Thursday, June 23, 2016

Last day of camp. Nothing until chai, but we have some planning and finalizing to do for the skits this afternoon. Bethany, fortunately, is an organizer, and she’s taking care of cast and prop lists and all those things you have to think about ahead of time.

We announce the temporary point totals at chai. Jonathan’s team is ahead at this point, by quite a bit, but mostly on the strength of Bible memory verses, so we exhort the other teams to be diligent and catch up.

At 11 we send them out for God and I Time, with some reading on Daniel’s character in chapters 1 and 2. Today we do it as teams, both to build team unity and to ensure that they’re using the time effectively.

They have their staff Bible time at noon; we do a review of plans for the skits, and some of the girls continue a project for sherehe that they’ve been working on for quite a while: photo-collage posters for each year of Tumaini’s existence. They’ve hand-lettered the year numbers with African animals worked in (think old illuminated manuscripts, but in more of a cartoon style), and they’re coming together pretty well.

Lunch is stuffed tortillas (remember, we don’t say the other T-word around here) and good fellowship. Yesterday we fellowshipped a little too much and started game time 30 minutes late, so we pay better attention today so we don’t keep the children waiting for what they consider the highlight of their day.

We start with a scavenger hunt. Five of the, um, more mature folks—me, Beth, Rachelle, Abeli, and one of the mamas—have Zip-locTM bags containing 5 very large jigsaw puzzle pieces and a task to accomplish. We position ourselves around the compound, and the teams run to us in any order they like, complete the task (mine is saying the alphabet backwards), and receive a puzzle piece. When they’ve been to all 5 locations, they run to the kibanda and try to be the first team to turn in their pieces. Jonathan’s team wins, pretty much by a landslide. Their technique is to follow the shortest route, which in this case means they don’t have to wait while some other team ahead of them struggles to complete their task at a given location.

The second game is Trash Pickup. Seriously. They pick up trash around the compound and bring it to their team captain. The bucket with the heaviest trash wins. To my surprise, the children really get into it. I’d be thinking, “This is the most exploitative alleged ‘game’ I’ve ever heard of!” But boy do they clean up the trash.

We take a little break before Fun Time, for which we have 4 skits scheduled. Some of the children who are in the church choir need to leave to go to the evangelistic services that are being held in Shadi this week.

Our first skit is “The Doctor,” which we do every year and the children always love. I’m a patient in the doctor’s waiting room, and each team member comes in with a visible malady of some sort: Sara is scratching, Jonathan is hiccupping, Rachael is sneezing, Bethany is seizing, Jojo is vomiting, and Lora is visibly pregnant (thanks to a convenient watermelon). As each patient comes in, I add his symptoms to my collection, and when the pregnant lady comes in I run out screaming. As I’ve said, the kids always think it’s funny, even though they know what’s going to happen.

Skit 2 is “Beeping Sleauty,” which I tell and the Crew acts out. It was a last-minute replacement for one involving 2 kings insulting each other; this morning we decided a skit encouraging insults might not be a good idea. I’m wondering whether the children will be able to make any sense out of the spoonerisms—English is their second language, after all. My hunch is that they don’t understand what I’m saying very well, but they do laugh at the Crew’s acting.

Skit 3 is the old Ball Identification game, where a contestant is told to lift the cover off an item on the table and identify it, and the rest of the series, as quickly as possible. It’s a setup; the third “ball” is a team member, and when the contestant uncovers the head, its owner screams, terrifying the poor child. This is called fun. Jonathan is slated to be the head, but we find out during setup that he can’t fit under the table, so Lora steps in. For some reason we decided to use plastic buckets as covers instead of the usual towels. The third contestant, one of the older girls, panics when Lora screams and throws the bucket back at her, opening a wound on the bridge of her nose. So Lora steps out for a little first aid (and the girl feels terrible), and I step in for a couple more contestants. No long-term damage, but now we know why they usually use towels instead of buckets.

Skit 4 is the bit where 1 person stands behind a second and #1’s arms become #2’s arms, so #2 looks like a tiny person. Jojo and Lora (complete with Band-AidTM on nose) are the two front people, and Jonathan and Lora respectively are behind the curtain providing the arms. The two wake up in the morning, wash their faces, brush their teeth, Jojo shaves, and they eat some mush for breakfast. It gets pretty messy by the end, since the people in the back can’t see what their arms are doing out in front of the curtain. The children love it.

Time to hang out together until supper, our last taste of ugali for this trip. Then house devotions, where Jojo decides to have a singspiration, and the boys outdo themselves in singing in both Swahili and English. It’s a great time.

After team devotions we spend time watching videos of the skits. It’s fun to see all the things you didn’t notice at the time.

Tomorrow is good-bye day; we’ll remind ourselves of that in several ways throughout the day. Tonight we pray for grace, and for faith in God’s providence to take the seeds we’ve planted in this very brief time and use them to bear fruit in the years ahead.


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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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