10 July 2011

The First Of Two Days Our Van Was Stuck In The Mud

Initially, we were meant to spend our entire Wednesday in an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Camp, but when we found out that the visit would only take the afternoon, we happily arranged a third and final team visit to Oasis of Hope.

Many of our team members had fallen in love, each with a specific child from Oasis. They cheered when they heard we were returning the next morning. Several had gifts to bring to their special kid.

Connor brought a new shirtBP was ready for another football match
The rest of the team began a HUGE circle of games. (Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; Twonga, Twonga; and a Swahili game that may have been called Malia Ngombe: striped cow)
P.I.G and Etau jumped out of the football game to dance in the middle with Ryanne

And, of course, we took hundreds of pictures

Lohman and his protein-packed snack (termites)

After break, the American students went in to teach in the classrooms (no small feat, considering it's difficult to corral 50 kindergartners even when you speak the same language!) while the Kenyan students interviewed the newer kids to help compile the profiles.
I interrupted to take a picture with Sammy, because, have you seen these dimples?

The older Oasis kids have written and recorded a few songs. (I'm hoping to bring home a CD--and one for you, too, Lydia!) They spent the afternoon rehearsing one that was written by P.I.G and Etau (two of my favorites!)

We headed back to the Kitale Club for lunch (grilled cheese and french fries--yum!) and relaxed for about twenty minutes as we waited to depart for Bosnia. Formerly an IDP camp begun as a response to the 1992 tribal clashes in Mt. Elgon, it became a permanent community shortly thereafter. I had visited with Pastor Steve when I moved here in 2008, but hadn't been back since.

I casually mentioned to BP, when we loaded in the bus, that the last time we were in Bosnia, the vans got stuck in the mud and we had to walk the rest of the way, carrying the gifts we'd brought. He laughed and said, "What if that happens today?" and we just went on.

Fast forward 30 minutes and our bus was stuck in the mud. I mean, really stuck. As in, everybody-out-of-the-car-climb-through-the-driver's-door-boys-take-off-your-socks-and-shoes-and-get-ready-to-push stuck.

The boys pushed...and pushed...and rocked the van...and waded through mud...and yelled instructions at one another.

While the girls laughed...and took photos...and took bets on which boy would fall in the mud first. (Turns out, we guessed correctly: Tyler and Connor walked away pretty filthy.)

Finally, the man who lived in the home near where we were stuck, ran to his house to get a machete and some wooden planks. Somehow, those three tools got us out of the mud.

And yet, our driver wasn't interested in trying his luck on the next road...so, once again, we piled the gifts on our heads and wandered in to the camp.
The community (or those that were around--others had gone to work on a farm for the day) gathered in the church as we introduced ourselves and presented our gifts (again, never arrive empty-handed). We had brought a small bag of salt for each family, which, at first, seemed meaningless...of all of the things to bring: salt?

But then Christine explained. There are only a few families that are chosen to work on the farm each day, so they load up in the back of a lorry (a large truck) and head to the farms where they pick crops row-by-row. Most of the time, they receive ten shillings per row and they are not allowed to pick more than ten rows in a day. For those of you who have trouble with Math, that is 100 shillings per day. (At the current exchange rate, that's about $1.10) The bags of salt that we purchased for each of the 135 families in the Bosnia community cost around 96 shillings each. So, we gave them salt--worth an entire day's labor--something we really didn't know, but are so happy to have provided.

Bryan prayed over the community
The children sang a song for us
and then we gave out the bags of salt
We went outside to take a photo of our team, with the community and then break in to groups to visit homes and pray over families.

This woman was insistent that BP come to her house

The two homes we visited:

This girl thought Cindy was her long-lost sister from Bungoma. Cindy was caught off-guard, but then realized that it couldn't be true, since she'd never been to Bungoma.
This is Rosaline. She and I have a photo together from 2008, so we had to take another! Isn't she beautiful?
As we waited for the other groups to return, Nikki started a game of ring-around-the-rosie. The kids loved it and tons of moms stood around watching their kids be loved on.
These boys thought Connor was a famous soccer player
We said our goodbyes and began the muddy trek back to the bus. To get there, we had to navigate the puddles that had trapped our bus in the first place (I lost my shoe in the mud and Daisy, from our team, had to sift through a pile to find it!)

Brian had injured his knee on Tuesday afternoon, so Josh helped him through the mud
We were supposed to stop at an orphanage that had been started for the orphaned children of Bosnia, but since we were all barefoot (our driver would not allow us to enter the bus with such muddy shoes), it looked like rain (again), and the road was equally as sketchy as the last, we sent a few of the boys running (literally) to drop off the gifts and pass on our greetings.

Caked in mud and filled with stories from the afternoon, we returned to the Kitale Club for quick "showers" (the boys found a leaky water container and used it to wash off) and dinner. We met for debrief and then called it a night...

Bryan and I mentioned, again, what a great team this is!

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