Last week in Kono, we held our annual summer camp for children. Including travel days, the camp was 8 days long. Monday to Monday. I'll be honest and say I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle 8 days in the provinces with a large group of children. This instinct came from two places: 1. My love of small groups of children in small doses that have a start and end date after which time I go home and rest (notice how I made that positive... :-), 2. My exhaustion after the few trips I took to the provinces in the spring.
So I promised Olivia, the Conference Director of Children's Ministry, five days. Monday to Friday. As it turns out, I'm learning that those few trips in the spring threw me into culture shock. I didn't realize it while it was happening. I've since been out of Freetown a few times with no trouble. In addition, I wasn't slated to chaperone the children overnight. I slept at the Paramount Cheif's house, where I had my own private room. So as we were saying goodbye on Friday morning, I was very sorry that I hadn't made other arrangements for my cats so that I could stay. As it was, I figured they'd run out of food if we stayed any longer.
The camp was pretty much the same as what you'd see in the States, with a few alterations. Here's what I captured with my camera for the week. There was so so much more, but this'll give you a taste.
I originally took this series of photos because I liked his shirt. Little did I know that we would become probably the most connected by the end of the camp. We became friends when I was sitting around waiting for the evening program to start. I was playing a tetras-style game on my phone and a bunch of boys came to help. Every time we'd get rid of a line, he said, "Uh-huh! I like this game." Afterward we came up with a handshake. The shake consisted of ten repetitions of a hand movement, then a fist bump, then a fist touch to the heart. He never did count the repetitions though so it was like the never-ending hand-shake. Every time he saw me he would come running, even sometimes losing his place in line, to come do our handshake. Christian is his name. Mi padi. Precious.
So next year it'll be the whole eight days. I can't wait.