June 18, 2010

Salt of the Earth

Posted in Trek through Italy at 8:55 AM by goingbeyondzebra

Phew, many things to write about! Let’s start with English Camp.

From 12:30 to 4:30ish Monday through Thursday, I assisted the Georgia team and some of the other OM team members with English Camp. It was basically set up like a Vacation Bible School. We would start all together and do some songs, then we had four areas for the different groups of children to go (Arts and Crafts, Bible Lesson, Music, and Games), and they would rotate every half an hour or so. In addition, Mrs. Susan would teach them certain English words or phrases in the main session that we would reinforce throughout the day, and we would speak mostly English to them (though we had translators too), to help them come to an understanding of the language. The phrases were anything from sports terms, which they could use in the beginning of the day with the Fellowship of Christian Athlete interns during Sports Camp, to body parts. We even did the Hokey Pokey on Thursday. The camp was supposed to have been held outside in a field area; however it rained for most of the week, which made us quickly rearrange and adjust all of the groups to fit inside the smallish building we had at our disposal.

The ages of the children ranged from around 5 years old to 16, both boys and girls. I assisted mostly with Music, and they all picked up the songs really quickly. They picked them up so fast as a matter of fact that by Wednesday, we had to come up with new songs to teach them! We tried to use music that had motions to go along with them, such as Jesus Loves Me (surprisingly a favorite of even the older boys), Every Move I Make, etc. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it, even though our “Music Room” was a stairwell! We know several of the kids came to Christ, and that a lot of seeds were planted. It was said by one of the permanent OM Team members that normally a camp like this would cost anywhere from 150-280 Euro a week per child, and the fact that we did it for free, plus we came from America to do it for free, AND we gave out t-shirts and bandannas and hats for Arts and Crafts, would also have a very big impact on the parents. So there were seeds planted with them as well.

One really amazing thing that happened occurred with the 11-16 years old girls group during music today. We were about to teach them the song Big House by the Newsboys, and Mr. Carl (who was in charge of music), and every time we introduced a new song he would try to explain first kind of what it was about, and then let the translator translate if needed. Well, for Big House, he started out by saying that it was a song about what Heaven could be like. The translator (Paula), explained, and suddenly a slew of questions starting coming from the girls (there were about six of them). After a minute or two, Paula translated back into English for us, and said they were asking what Heaven was, was it different from Paradise, what would it be like when we got there, etc. We would try to give them an answer as best we could, but for every answer about five more questions came pouring out. One of my favorite and one of the most difficult questions asked, was if those we loved, who didn’t believe in Jesus, we separated from us forever when we died, then how could we possibly be happy in Heaven? These girls were very intense and you could tell they were all interested in learning more. This went on four ten to fifteen minutes till eventually we started singing again. Oh the minds of children! Sometimes I think we really do not give them enough credit.

So that is English Camp in a nutshell. Many more things went on including face painting, Knockout, dance sessions, and lunch sharing, but to tell it all would take a book!

In other news, on Tuesday I also moved into the flat that I will be mostly living in for the duration of my stay. I am sharing it with Tiffany, another intern who is here to write as well. It is nice, but very tiny, and while there is a “kitchen,” unfortunately there is no oven, no washing machine and no internet, which is one of the reasons I haven’t written much in this blog the past few days. The Harrell’s are gracious enough to lend us their oven, washer, and their internet whenever we need it, which Tiffany and I are both very thankful for! There is a possibility that we may be able to set up an internet stick with 150 hours a month for us to share, but they are not sure yet whether or not it can get set up in time. It’s Italy; no one is in a hurry!

Tuesday night we were able to go shopping for our flat though, which was very entertaining. There was so much incredible food, we went to a place called Coop (pronounced kind of like Cope), which was sort of like a mall grocery store. I was very thankful once again for the Harrells. They helped Tiffany and me navigate around everything, interpret the labels, and guide us in what and whatnot to buy. We ended up with some great stuff, and tomorrow we get to go to Market where we will purchase some more fruits and vegetables (YES!).

So far Tiffany and I are getting along very well. She is from Southern California and attends Biola University and is going for a degree in Journalism, so you can imagine we get along pretty well! Both of us seem to be very tidy people, and so far we seem to share fairly common interests and tastes in food. Such a blessing.

I have made two meals so far, not counting my packed lunches and breakfast, in the flat. The first one turned out very well and I was quite proud. I didn’t make anything specific, just kind of threw some pasta and some “oh this would be good” together and ate the result. I did the same with this evening’s meal; however, it ended with a slightly different result.

There are no real measuring instruments here, so I have to just kind of pour and eye everything to how I think it should be. Well, I was putting salt in a pot of water to boil in preparation of couscous, but alas, the salt had different intentions than my mere desire for enhanced taste, and came flooding into the pot like little children jumping into the lake for an afternoon swim. This was coarse salt by the way.

Dismayed, I scooped some of the bathing granules out and tried to make the best out of the situation and continue on with the preparation for my meal, hoping it would somehow be salvaged and edible. I boiled the water, added the couscous, prepped some Edamame as a side dish, chopped some red and yellow peppers to sauté with Olive Oil and some type of sauce, and let everything do its thing. When all was complete, I mixed, fluffed, poured and scooped the meal together and onto my plate, with the addition of some cheese toast. It looked wonderful! I even took a picture.

But alas, the picture once again will not upload. Anyways, trust me, it looked wonderful. But then I took a bite.

I felt like the Dead Sea had just made a home in my mouth, minus the water.

Apparently, the salt granules decided to take revenge on being separated from their fellow brethren and overpower every flavor contained on my plate. At first I thought maybe I could handle it, for I was very hungry and hated to waste all that delicious couscous.

Five more bites.

Okay, maybe I could at least eat HALF, that way it wouldn’t be so bad to throw away and I’d at least get a decent meal out of it.

Two more bites and three glasses of water later.

This food should be used as a torture device for prisoners; they would break in an instant.

As best I could, I smushed the salt mine to one side of my plate and finished my Edamame and bread, though by that time the salt had begun its takeover on even these items, making them not quite as enjoyable as they ought to have been. I regretfully dumped the rest of the couscous into the food trash can, and continued to drink water like a woman who’d been lost in the dessert for a year. My poor couscous, I will try thee once again another day!

Well that’s about all for now. I am sure there are about a million things I am forgetting, but I will try to write about them as I remember. Tomorrow (Friday, since I am actually writing this on Thursday night, though who knows when it will get posted) I get to go to the Market again as previously mentioned, but I also get to visit the Chocolate Factory nearby. Talk about BARELY CONTAINED EXCITEMENT! I feel like I am about to visit my homeland of Chocolotopia. I am glad I did not go last week, otherwise for “certain reasons” I am pretty sure any semblance of self-control that I will be able to exert tomorrow would have been nonexistent, and I would have bought out the place.

So yes, there we go. I hope you are all doing well, if you have any questions about my goings-on or about English Camp please let me know! As far as prayer goes, be keeping the children and families from English Camp in your hearts, that these seeds will continue to develop over time. Also, most of the people who are here from Georgia will be heading out on Saturday and Sunday, so be praying that they will have safe and easy travels.

Farewell till next time!

Robyn

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