Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Day in the Life...

I have been encouraged to write about what happens in my life here to give everyone a glimpse of what it is like, so I will just give you a run down of what it is like.

I usually get up about 5:30am.  Yes, close your mouths those of you who know me well.  This is very much a challenge for me, but life begins much earlier here than in the US.  I awaken to ensure that those that have school in the morning get up and complete their responsibilities and are feed before they leave for school at 6:00am.  After they leave, I usually shower and get ready for the day myself, I then go to the main branch so that I can catch up on emails and the blog.

I tutor English at 8:30 for those who are in the morning group.  The youth are very excited about English and are eager to learn it.  I get excited about it. Tutoring starts at 9:00 each day.  There are different focuses for each day; Cognitive, Physical, Pre-vocational, Spiritual, and Social-Emotional.  I am responsible for the Spiritual tutoring.  The tutoring ends at 11:30 for lunch.  I will talk about food a little later.  During the lunch 'hour' the youth finish their homework, they eat and prepare for school, getting changed into their uniforms and get there things together.  At the same time, those that had school in the morning, come to the house eat lunch, change out of their uniforms and begin their homework.  Then we as leaders run the same program in the afternoon as we did in the morning.

The late afternoon is usually a quite time for me as the youth are either in the school of music, Batuta, or school.  That is the time that I am seeking the Lord.  I also am writing devotionals for the youth at time time.  It is my desire that they learn to connect with God in a personal way each day.

The evening is spent with the youth that live in the house with me and my calendar depends on their activities, Monday nights, I watch the boys play futbol in the park, I help with homework, I listen to them practice their music, I prepare dinner for them and then I process the day with them over dinner and we have a time of prayer.  I am usually going to bed about 11:00 after preparing for the next day.

OK, now about the food,  it is different than I expected when I left the US.  We have a lot of rice and a lot of "soup".  The soup is made with all of the veggies and meat in it.  The meat is cooked and served in the soup with the bone in.  It varies from day to day, some days we have fish soup, beef soup, and chicken soup.  Of the 7 days of the week we have soup about 4 of those days.  We have fish about 3 days a week.  Pasta one day of the week and that is my favorite day.

One of the youth in the house celebrated his 17th birthday this month.  His mother invited Lucy, Carmen, and me to her house for lunch to celebrate.  I prayed beforehand for the ability to graciously accept whatever was presented before me as I suspected it would be different and I was guessing fish, as it is so readily available here.  I was wrong.  We were first presented with a HUGE plate of rice.  And then I was pleasantly surprised when I was presented with chicken soup.  This was not strange to me at all, I could handle this with no problem.  WRONG!  I stired the soup to get a soupful and came up with a chicken foot.  This was not the first time I have seen this in my bowl, but the first time, I was able to pass it to on of the kids without offending anyone, now, I had no way of doing that.  His mother was so pleased to be able share with us.  She had not celebrated his birthday since he was 9 years old becuase she could not afford to.  So I did not want to offend her.  So I prayed and took a deep breath, smiled and was gracious.  God is stretching me in so many ways right now.  I appreciate all of your love and prayers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Last Tuesday was another Holiday for Colombia so the kids had no school.  So what do you do on a hot summer day?  Of course...you go swimming. The four youth that live with me, their tutor Robert and I packed up lunch and headed for the jungle.  At Kilometer 11 there is a swimming hole that we went for.  It was outside of town (11 Kilometers) and then about 3 Kilometers into the jungle.  As we were getting out of the jeep the youth were expressing their own concern saying that this place was known to have snake on a regular occasions.  Ok, I know that I am not a girlie girl, but this whole experience was stretching me just a bit.  We found our spot and began to get ready to get in the water.  Some were faster than others.  All were faster than me.  While I was watching and deciding if I wanted to go in, I see two women on the edge of the water cutting up a chicken and cleaning a fish on a log in the water.  The one cutting the chicken would cut off a piece and then dip it in the water to "clean it". 

After a while of swimming the boys decided that they would climb a tree that was over hanging the water and jump from the highest branch.  Jeison was so very funny to watch as he quickly got to the top branch wanting to jump, but the he would freeze and not want to jump, and not want to come down.  He waited about 20 mins before he jumped because he was scared.

I very much wanted to jump from the tree because the high dive has always been one of my favorite things, however it was impossible for me to get up  the tree because I am not a monkey.  I did however jump from  the "cliff" that ran along side the edge of water. 

It was also very fun to watch Marlon as he fished in the water.  We had no fishing pools, but he was not stopped because of this.  He simply took his hand towel and put it under the water and patiently waited for the fish to swim over it.  Then his plan was to scoop up the towel and catch the fish.  He would even drop pieces of bread in the water to draw the fish.  He did catch a few fish that were about an inch long.

While we sat on the bank and ate our lunch Darwin played his guitar and sang and Kimberly laid in the sun on the log.  We all relaxed and enjoyed our time spent together.  The day ended with ice cream...how else could it end.  LOL

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dry Season has Begun!

Mucho Sol!  Mucho Calor!
We have been having many days of a lot of bright sunlight and no clouds.  Everything seems dry and the only moisture I have seen is the sweat running down my back!  But God never promised me it would be cool and breezy!

While it has been hot here, things are great! This past week we have had a team visiting from Memphis, TN.  Bellevue Baptist Church sent a wonderful group of people and they got to share Love of Christ with all of us.  Part of the team built a covering for the patio to hang clothes out to dry and the rest of the group lead VBS types of activities in the house.  It was great fun getting to know these brothers and sisters in Christ.

On one of the days of their visit all of us went to a place on the Amazon River called Monkey Island.   For those of you who have never been, it is a place where Spider Monkey live in the wild and you go and feed them bananas.  They jump all over you as you feed them.  It is great fun and something you don't get to do everyday.   This particular trip to Monkey Island was different for me.  It was the first time I had a bunch of them jump on me when I didn't even have a banana in my hands and it was the first time I have been bitten by one of the monkeys.  Several times a couple of monkeys fought over a banana in my hand and on one of those time my finger got in the way.  Another time, I was scratched on the forearm.  It was not bad though, all of the wounds heal quickly.  I do have a strong urge for bananas though.  LOL