rousing game of cards, and now bed.
I actually slept through the whole night, but I’m still rather tired it’s almost 8 am here so it’s 1 am at home. Since we didn’t have a phone charger I wasn’t able to text Sean and let him know that we arrived safely, there’s also no Internet here at the school so I can’t send a message over Facebook or twitter. I also can’t check the weather for the day. All I know is that it’s currently cold outside, so here’s hoping that I can some how dress appropriately.
We started off the day at someones house for breakfast (they made us eggs some sort od sausage, bacon, and two dishes that are native to south Africa) then we drove to a church where we set up food supplies that we are going to give out to the people that live on the camp grounds (I think this is just a nice way of saying shanty town, but I won’t know until we go and pass the food out) there was a childrens day care there and upon our arrival they sang to us. It was the sweetest thing ever, these children were beyond precious and the fact that they were singing about building their houses upon a rock was even cuter. We then went to make the food bags. their pastor said that most of the children that live on the camp grounds are lucky if they get two meals a week and that the food we give them will feed a family for two weeks. So that’s really heartbreaking.
After finishing up there we went to the cape of good hope. I saw baboons, ostriches and some sort of deer elk thing. We walked all about and the such. The went went shopping at local street vendors, I got a necklace and learned that I’m terrible at bargaining. After that we drove around for like 2 hours trying to locate the restaurant we had reservations at. It was a buffet type of deal and very tasty.
From DC we flew to Dakar, Senegal. That flight took 8 hours and then we flew from there to johanasberg which was another 8 hours and then we flew into Cape town which was a 2 hour flight. So a total of 20 hours of flying plus lay overs I slept about 10/12 hours of the travels. Watched one movie and was up for meals. I’m a professional sleeper.
Once we got off the plane and got all of our bags we were greeted by some of the westbank church members. Y’all it was AWESOME!!! there had to have been like 40-50 people and they were so excited to see us. They had a banner and were singing and it was so cool. From there we took a short bus ride to the school we are staying at. It’s pretty much a boarding school for student (high school) athletes. It’s gated so no one from the surrounding community can get it (safety first) and was nothing that i expected.
I have my own room and it looks like a mini college dorm room. There is no heat, so we picked up a mini heater. And the plug converter is missing a piece so we can’t charge anything. (Major bummer.)
Needless to say I’m super tired and I’m not really sure what day or time it is.
But I’m excited for what tomorrow brings… Sightseeing! Were headed to table rock, or at least that’s what I think it’s called.
More to come tomorrow.
Okay, so please excuse any typos and the such that might occur,as I am now blogging from my iPad from now on and I didn’t bring my keyboard because I’m an idiot.
So day 1
Got up at 6:15 am (blehhhh, I didn’t sleep well last night because it was 800 degrees in my room and I was watching gossip girl, excuses excuses I know. But I got around 3.5 hours of sleep.) got to the Atlanta airport around 9. Had to go through security twice, I guess the guy really wanted to check me out again through that fancy machine of his. Really I think that confused them by taking my passport into the machine. We sat (all 23 of us) at the gate until 11, then boarded the plane and were off to DC. Two hours later we landed and now have a lay over until 5. Thats when the long flight starts. 17 hours. Woooohoooo.
More to come later
Loading up the car to go to the airport.
Excited! but not about this plane ride.
More when I land.