At the moment I'm living with a host family that has 2 host brothers and 2 host sister and well as a mom and a dad. Their house is huge and so beautiful (see the house tour vlog to see for yourself) and I can guess what some of you are thinking. "I thought she was supported to be on a missions trip and she's living at a house with a pool." But you have to understand that the reason that we are staying with people from a local church who are wealth is because we are supposed to bridge the gap. By telling our host families about our day in the squatter camp 15 minutes away from them hopefully they will see the need and opportunity to get involved. I think it's also preparing me for coming home. Going from sleeping in luxury to working in Olievenhoutbosch where the houses are made of tin and wire will help me when I go home to a Christmas season that the western world has made all about gifts and food and excess. So let me reassure you that I am on a missions trip.
Working in Olieven has been very different from Pomfret but not in a bad way. When the team was in Pomfret I was the head of the work team. In this team we would find things that needed done. We helped in the vegetable tunnels, we cleaned up garbage and tried to fix the broken things around the Echo base, children's home and the house we were staying in. It could e rather challenging do to our lack of materials. In the last few days we made a connection with Pedro, a man who was trying to start a clinic (the only on for km in the area). We were able to help him the first day by making and pouring concrete to make a platform for him to put his water tank on. The next few days we helped him out up the ceiling in the clinic. It was hard work but supper rewarding. I wish we could have done more to help but sadly we ran out of time.
In Pomfret we were much more IN the community. We could walk to the store at 9:30 at night. We would walk the streets and play with the kids in our front yard. In Olieven we stay in the gated areas of the community centre, old age home, disability center and school. Which is different but again not bad.
My first two weeks in Olieven I spent at the disability center and I loved it! We did crafts with buttons for hours at a time and got to play with the kids. I met this one girl names De. She's blind and has a mental disability. Because she's blind when the other kids go by she hears them and would grab on to them and get a very strong hold on them. They would cry and push De to make her let go. So one day I wet and sat with we and held her hands. Then I started to shake her arm while going "dudududa" and she loved it. She would laugh and if a stopped she would try and get my hand to shake again. By the last day she would recognize my voice. I could say "hi De" and she would get all excited. This little girl truly stole my heart and it was so hard to leave her on that last day.
The school was a change of pace. The days go so much quicker. In the morning I would teach class when the teacher didn't want to then we would have break and go back to the classroom for half and hour. Following that we would leave and got to the kitchen for devotions with the after school care staff. Then we would prepare for the afternoon, setting up what would need set up and have lunch. We would then play with the kids till it was time to go home.
This week there was a lot of Christmas parties and activities. It was so much fun! I could tell you a million stories about this week alone. Sadly I don't have time for that :/ we also got to have a Christmas party with the grannies at the community centre and we got to have some good conversations and singing with the people at the old age home.
I can't believe I'll be leaving South Africa in 15 days! And I'll be home in 20!! I really do miss my family. I can't wait to sit with them and tell them all my stories. I can't wait to give them a hug and share meals with them again. There have been some hard days were all I want is a hug from my mom but even those days don't seem so bad in hindsight.
God has been doing some amazing things in my life. I feel like I understand His will for my life and what my "career" is meant to be. I've grown so much closer with Him even though at times he seemed silent. I'm more in love with Him than I've ever been in my life and I can't wait to love Him more.