Friday, May 29, 2009

Week 9- Farm Camp

Namibia has year-round school, with “holidays” (or school breaks) in May, August, and December-January. I was envisioning life slowing down a bit, but this has been our busiest month so far! Between visiting Swakopmund, having a “stay-awake” (or lock-in) with the youth group, mini-camp at the youth center, and farewell activities for Britt, we’ve stayed busy. This week continued the chaos.

On Sunday we had our weekly team meeting, and it was also a farewell party for Britt. She did praise songs by request, and it was a sweet time of fellowship. Catherine’s boyfriend, Matthew, is here from the UK for a week, so he joined us, and then her former host family also came over, so it was a party. Here’s the crazy part: as her former host mom and I were discussing people’s misconceptions of Namibia, I happened to mention the Man vs. Wild story, and it turns out that Bear Grilis, the star of the show, attends his (rather large) church at home. Small world, huh?

On Monday I started my new job at Hope’s Promise, and we found out we will be moving to live with a new host family. It was a dramatic way to start the week. Working with Hope’s Promise is a wonderful opportunity for me, because I am able to serve God using my specific gifting and training, which doesn’t always happen in missions. We are also excited for the opportunity of living with another host family. We love our current host family very much, but our new home will be a better fit for us in terms of location and privacy.

Monday and Tuesday were also filled with a frenzy of packing all our belongings, because on Wednesday we were off to farm camp! Since we were gone from Wed.-Sun., we had to both pack for the camp and be ready to move the morning after we got back. Josh took the lead on this project and did an amazing job of getting things prepared.

Farm camp was with the youth group at our church ESK, and it was a wonderful experience. During each of the three school holidays, the youth group does some sort of outreach project, and this time it was doing one-day kids camps at each of three farms. “Farm” here does not mean the same thing it does in the U.S.; here it is more like a small rural town with up to a couple hundred homes on a large piece of land. There are usually some stores, and at least one church and school.

Our transportation was a little different than what it may have been at home:

As you can see, the majority of the 30 or so youth sat or stood in the beds of trucks for the 100 km to our destination. We stayed at Omamas, the farm where the youth leader grew up. His mother was a such a hospitable person, graciously allowing 40 people to camp out at her home for 4 nights. They family raises goats and chickens, and they were certain to wake us up bright and early every morning.

The youth all slept outside on the front porch (on mattresses borrowed from the local hostel, which is on holiday), and for some of them this was a big deal, because they’ve never done it before. There is no electricity, and the water is sparing, so we mostly used the outhouse for a bathroom (another first for some). Josh was excited because he got to see an animal slaughter for the first time (a goat), and he even ate goat head and intestine-yum!

This is the sunrise on our first morning, taken from the front porch.

Laundry drying on the line; we haven’t seen a clothes dryer in Africa yet.

The ruins of a neighboring house

We had a sprinkling of rain during the sunrise, and this rainbow appeared over the neighboring site

We drove to a neighboring farm for our first day, and started out with no kids (which is problematic for a kids camp). We decided to walk the streets to scrounge up interest. As soon as we told parents “free lunch,” they were sold. Eventually, we had maybe 100 kids.

This is one of the homes on the farm

During the camp, we did songs, games, and sports, and fed the kids lunch. Each child received a butter and jelly sandwich and “cool drink,” which is basically colored sugar-water. All leaders ate the same. In the afternoon, we did an “Olympics” with relays, netball, and soccer.

Spectators sat on halfway-buried tires

The boys played soccer, and girls played netball. We haven’t witnessed any co-ed sports in Namibia.

The sky looked amazing.

The second day began much like the first, with a beautiful sunrise, praise music blaring from a truck (at 5:30 am!), and the little boys making a fire.

This time, we went to Schlip, another farm south of Omamas.

This free-roaming bull sat down in the middle of the only driveway to the school…thankfully, that was after we drove in!

I became very excited when I found out that their school only goes up to grade 10 and that all students go to Rehoboth High School for grades 11 and 12, because that meant there was a good chance that at least one of my Bible study girls was from Schlip. Indeed, one of them is, but unfortunately she was in Windhoek!

There were fewer kids at our camp in Schlip, but we still made the most of it. The highlight of the day was when some guys from the farm challenged the guys from our group too a game of soccer, and our boys won!

Here’s part of our cheering section.

During the game, some of the local kids tried to teach me Namatal, and tried to imitate my English. We had a lot of laughs!

The last day was pretty low-key: we had very few kids show up, so we had a shorter camp than usual and called it a day. Everyone was really tired, so it was probably for the best. There was a lot of time to just hang out, relax, and bond, which was a huge blessing. I set up shop tweezing eyebrows (per request) with the only tweezers I could find- a horrible round-tipped pair Steve lent me- but the “customers” still left happy. Josh built fires for the braai (barbeque) grills. It was so nice to have a quiet, peaceful evening- a perfect end to a great experience.

Prayer Requests:

1. A smooth transition home for Brittany
2. That we would be able to adapt well and quickly to our new living situation
3. Community involvement in the youth center
4. God’s guidance and provision in setting up a counseling program with
Hope’s Promise


Post a Comment