We have returned from the bush!! And what an experience…. It took a good three-hour drive to get there—by roads that were in unimaginable conditions. The further you get out in the bush, the fewer the cars there are. The roads are not maintained very well, as the major mode of transportation is by foot. During the rainy season (which is now), the pouring rain causes great ruts in the roads; the kids on the team were comparing the drive to “mudding, or 4x4ing.”
Being up at 5,000 feet, the Rescue Unit sat on the edge of a hill that overlooked other “hills” and valleys on all sides. The view was absolutely amazing!! Every day, we watched the clouds settle in the valleys, rise to only cover absolutely everything blowing through our Unit, or rise way above everything to reveal majestic scenery! What a blessing to see such an amazing creation made by God! Village children and orphans began arriving the day we arrived, swarming the vehicles we arrived in on.
The AIDS Orphan Rescue Unit is a cement building without any electricity, and the bathrooms are holes in the ground. (Details about the bathrooms being intentionally left out for the regard to the “faint of heart”. Ask your child about these when they get home:). The villages have no electricity. (The people do, however, have cell phones that are charged by generators). Time seems to be revolved around the amount of daylight there is; 5 AM rooster alarm clock, 6:30 AM, brought from home alarm clock….6 PM daylight gone- day ending, 8 PM flashlights, “lights out.” Children would begin arriving in the mornings around 9 AM. Benches were set up with about six to eight of our team members sitting on them in a row with another row of benches facing them for the African children to sit on. The orphans would then one by one work their way through the line. The first person would wash their feet and examine them for any wounds. The second person would lather a special cream on their feet that heals and moisturizes their skin. The third person would put socks on their feet, and estimate a shoe size, the fourth person would get them a pair of shoes out of a sorted shoe pile, and the fifth person would put the shoes on and make sure they would fit. The sixth person would then take a picture of the child with their new pair of shoes. While all of this was happening, another 100 plus children were waiting behind them for their turn to get shoes. The rest of our team took this opportunity to play with the children waiting. African girls would braid the American girls hair and they would play huge games of “Duck, Duck, Goose,” or “Keep Away” with Alex Temple’s hat. The African kids especially liked that game! Our team also taught the kids puppet songs, and the choreography that goes along with it. After three days of this, we had put over 200 pairs of shoes on children’s feet, had played with at least that many kids, and had found that even in that short period of time we had bonded with them and had found our favorites.
Today, we are “home” for a day of laundry, showering and restocking of supplies. Despite our great adventure out in the bush, we were so, so, SO grateful to see the base! All of the kids were calling it “home” and were grateful to get back yesterday. Here, we have lights, bathrooms with toilets (that don’t flush) and a more desirable designated area to bathe and do laundry. Tomorrow we will head out again, to a second AIDS Orphan Rescue Unit, and will be there for four nights.
Morgan Boldt – Somee things I have struggled with are knowing if God is still there no matter the mistakes I’ve made in my life and realizing how fortunate I am to have the things that I do. Until just a few days ago, I came to this verse during devotions; “My flesh and heart may fail you, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 It made me think that, ya, I’ve made mistakes, but God is still there for me and will give me the strength I need. Also, seeing some of the kids who can’t even afford a pair of pants, who have nothing, helped me appreciate everything I have, more than I did. I know God has me here for a reason, and I hope to learn more from Him.
Julie Spear – “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a persons ways seem pure to them but motives are weight by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:1-3. Throughout this entire trip, God has been showing me that He has plans for me. He knows better than me and His plans are so much better than mine. He has shown me that I need to trust Him with my life and He will work it out.