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Day 7

The days are starting to blend together a bit—and I’ve found one of the most rewarding aspects of living at the same place and eating the same food in a foreign country is that the kids love us for who we are.  Although we’ve been asked on occasion what we do as professionals (mostly by other adults)—the kids on this trip aren’t focused on this type of thinking at all.  They are most curious about the kind of people we are –our character I guess.  They are most interested in how we respond to challenges and seem to respect our individual best efforts at sports, crafts or others.  These activities are truly how we get to know each other—and I think they also promote healing for the kids. 

Today (26.07.2009) is ‘American Day’—and we began in the kitchen at 7am.  Before the cooking began, we decorated the cafeteria with balloons, streamers, and plastic table cloths.  Our team led their staff (or their staff supervised us)---in the preparation of eggs, ham, and juice for the children.  Most of the supplies were purchased the day before at the market in Ryzaan.  In other words we seemed to have prepared enough food—and the kids enjoyed it.  At my table, at least one of the girls tried Tabasco™ -liked it and gave it a thumbs-up with a smile.  We were most grateful for team member Julie and Whitney for their planning and follow-through.  ‘American Day’ meals involved spaghetti with meat sauce, breaded chicken, and cake (ina garten).  The theme for the day was ‘California Gold Rush’—and the kids were asked related questions.  By evening we had pulled in Chicago, New York, and Virginia in the customary pre-meal trivia questions that are presented before each meal.  The kids really enjoyed the food—and we did too. 

We were ‘in charge’ of the activities today—so we engaged the kids in kickball after an entraining day that included kids on the slip and slides—and what seemed like a perpetual water balloon fight.  I’m fairly certain everyone got wet.  For crafts the children built treasure chests using a kit and popsicle sticks—and used ‘fusion’ beads to create crosses and other animals or shapes.  After a brief skit I gave my ‘testimony’ which I sort of simplified as it was translated---I think it was received fairly well by the kids.  I just tried to keep it simple—and make a few points—God loves them and has a plan for them—although that plan may not be exactly what they expected—or happen how they expected.  Later in the day I found myself walking in the apple orchard (behind the soccer field) first with the translators—and later with the older boys.  After a brief exercise session on the world’s most unsafe play structure, the older boys wanted to know what I’d need to stay here for a longer period of time.  One of the translators seemed to sense a meaningful discussion was developing. 

As usual---we ate, then prayed with each of the two family units (9:15-9:30) before heading to bed.  Everyday is full of such precious moments—I wonder how my words could possibly articulate or capture the essence of a days experience here at the orphanage.