Thursday, 4 August 2011

"Oh hello, America, long time no see!"

I'm Hoooooooome!
Got home last night/this morning at 1am. I got to the Bahamas airport on time, went to Wendy's with Tex, and got to my gate just in time to board. The first flight to Dallas took 2 hours and 45 minutes. So much longer than the 45 min one to Miami. Texas was definitely out of the way. Oh well. Got to Dallas all right and the next flight left about an hour after that. Got on that one just fine. I sat next to this lady who was in the foreign language education. She taught English in Russia for 2 years and is going back soon. The family in front of me had three kids that were a riot. So funny. And the guy next to them was from Shanghai and was starting this program that taught foreign languages to children by using songs. He showed the videos he had and they were really good! So cool. He was going to a conference in Chicago for them. There were a lot of really cool people on that plane, I gotta say. I also saw a boy wearing a Gryffindor hat which made my day. Anyway, got to O'hare at about 11pm. Papa and Pat picked me up (I asked why they didn't stand there with a snazzy sign with my name on it) Long drive home with traffic and crazy Papa's driving landed us in Pontiac, IL at 1am. Just in time to sleeeeep!
I woke up this morning at 8am with Katy Billington, chocolate milk, and donuts! :D Dad had just left to go visit mom, and grandpa would be coming over soon. 45 minutes later I went and woke up EmmaLi. The morning was spent playing with her. My goodness I missed that child (:
Momma came home after lunch today :D She looks pretty good. Of course, and I hope you read this mom! she does more than she ought to (; First of the pre-made meals by ladies of the church was a full out chicken meal with stuffing, beans, potatoes, eggs, and cake by Diana. Soooo good. I'm so thankful for awesome church family. I can't wait to see them!

Overall, it's been an awesome summer. I'll never forget it. I made so many memories and so many friends. I've grown in myself and with God. Whether I go back to the Bahamas or just go on in life, I know that that place and it's beautiful people have made a lasting impact on me. Thank you guys sooo much for all the prayers and support! I'm so blessed! <3 On to the next adventure: Another year at Judson University! (:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

"Katie, are you okay? I heard you went driving with Tex."

Yesterday was my last adventure in the Bahamas.
The morning started out sooo slow. I started cleaning the house for a couple hours and time just moved so slow! Actually it did all day.
At noon Tex and I left to the beach. It took us an hour and a half to find. When we got there it was full of tourists and the water was full of jelly fish, so snorkeling was out of the question. We went to PI because it was right there and got some Jamba Juice. Then we went to Goodman's Bay, which was completely filled with Bahamians at some sort of giant picnic celebration (It was a holiday for them; Emancipation Day) We stayed and snorkeled there for a little bit, but there was nothing to see really, just seaweed. Lame. We left, got some Jamaican Beef Patties, and I introduced Tex to the miracle of the drink Switcha (Basically it's pure lime-ade. Lime juice, cane sugar, and water. DELICIOUS) I went home, showered, and then called madre (: It made my daddy's night, and the same to my mom. Yay! I also took out my little raccoon buddy again. He's so cute. We took a nap together on the chairs in the Media Room. haha.
Today is spent cleaning. Maybe a bit more relaxing in the hammock, but mostly packing and cleaning. Yayyy. :/

Sunday, 31 July 2011

"I really don't feel like getting lost today...."

Yesterday morning and afternoon were spent snorkeling with Tex, Eric, and Sam. (we were supposed to go cliff diving, which is what I was talking about doing in the last post, but we didn't have time). The evening was spent in the hammock in the breezy Bahamian weather. Eric left around 4. Watched a movie with Tex later that night. Today was spent in the hammock, basically all day. (:

Friday, 29 July 2011

"This was the best year at camp I've had for 4 years!"

Well... camp's over! :(
I can't believe I'm almost leaving! 6 weeks have gone by so fast! Mark and Eric both asked me today which kid I'll miss the most, but I don't think I could pick just one! I'm going to miss them all so much! They're so super sweet and annoying and awesome all at the same time!

To cap things off...
Last night we had a farewell/end of summer party. All the summer staff came to the ALC and we played Just Dance. I also made a new best friend. I want to keep him so bad! Someone donated this little baby raccoon to us and so we've had to get him used to humans. I held him for about 3-4 hours straight last night. He sat on my shoulder while I ate and while I danced, and he fell asleep in my arms. I wish I could get him passed airport security! Anyway, The night was really fun. Lots of pizza and dancing and laughing.

Today started out with Laticia playing Rebecca Black's "Friday" song. No one but Tex and I fully understood. We stared in horror at the screen while everyeone else just listened to the song. haha. We went on a field trip to Port Charlotte today. Really interesting. From the 18th and 19th century. So many cool things I learned. Then we went back to camp, watched a movie "What If?" (well party of it. I want to finish it!) Then we had our awards as usual for Fridays, and then went out for some cake and punch!
It was a good last day. A couple of the kids were super upset that it was over. Alexandria even told me that it was the best year of camp she's had so far and begged me to come back next year. A couple did. Zoe kept telling me over and over that she wishes I was her sister. Mathai, the little rascal, asked if I'd come back for him next summer. It's so hard to leave them!
Tonight I went out with Eric and Tex for some good ol' fashioned fast food, Wendy's, and then watched a movie. I came back and ended up sitting in the hammock for a good half our staring at the night sky. It's so pretty here. God's SO creative and awesome!

Tomorrow Eric leaves. I'm going with him and possibly Tex in the morning to Bonefish Pond and Clifton Heights to do something. BUT, I won't tell you till later. It's a secret (;

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Katie, I really wish you were my sister!!!"

It's about that time again. Updates!

Sunday: Church and dinner at Sam's again. I tried Ox tail for the first time. It had a really good taste, but was too fatty and mushy texture-wise in my opinion. We played Mario kart and Just Dance (I was beat by Sam's younger brother! haha) We went out for ice cream that night too.
Monday: Good first day of the last week. About 75% of the kids are new this week. My group of Zebras grew to 10 kids!
Today: Few more new kids. One girl in my group, Alisha, needs a bit more attention. Mark thinks she is mentally challenged in some way. I still haven't decided. She's a bit unusual, but that doesn't mean anything. I'm not going to try to diagnose her, but it would be helpful to know where she's coming from in order to help her more. Another little boy is new this week at 4 years old. He's the cutest thing.
I'm making baked pasta tonight. I really hope it turns out well. :D
And I got my worker's permit! It only took us 40 minutes this time! I'm officially legal for one week. haha. A bunch of the kids today asked if I'd come back next summer. I guess we'll see...
That's about all for now!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

"Wait till I tell everyone I met a college cheerleader in the Bahamas."

Updaaaate time!
Thursday night the boys came over and we made peanut butter cookies and had a bible study (: It was a really good time. I've came to the conclusion that I absolutely love Eric. He's so awesome. haha. He's like that perfect mentor/big brother/friend guy. Anyway, we talked of parts of the book of James during our devotional time. It was really good. I was reminded to do every little thing to 110%, to volunteer to do the nice things and the things no one wants to do, and to go to God with ALL things.
-Oh my goodness. Tom just gave me a large bag of leftover M&Ms. They taste so good! Oh, the little things! (:
So Friday went pretty well. The kids were better behaved for the most part. In comparison to last week at least. I picked Squeezy, the Bahamian Fowl Snake, out of his cage and held him for the kids to see! Now, I'm not afraid of snakes, I just hate the way they feel. Their scales creep me out. So I was hesitant to pick him up, but not frightened. I just had to tell Dad about it(;
Last night I talked to Katy Jones for awhile and got to Skype Ryan Davies! Man, I love that kid. It was crazy, because at one point the conversation came to the point where God prodded me to tell Ryan why I was here. Tell him about how I want to be a missionary and show God's constant love to people. He told me that he thinks that's totally awesome. AND that he's always known God has always been there but hasn't really understood it. He said somehow I made that click in his head! I don't know what I did, but apparently I helped him accept God's love a little more!! And I've noticed a couple of his statuses saying something about praying and stuff. I certainly hope he continues in this forward direction! :D He's so awesome. God has plans for him, I can tell. He just has to get close enough.
This morning has already been interesting! I was reading in the hammock outside when two of the Mission Discovery boys came up to me. They introduced themselves (I forget their names). One was 15, the other 17. They were being typical boys and were like competing for my attention. It was so funny. They were really excited that I, a college student, was talking to them. I mean I didn't encourage them or anything, but it was hilarious. They just left, going back to Texas. Nate said that this is the last Mission Discovery group. So next week will be pretty quiet. Possibly good since it's my last week!
I can't believe I leave so soon! It feels like I just got here!
-Btw, no pictures to post at the moment. I took some Friday, but I left the camera at the center in Chamille's office. I could get it, but her door is basically impossible to unlock with our keys. So they'll just have to wait until Monday.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

"Some day I'm going to write a book: A Day in the Life at All Saints."

Wow. What another day at the AIDS camp. I swear, no matter how many times you go there, it's never going to stop shocking you...
So many things changed, and yet everything is still the same. Some buildings were torn down and others were being built. A Solar panel was sitting in the entrance, but apparently it's all for show, and it will never be used. Corruption at it's best. Just like America.
I spent some time with a couple of the residents that I didn't get to before. I changed a few diapers, fed Natasha, caught a lizard and tadpole with the little boys, almost stepped on a rat, and was close to tears multiple times.
Andrew, whom Adam Moore from JU gave his cross necklace to the last time we were here, is still wearing it. He apparently accepted Christ sometime in March! :D However, he currently has an intestinal infection and is not doing well at all. No one will take him in to the doctor. Paulette is doing better. She was up and walking around and talking more today. She told me that she remembers me and that she loves me. We took a new picture together, and she asked if I'd be able to get it back to her so she can hang it in her room (The residents tend to keep pictures of missionaries with them) I think I'll send it to Stacie and have her print it and bring it down when she comes in the next couple weeks.
I saw the girls again today. The first time I saw Antonique this morning was a typical movie scene, it broke my heart. She was walking through camp with this solemn looks on her face, dragging a stick behind her. Either she doesn't remember me or she didn't care enough to show it. Coco and Sasha and AJ did though. Sasha had a moment of recognition and then jumped up to me. AJ just stared at me and smiled as I walked up to him. Courtney just chatted right away when I got there. Antonique stayed aside and didn't really talk to me. She pushed the other kids around a lot I noticed. I witnessed/heard a couple of the girls getting screamed at and beaten today. Once again, broke my heart. Antonique's dad is back at the camp now. I'm not sure if that's a good thing though.. Apparently her mother is now prostituting herself and her dad is smoking and possibilities of doing things to Antonique. He and her mom (no idea where she is) said that anyone who wants to adopt her can go right ahead; they don't care. Man, if only I could. I guess all I can do is pray she'll end up somewhere else...
There are more kids at the camp than I'd realized. Quite a few younger boys, a couple older boys, and another little girl. Plus at least two babies. I met Mario (He looks about 3 or 4) Darrell (maybe 7?) and a couple other little boys. I saw Daniel again too. He, Mario, and Darell and I messed around a lot. They'd try to tickle me and I'd just trap them. They were a lot of fun.

Basically nothing has changed at the camp. Miss Moxey still says "Thank God for life!" all the time and has more joy than I could ever imagine. Arthur still sings his heart out, and Lily still loves her comic books. Life moves on, even when it's in such conditions as this.

God bless all these 'Saints'. <3