02 July 2010

The Chamarrecc Project

Wow...it's been a long three days. They have been amazing, but so packed with activities that I have crawled in to bed as soon as I could each night, desperately wanting to blog and tell you all about what we've been up to, but I could hardly stay awake through dinner. (Honestly, ask anyone on the team--I've been the grumpiest of humans during dinners this week.)

All this to say, this post is gigantic, but chock-full of pictures to keep you interested.

We began Wednesday morning at the Mavuno Church staff meeting. After taking tea and cake, we headed off to lunch and, evidently, photo shoot (because nothing says 'photo op' like a 3-restaurant mini-mart!)

Natalie, Emmanuel and Zury
Courtney and Michelle
Natalie and Kaye
Courtney and BP
Me and Ryanne
Jaya, Ryanne, Emmanuel and Natalie

Chamarrecc: Day 1
After lunch, we headed over to a local slum area behind Mavuno. In the middle of homes, small shops and the largest garbage heap I have ever seen, sits Chamarrecc Children's Centre. This small primary school would be ours for the next 36 hours. We had been told that we would replace the tin siding on two buildings (which house the classrooms), paint both the inside and outside of each classroom, and concrete one of the classroom floors. There was a lot of work to be done in little time.

This little girl welcomed us to her neighborhood
The Children's Centre: before
Pastor Kaye (from Mavuno) split the students in to two teams and they all jumped right to action. The tin siding was tricky, but not impossible to remove. Some got the hang of it faster than others.

Max and Emmanuel
We walked up right as school was closing for the day, so the grounds were filled with school children. And, of course, anytime a van filled with white people empties in to a small neighborhood, word spreads quickly and the neighborhood children come running to see what's happening. There weren't enough hammers for me, nor did I want to spend two days fixing the school without engaging with the community. I also wanted to set an example for our students--the first to jump in is always the most difficult...so I broke the ice.
The boys (and girl) doin' work: Allan, Dida, Ryanne's leg, and Preston
A giant spider (one of two we found)
Of course, karate yells ensued
Max and Dida (and Preston)
Moreen (I think she's pretending to help)
After a while, it became clear that the boys excelled at this stage of the job and many of the girls were simply getting in the way. So many of the girls joined me to play while the rest helped with small jobs when the boys allowed. Soon after, the team had found a decent day one stopping point and everyone began to play.

Freddy...he was the star of that neighborhood
The neighborhood children
Bianca (and Freddy)
Dida (in the red)
Playing Twonga Twonga
Zury and Eric
Courtney (and Freddy)
Preston spinning
Kaye inspecting Day One's work
Eric (double-gota)
Courtney and Kaye (and Freddy)
We left for home tired, but with many stories from the day. During debrief, we talked about where we had seen Jesus that day. At first, I wasn't sure how teenagers would respond to that question...it was very cool to see that not only had Jesus made Himself known to them, but they had actually seen Him. It's amazing to look at what God has done on each day of this trip.

Chamarecc: Day 2
We knew what was left to do and we arrived at the Centre ready to work. I've been on enough home-building trips to Mexico to know that, typically, at the end of the first day, there are few who stick to working while the rest sit, complain, or run around with kids. (I know, I'm totally the pot calling the kettle black.)

Our team was amazing! Kaye split them in to two new teams and they began working within five minutes of arrival. And they did not stop all day! Our leaders wandered around taking pictures and video, jumping in when we could, enforcing water breaks or sunscreen application.

What a great day!

Eric, Preston and Dida
Eric, Racheal, Zury, Angel, Michelle and Jaya
Allan, Emmanuel, Kaye, Moreen, Ryanne and Natalie
Natalie, Courtney, Michelle and Ryanne
The neighborhood kids helping out, too
Preston and Eric
Cindy, Racheal, Zury, Ryanne, Natalie, Michelle and Courtney
Moreen and Angel
BP ran in to a door frame and had a blue head
Allan worked so hard, he needed some ventilation
The finished Children's Centre
The team

Filthy and paint-covered, we said our goodbyes to the people of Chamarrecc and headed of to a special dinner at Carnivore. We had finished the project an hour ahead of schedule, so we arrived with time to spare before our reservation. Lucky for us, there was an outdoor playground.
Courtney and Eric
Jaya and Emmanuel
Allan and Dida

Finally, it was time to eat...and we were ready. Some of us more than others. Carnivore is a meat bar. You get a hot plate and a lazy susan of assorted sauces and they send out the meat. You choose what you would like and eat until you are stuffed. Once your table declares surrender, you lower the white flag on the center of your table.

Michelle and Kaye
Bring out the meat
Preston and Max said they would never stop eating...and they were partially right. They continued to eat for 30 minutes after the rest of us had finished. We finally surrendered for them.
Never give up

The van ride home was hilarious. Everyone was incredibly stuffed and I was almost asleep (so I was pretty grumpy), but the students played the pun game all the way home. The word was "beef" and my favorite was Allan's: "This Sunday, we need to play that song in Beef Flat!" Oh, I am so proud!

During debrief we shared a few of our stories and then talked about some of our weaknesses with a partner and prayed for God to be our strength. It was so fun to sit back and watch the freedom and authenticity in these week-old relationships.

Yesterday, we had an early, early morning. Breakfast at 5am for a game drive. Four jeeps and 23 people...it was a beautiful morning! We saw tons of animals (no pictures here)...after the drive, we had a lazy day. Naps, showers, swimming and the Americans taught some of the Kenyans (and one Zimbabwean) to play American football.

We also attended a Hip-Hop concert at a local High School and had a really late dinner at Pastor Grace's house...but I think those can be shared in another post.

Ready for the morning game drive:
Allan, Angel, Max and Moreen

More to come...because, wow, is God at work in this team!


Julie Hibbard said...

Amazing! Incredible! Unbelievable! I LOVE being part of this trip with you and the team!! :)

PETE Di LALLO said...

Beef for I say anything just know that I loved this latest epic post...the longer the better works well...
your photos are outstanding...
when will you have results of your interview Friday?

Mahadev Patil said...

Just wonderful, the only thing is, one has to experience it, the real satisfaction.

Amy O. said...

hello, my name is Amy and i think its incredible how God is using you and your team to reach out to fellow Kenyans. Be blessed