Day 6 - Monday
The past two days have been quite rainy, but the team did not let that deter them from their work here. Yesterday we set up stations in the church building (a large open cement building). The kids came in one by one. First they had their feet washed and lathered up with lotion. It was comical to see our son, Brent, and team member, PJ, rubbing the feet of these little ones. They then went and continued their manicures and pedicures with Kendall and Grace painting their fingernails and toenails. Next it was on to the hair station where Michaela and Haley dressed up their hair with beautiful flowered headbands and barretts that were donated. Finally they came up front to be outfitted with a pair of shoes. Many people sent these shoes overseas for us. But special thanks goes out to my good friend, Elizabeth Berry. She visited here in September 2011. She knew the needs of the children here. When she read a recent blog of mine about the needs of the people here, she was unable to just read it and move on with life; she wanted to make a difference. So she immediately posted a request on Facebook for donations. And in they came! So we were able to outfit each of the children with new shoes. They were so proud as they walked around. Little Armandinho, for example, got a lovely little pair of blue plaid shoes. He couldn’t take his eyes off of his feet and he had a perma-grin pasted on his face. Too cute! We also were able to outfit many of the kids with a new pair of school pants to begin their new academic year the next day. While this was a joyful time of gift giving and serving the children, by the end of the morning, we all needed a break. So the team headed back to the guesthouse for a swim and lunch. The woman who works in our home prepared the traditional Mozambican rice and beans for their lunch. They were a bit apprehensive at first and took small helpings. Soon all were back for seconds and even thirds! We returned that afternoon to the center to share a Bible story and craft with the kids.
While the team did this afternoon activity with the kids, there were children who needed to go to a health clinic. We had already visited a clinic on Sunday with Beatriz to get her tested for malaria- which she did have. With high temperatures and lots of rain right now, this is prime time for malaria. So on this day, we needed to take Zefanias for a test. We also took Augusto who has an infection in his knee that has caused it to swell up to at least four times its normal size. We arrived at the clinic to find dozens of people waiting in the hot sun for treatment. Augusto was taken first. Tracy went with the male educator, Makunana, who accompanied us. She came out a bit stunned because of the poor conditions of the clinic. Yet she was happy that she was able to learn how the injection of medication was to be given to him. Then she could do the injections herself for him. Emily, a previous team member of J-term 2012 who is helping out this year, waited with Zefanias until he received his malaria test and thankfully it came up negative. So he will just need some fever reducers to get his fever down. We took both children back to the center to join the others.
All during the day, Scott and Ron worked with a team of Mozambicans on the room that is being added to her house. At the end of the day, I needed to take them along with Pastor Berto (our master builder) to get 2 windows, a door frame, and a door for the room. A task like this in the US is a simple one. You just go down to your local Home Depot, pick them out from the dozens of different kinds available and haul them home. Here in Mozambique, it is nothing less than a full out test of patience. We went to location after location after location in search of these items. But thankfully we finally found them all and took them back to the center. They were then ready for the next day’s work.
Day 7 - Tuesday
Today began with the threat of rain. While we hoped it would pass, it turned into a thunderstorm with downpours and steady showers all day and into the night now. The team began their work at the center by raking and cleaning up the outside yard hoping to get as much done as they could before the rain started. They then went inside the dorms of the children to pray in each room and over each bed. When they were ready to begin their Bible activity for the day, it was unfortunately time for the children to head off to school. Not all go at the same time. Some grades go from 7 am-12 noon, and others then go from 12 noon to 5 pm. Because it was the smaller children that were now heading off, they decided to wait until later to do these activities. So instead they got out coloring books. When I arrived at the center, I saw children ages 2 to 16 quietly coloring away in the many books that the team brought. They rarely get the chance to do this kind of thing, so it is enjoyed by all ages and genders of the children there. The team then went back for lunch and a nap. They then went back to the center in the late afternoon to spend time singing and playing with the kids.
It is so nice for the kids to have the team here on rainy days. They are the highlight of their days right now!
A note about the afternoon nap the kids are taking. Yes… they are tired. Maybe it is some jetlag. Maybe it is the long days. And yes…it absolutely is the fact that they are staying up too late each night. BUT it is for a good reason. They have developed a routine of gathering together each night for a biblical discussion of a variety of topics led by our DC bible teacher, Ron Hoch. One day Tracy said it was so intense that smoke was coming out of her ears. Even though our adults Scott, Tracy, and Tracy are exhausted and just want to go to bed, they find they cannot do that because they don’t want to miss out on any of the questions and follow up discussions. So know that your children will come home with lots of ideas and things to share.
Meanwhile, Scott and Ron did their best with our Mozambican building crew to get work done despite the rains. They were planning on putting the roof on the room today but had to change their plans. They put in the windows and knocked out the area of the wall where the door will go. They put in a long good day, and a productive one.
And meanwhile, guess where Tracy, Emily and I went? The medical clinic! Today it was 11 year old Herminia, and she did test positive for malaria. So we got her the medication she needed at the pharmacy before taking her back to the center again. She also got to enjoy a stop at Mama Terri’s house where Emily indulged her with a popsicle and lollipop.
Right now we would like to ask for prayers for 12 year old Vasco. He has had pain in his left leg since the middle of December. Strangely though, he has also been losing drastic amounts of weight, and therefore has little energy and strength. His current weight is 23 kilograms (about 50 pounds). He did have Kaposi sarcoma cancer and was treated 2 years ago. Our concern is that it may be reoccurring. We are praying over him and Tracy bought him fortified soy milk to drink and she is making up a chart so we can keep track of his weight and how much he eats each day. He really needs our prayers right now!