(Sorry for the delay in this post, we lost all Internet access Wednesday night and just returned from our job site today)
The heavy rain continued for a lot of the night and most everyone had to brave the storm to get back to their rooms. The rain brought in a cooler night and many people talked this morning about how cold they got during the night, not something we thought we would be saying but with nice air conditioning working efficiently and the fact that our beds have only one sheet on them it did get a little chilly. Nothing to complain about for sure! We awoke to the sound of roosters which is a normal occurrence but the roosters here seem to crow at many times not just in the morning. We seem to have a rooster right outside the compound wall which wants to make his presence known over and over in the early hours of the morning. Nothing that some headphones won't fix though!
We headed out at our usual time this morning at 7:30 after an oatmeal and fruit breakfast to what would end up being a very hard day.
We went back to Re Patriote which was our second stop for church on Sunday. They have a school there and are doing a lot of construction on the grounds. We split the group into guys and girls.
The girls job was to sand a ceiling in a large room which involved us climbing scaffolding all day. On top of the scaffolding were boards that we sat on to sand the ceiling with sanding blocks that they made us. It was definitely a little nerve wracking although some were braver than others and some were a little nervous..ahem me..cough cough...It was very dirty as the ceiling we sanded was concrete. You can imagine the dust and dirt. We were very thankful that they did have masks available for us to use and most of us had sunglasses we wore to protect our eyes. We would sand as much as we could reach and then move the scaffolding over to the next portion until our girls group split into three teams covered the whole room which took a couple of hours. We were COVERED in dust and dirt from head to toe and we looked like we had gray hair by the end of the day. We did that all morning until we left for lunch at 11:45.
During that time the guys were outside moving rocks and gravel. And by move I mean break it apart with a pick axe, shovel it into a wheel barrow, and take it a couple hundred yards to de dumped put. It was great to see some of the guys really in their element here and how hard everyone worked. The sand its very helpful to hold all the loose rocks together that makes up the ground outside their buildings. It was a definite change from the type of work we had been doing but most thought it was good, but I think everyone was glad we were only scheduled for this worksite for half a day.
We headed back to lunch at the same place we did yesterday at HOM guesthouse and this time we were even able to visit their gift shop and purchase items that they make there which made them extra special. After lunch we headed over to an orphanage for the afternoon to play with the kids.
We knew that the orphanage had a special needs center at it as well but we weren't entirely sure what all we would be doing there. When we got there it was the kids lunchtime. Arnold our interpreter and head of HOM told us that we would be going back to the special needs section and helping to feed the kids lunch. We had no idea what we were walking into or what was needed of us. Many of the children were in wheelchairs although a good bit of them were able to walk. We grabbed bowls of food, picked a child and several of us began spoon feeding the ones that needed help. Let me just tell you the students did awesome and adapted very well, you all should be very proud. There was such a level of maturity that was required as the situation and reality of life for these kids was really really hard stuff to handle. Several of the students played with the kids and blew bubbles while others fed or pushed around the kids in wheelchairs to give them a change of scenery. There were kids with severe cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and malformations to name a few. The reality is that there will likely be very few of these children that will ever be adopted. I think it was a huge stretch for the students to do something like this and a great opportunity to see and learn to love on the least of these in the worlds eyes but not to our Father who loves and cares for them. I will say for me personally since adoption is near to my heart I considered it such a privilege to feed these kids, look in their eyes and hold their hands even if it was only for a short time and as heartbreaking as it was. It was a lot to take in and something I think our team will be processing for a while what we saw and did today. Things like that definitely make me long even more for the day when Jesus comes back to restore us and to make all things new.