Thursday, July 19, 2007

Week Three

Not a very imaginative title for this post. But it can't pass unmentioned. This has been quite a challenging week. If I were going to be a big whiny baby, I would have a lot to say. But of course, I am not! I am a missionary, we can handle a few "issues," right?

On the bright side, the Missionary Cenacle Volunteers have been on deck and quite supportive, not to mention fun to be with. So, despite a lot of rain, the resignation of our groundskeeper, the destruction of some recreational supplies, and ... but I said I was not going to whine! Anyway, we are sustained by the grace of God, and life at Trinita continues full speed ahead. The most we had to handle was yesterday, and things are improving by now. We watched a Jackie Chan movie after we closed the pool due to heavy rain, and many of the kids fell asleep. And tonight, the lodge is closed yet it is fairly quiet out there. I think folks just are worn out at this point. I have had some great games of Candyland this week, and I even had time to hang out some with my friend who is serving here this week. Because she is my friend, I am giving her all the hard jobs.

But not Arts and Crafts. I would not do that to her. That would be just wrong.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Whining

I had an interesting birthday. I actually have had a number of birthdays here, but it's been a while, and this one was particularly full. As I mentioned before, Wednesdays are hard because Olivia (the boss at least of the summer program) is off on Wednesdays, and also Diane, the cook. So this Wednesday of Week Two, I rolled out of bed early and set to work cooking scrambled eggs and grits. A local volunteer and two MSBTs were on hand to help so I was not too stressed. The food delivery truck arrived at 7:30 and I had to leave Lucy stirring the eggs while I ran around showing him where to stack the food. And so on. As soon as breakfast was over, morning circle. Mama called while I was in circle so I missed the call.

I spent peer group time running up and down the hill as usual. Four babies this week, and three of them tend to cry, and only one of the babysitters has any real experience with babies, so the teen volunteer helpers need a little minding. The teen volunteers have proven to be very helpful but the new ones need a lot of direction and to complicate things many of them show up almost randomly. We simply never know when they are going to appear, and I can't always drop everything and find them work to do. As soon as peer group was over, I had to start preparing lunch. Grilled cheese. Again, I had plenty of help, but I also had plenty of interruptions. Without Olivia, people tend to come to me with their questions. Well, I do it to Olivia myself, I confess. Mama called me at lunchtime but I missed the call. As soon as lunch was over, the mothers began preparing food for supper. Lucky for me Lucy was there. I had to help them find things for awhile but eventually I moved on to other things. Like pool duty. I was also taking a lot of pictures. No one seems much interested in taking pictures so I have been doing it. We give a slide show on Fridays before supper.

The story lady was late. Patty came and spread her blanket under a tree, and by then I was so tired I went and laid on the blanket for a bit. OK, I admit it. I whined a little. I said I was tired because I had not had a minute of rest and had to cook breakfast and lunch.

After pool duty I came up to be present for afternoon snacks. At this stage I was not feeling very chatty--I just kind of sat there and drank water. Finally the crowd dispersed and I went up to clean the middle room and refresh the volunteer snack table. This week that room has really been hard to keep clean. Why would anyone throw their trash on the floor instead in the trash can? Why am I picking up trash off the floor two and three times a day? I am whining now (because this unexpected problem has persisted) but at the time I just cleaned it all up without much thinking about it. So I did not whine then.

And so things continued. Start to do one thing, get interrupted and end up doing three other things. That interlude on Patty's blanket was the only peace I got. I did the meeting, dragged around a big bag of rocks for everyone's entertainment, and ended up in the lodge playing Candyland. Finally, I got back up here to my office and I got Mama on the phone, who had also called at suppertime but I had missed the call. After we talked, I got to work editing and printing the blanket time pictures of all the families. So, at 11:30, my day was over and I spent the last half hour of my birthday relaxing.

Life is good. But I was really glad when the boss of Trinita was back on deck Thursday morning.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Wet Blanket

Week One is almost over. This means all of us are now veterans. My big hope is that I can reduce the number of times a day I have to ask Olivia how to do something, if I should do something, or where something is. She has the patience of a saint.

I managed to get attached to some of these kids. It happens. I played Candyland and Sorry in the lodge this week and was thoroughly defeated at both. Well, I have five more weeks to practice my skill at board games.

It has been a great week, but it's really strange how it seems like it's been a month since we started. Someone once made the observation that a day at Trinita is like three normal days, and I often quote that, because it is so true. I wish I could convey how much life happens in between breaking down cardboard boxes and carrying them to the recycling bin out front. You could have three conversations and two trips down the hill to the lodge before getting that cardboard into the bin. Nothing happens directly.

It rained a lot these past few days. We had such poor attendance at one of the nightly gatherings we just sang a bunch of songs instead. We had to have blanket time indoors yesterday, and again today because the ground was too wet to lay a blanket on. The pool was even closed. But we got through it all, and had fun anyway. It is our mission to have fun, and to help others have fun. Our theme this summer is "Be a power for good," but maybe we are also a power for fun. I remember years ago when we were told never to call this place a camp, and it has never comfortably fit into the category of retreat center, some of us began calling it Trinita Fun Center. We can handle wet blankets and parades that have been rained on. Mere rain cannot stop us. Jelitza told Olivia and me the other night, "You are the bosses of Trinita, and the bosses of Trinita never give up!" Wow. I guess after that, we better not cave in just because we ran out of whipped cream.