Saturday, February 21, 2009

Welcome Visitors!

A friendly greeting to those from far away who have been visiting the blog. At the bottom of this page (and all the blog pages) is a "clustrmap" (looking like the image at left). If you click on it, you can see the number of people who have visited the blog and where they connected from! This was only installed at the end of the week -- there were many more visitors during the trip. We are delighted to see visitors from Jamaica! But Nepal, India, and the UK are pretty awesome, too! :-)

Random Reminiscing

Perhaps the very best memories of Jamaica are the children that we met. Bright eyes. Lovely smiles. Entirely curious and playful. One of the tragedies of Jamaica, we learned, was that present fathers are the exception rather than the rule. And it was clear that once the team was determined to be "safe" (and, indeed, "fun", as the pictures indicate), the children adopted us to temporarily fill that important role. We were alternately impressed by the toughness of the children (they seem to be expert rock- throwers by the age of four) and their honesty and generosity. One young man from the school went out of his way to return a J$500 that was dropped by one of the team. He needed it far more than we did. We pray God's protection and provision for all these dear ones.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nice to be Home!

After a long day of travel, and three different sets of flights, the team was (almost) reunited around the baggage carousel at the Dorval airport. We missed many things about Canada, but the family and friends that met us at the airport salved the itch we were feeling in our hearts. Thank you so much to all the support, and love, and messages, and prayers, and patience and understanding! We love you greatly, and are so happy to be home.
For your correspondent, this last week was delightful and meaningful. It was wonderful to get to know the rest of the team much better. And I have to say: these guys are great! I've seen enough patience, humor, stamina and industry to legitimately make our entire community proud. The skills and gifts that were brought to the projects were of the highest caliber. And by the grace of God, we not only got along, but we were able to come closer together and grow to appreciate each other in new and special ways. This is the way that the church is supposed to work together! :-)
This morning, I received a very short and broken phone call -- from one of the school-children of Bluefields. I hope that we were able to touch them as much as as they have touched us.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be intermittently editing pictures and posting them here. There are so many stories to tell, and there was so little extra time while we were there. Thanks for sharing this adventure with all of us!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Heading Home

We are so looking forward to arriving at home. Sharing time in the vicinity of family and friends sounds r-e-a-l-l-y good about now (sitting in an intermediate airport looking out the window at the beautiful moon). But the week was a blessing, it was fun, and it was productive -- with thanks to God, our hosts, our team-mates and our support.
Things we accomplished:
  • Fence completed around the Salvation Army compound
    • 400 feet of new fencing
    • repairs to damaged sections
  • Water problems fixed
    • pump installed
    • pipes and fixtures installed and repaired
  • Internet Cafe
    • stairs, door, paneling, benches, electrical and lighting
    • supplied with four laptops
  • Chicken coop built
  • Storage shed: lighting and shelves
  • Church repairs
    • door and lighting repaired
    • roof resealed
  • Salvation Army school
    • room painted
    • latrine refurbished
    • electrical service supplied/repaired
  • Community School
    • painted
    • tetherball, basketball and games-lines for the playground
  • Cave Mountain Salvation Army painted

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mission Accomplished

They came, they saw, they clotured! (This bad pun sounds better without a proper French pronun- ciation). Four hundred feet of fence securing the grounds, the newly built chicken coop, and the internet cafe. These gentlemen worked very hard, folks!

Real Jamaica

Meet Berti, fence-builder extraordinaire. Berti is the caretaker at the Salvation Army in Bluefields. He is also a sugar cane farmer... and on the tour of his cane field, we received excellent instruction in the art of organic farming. Berti produces 4000 bottles of gingered cane juice a month. He is also a singer, composer, and delightful company.

Basketball Bliss

To be compared to the basketball rig that was shown here... Peter's brilliant angle-iron work at right will almost certainly last considerably longer than the previous backboard. We can only hope that the hoop (with no such reinforcement) has a few years of life in it.
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