|Karen entertaining the nursery age kids|
Our program that we ran with our 18 kids in Lira Town was so successful, (you can read about it here) we thought that we should run it in Lira town as well. With a slightly modified program in hand, altered to suit 400 kids instead of 18, we drove into the village with ours packed with soda, a bag of rice and a ball and a rope. When we turned the corner into the compound, not one of us could believe our eyes. The 400 kids we had expected turned out to be 2000… Panic swept over our team of 18 as we quickly did the maths and realised we were vastly outnumbered.
Miraculously, with the help of a friendly man who came along to check out what we were doing (and turned out to be a retired PE teacher who most of the knews already knew and respected) within 30 mins we had the kids broken up into age groups, split those groups again, and 2 leaders took about 400 kids each to run activities with.
I was with Le Tibben, a nurse from Sydney who was like our angel on the trip, soothing peoples sore tummies and comforting those who needed it. Le and I decided to start a game of “duck duck goose” with the middle school aged kids we were with. With no translator and a slightly annoying language barrier, we thought it would be almost impossible to explain the aim of the game. With a few examples from us, the kids quickly understood and got amoungst the fun.
Before too long, Eloise showed up and had cleverly been visiting each group to check out what was working and what wasn’t working. “The group around the corner just played tug-of-war! I’ll go and get you the rope when you are done and then you guys can start!” She was right. Tug-of-war went down a treat! We finished the games with running races, piggy back races, and leap frog.
Other groups played skipping games (when the rope was free!) and the older guys got into a game of dodgeball, targeting us white guys with glee! The little nursery age kids were delighted to learn new songs and dances, and play clapping games with our loving ladies.
Once the games were done, it was our turn to run down the street and sit under the mango tree with Karen and Quinto our beautiful translator, to go through the program. “I am valuable, I am strong” were the messages we managed (we hope!) to communicate.
Lunch was another story all together.. When we pulled up with 1 bag of rice for 2000 kids, we quickly sent someone into town to bring back more food. The ladies got cooking in their huge pots over the open fire, and by 2pm lunch was ready. After about an hour of stress, trying to coordinate 2000 hungry kids (plus quite a few adults hoping for a feed) we managed to get them all into lines, and explained that only if they lined up quietly without pushing would they get to have lunch. The team couldn’t help but remember Jesus feeding the 5000 with his limited supply of fish and bread… it truly was a miracle that all of those kids got fed.
The second miracle was that none of our team got sick… we spent the hottest part of the day outside in the blaring heat, with not much water and hardly any lunch. Luckily the worst we suffered was sunburn.. better than the heat stroke I was predicting!
We were blessed by the faithfulness in the Lord, who gaves us way more than we could handle, but provided us with strength and his peace to get us by.