Hello all! So sorry for the lack of update last night. I had great intentions to head back to the dorm and blog, but made the classic mistake of laying down on my bed for "just a minute". Next thing I know it's 6:00am and time to get up. My bad! Let me fill you in on our jam packed first couple of days.
Yesterday morning we headed out to the Children's Home with literally no idea what to expect. I (Kristin) have never even been to this home since they moved in, and could not even imagine what the day would hold. Would the work project be easy? Hard? Started already? Almost finished? Would there be enough work for all of us? Would we be able to keep up? We left the base knowing that whatever was in store, we were ready to serve. But WOW what a first day we had! We arrived at the Children's Home to find a huge piece of land that was all dug up, cinder blocks in piles, and piles of sand as far as the eye could see. There was already a crew hard at work, and many of our team members were jumping up and down with excitement ready to get in on the action. Creating this basketball court is a far bigger job than any of us anticipated (including the forman of the local crew). In order to pour the cement for the court, we have had to build up a strong foundation that will provide a level surface for the big pour on Monday. The ground is really uneven, so once side of the court is built up 3 cinderblocks high, and the other side is only one block high. Once the perimeter was finished, the entire thing needed to be filled with sand.
This has been the majority of what we've been doing. Moving A LOT of sand. We're moving it by hand, with buckets. Take a bucket to the court, throw it to one of the guys inside, they dump it out, throw it back empty, repeat. The ground in Belize is so much different than at home. Today I brought the luggage scale to see what the average bucket weighs. One bucket mostly full of sand weights 47 pounds. Most of the kids are carrying 2 buckets at a time over to the court. Back and forth, back and forth, with nearly a hundred pounds each time. And these kids are LOVING it. They are amazing! They have found strength and muscles that the didn't know they even had. When they think they can't take another step, they pray to God and somehow find the energy to keep going. They're singing and joking all day with each other. They have smiles on their faces. They feel so happy to be able to serve in this way. They're learning as they carry this sand. They pick up a new bucket of sand about once every 2 minutes, so the pounds being carried by each person is really adding up. It's amazing to see what we can accomplish when we feel very determined, and have the force of God and your support behind us! We worked until 5:00 yesterday (which was tricky, because the kids arrived home from school at 3:45 and just stood at the gate yelling for us to come and play).
When we were done with the last bucket (cheers from everyone), we headed inside to the new home to meet the kids and take a look around. This house is SO. NICE. It's so hard to even try and explain, or give proper context to the team here. The difference between their old home and new home is unbelievable. It's like they live in Disneyland now. I could not wrap my head around it. All night I felt like we were all on a big fun vacation somewhere, thinking that it would come to and end and the kids would have to go back to the old home. But no... they live here!!! And it was beyond amazing to watch them run and run and run around in all of their space. We stayed for supper, and for devotions. Just.... surreal. For all of you who have been here before... sat in the old home during devotions as kids were crammed in everywhere, sitting on stained couches with no fan. What can I say to help you understand? It's just better now. It's just as it should be. All you have wished for these kids has happened.
Once we got back to the base we had a chance to debrief a bit, and talk about our first impressions. Almost everyone commented that they had so much fun serving through physical labor. This was a first for many team members. I know that it was a concern for some. While we were training we heard a few comments about not being able to keep up. But everyone did such an incredible job. Worked SO incredibly hard. We were able to keep up with the crew of locals, and that was a surprise to us AND them!
Today we were back at it again. Shovel, carry, dump, repeat. So. Much. Sand. The team has moved 12 dump trucks full of sand from one place to another. They are SO beat. The sun has come out in full force this afternoon, and many are feeling the affects of the heat and exhaustion. We struggled with the effects of sun stroke. Several people had to take longer breaks this afternoon. We have a dorm room to ourselves at the Children's Home, so there is a nice cool and quiet place to lay down. There was quite a bit of nausea and headaches this afternoon. The team worked until they just couldn't anymore and we wrapped up around 4:00. We were once again rejuvenated by some quality time with the kids after work, and we left the home by 5:30. We had our first Cholis break (YUM! A special Belizean treat!), and are now back at YWAM for the evening. The team is feeling SO much better. Kaden and Mikayla are still feeling a little weak, but I feel confident they will be back to 100% by the morning. Right now the team is laughing and singing in the kitchen as they clean up from supper.
One last note before I end with some prayer requests. We are LOVING the family comments, especially the ones that include nicknames. We have enjoyed poopsiedoo and munchie, anyone else want to leave an embarrassing comment? All welcome! They keep our meal times lively!!
One special shout out from Kaden to his brother Kash for his birthday yesterday. Happy 15th Kash!
Tomorrow we are doing some planning and organizing for children's ministry in the morning, and then heading to the Mayan Ruins in the afternoon. I think it will be a welcome break from shovelling!
Thanks so much for your prayers and support...
-for health. Most of the team ran into some nausea and headaches today. Like I said, everyone is doing much better this evening. Pray that we will continue to feel good, and not experience any more sickness from the heat.
-pray for our weather. We need it to stay dry for the cement pour on Monday! It was supposed to rain for the last 2 days, and it didn't (thanks for the prayers!). Pray for continued favour with the weather.
-pray that our basketball poles and backboards arrive on time. We purchased the basketball systems from the States, and they are currently being flown here to Belize. Pray that they will arrive in perfect timing to finish the court next week.