Somehow I ended up on kitchen duty a few trips back, so Wednesday morning I get to wake up an hour before the group and make breakfast with whomever has volunteered to help me that day. (It's really not a big deal, since I wake up early on my own anyway. I just think it's funny that my role as cook is always assumed. I used to cook for 50-60 employees at Jacob Lake Inn each night, which turned out to be good preparation for this little work project role.)
After breakfast, the whole group headed to Door of Faith Orphanage (DOFO) for a tour of their facilities peppered with Q&A about their philosophy and how they manage the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of 100+ kids. I won't go into that here, but it is amazing how smoothly they operate and care for their very large family. It comes from many years of trial and error and the wisdom and experience of their staff of 27 caregivers and long-term volunteers.
Kent usually wanders off to prep for the work we'll be doing, but I always love to tag along on the tour. Here are some photos of recently completed projects at DOFO.
The new dorm for elementary-aged boys. The wing on the left is a library, and the wing on the right is the barber shop. (Can you imagine keeping up with haircuts for over 100 children?!)
I love the bright colors of the buildings, inside and out. Fun tile murals are everywhere, too. Check out the tile in the new boys' dorm:
This year a landscaper came down with a volunteer group and turned a packed dirt bed into a lovely and productive vegetable garden. Some of the kids get to help maintain it, and the food goes straight to the kitchen and poorer families in the community.
Here are some interior shots of the baby dorm, which was built largely by ACHF over the course of several work projects. While the DOFO kids have their routines and jobs to stick to, this is the one building where volunteers are always welcome to come play with the babies.
After the tour, we have to pull the volunteers away from the children and get to work!
Kent divides the group into smaller teams to work on different projects at Door of Faith Orphanage and Buena Vida Orphanage. This trip our group was asked to gently demolish the old boys' dorm, starting with the roof. We were being careful to save materials, which DOFO had promised to neighbors in La Mision who needed to make repairs to their homes. I spent Tuesday pulling nails from plywood. A smaller group put in a track for a sliding gate at Buena Vida and painted some of their dorms. Other typical work projects include laying block walls, framing interior walls, applying stucco and paint for exteriors, landscaping, and pouring cement floors and paths. When we have families with us, the children are typically put to work painting or scraping mortar alongside the adults building walls.
I usually give Kent a hard time because he does very little "work" on these work project trips. I see him doing a lot of this:
Sure, I know someone has to coordinate the projects and drive people to work sites and fetch the tools and track down directions from the orphanage directors. It's just hard not to covet his cushy job while the rest of us are swinging hammers in the sun. (I'll also admit that it doesn't get that hot; usually only up to 80 at the highest.) But still...
This trip, however, I witnessed a miraculous thing. Kent put on his work gloves...
...and picked up...
...a granola bar! (Bossing people around all morning works up a person's appetite!)
Oh yeah. Then he picked up a sledge hammer--so I really should cut him some slack.
Between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., we put away the tools and took our lunch break...at the taco stand! Then we took a vote to see who wanted to go to the beach. The result was 20 to one in favor of the beach, with Kent being the only naysayer. When I realized a few years ago how much he doesn't like the beach, I had to consider that maybe some people just simply don't enjoy the peaceful sound of the tide and the soft sand between their toes. After our vote, I've concluded that the rest of us do like those things, and I married the only person alive who isn't enchanted by the beach. Oh well. Marriage is about sacrifice, so Kent came with us and didn't complain once...though he was really excited when I suggested we go warm up in the van and get the group headed back to camp. (The Pacific Ocean is COLD!)
(Did you notice in that last photo, where Kent gets to have chili-lime coconut, he is almost smiling while at the beach?)
After cleaning sand off our clothes, we went back to Buena Vida for dinner and we spent the evening doing what always becomes the group's favorite activity: playing with the orphans until bedtime.
This cutie is Mia. She is a tiny five-year-old who wouldn't speak but only made cute cat noises once her face was painted. She went from person to person encouraging us to pet her head. I wish I could bring her home--along with about four other kids!
What I always love about these kids is that our groups bring games and crafts for the orphans' enjoyment, and the kids always turn it around and make things for Americans.
After saying goodnight to the kids, we wrapped things up with a nice devotional and a hilarious round of phone charades, which I will tell you more about on Friday's post when we had a repeat performance.