Oh, What a Glorious Day

The heart and soul of what I have come here for has begun. We are all settled in at the school and the work projects were assigned.  Without hesitation the VIM team jumped to action. The New School Master, Hanna, was ready to change his name. I told him he should change it to Ben so that every time someone called for Hanna he would not have to answer.

All the supplies were prepared, and tools distributed. There is a lot of painting to be done. It looks as if there has not been a touch up of these once vibrant colors in years. Our painting will really spruce up the place.  The playground is all concrete. There are several game options painted in street paint yellow. Again, it has been quite a while since they have been freshened up. We have been charged with getting most out of the 2 cans of paint we have. The play areas are prioritized, and we plan to do as much as possible.

We set breakfast too as early as we thought was possible. The sun will be shining, and the heat will rise quickly. We wanted to get out there and get as much done as we could in the morning. Our crew was ready to go. The iron rails are colors in a rainbow of colors. There is a large gate painted in four different colors. The is a second gate just down along the outside fence. Both gates need new coats of paint. It is a large complex with a lot of iron railings. A group of team members quickly set up a method for getting the job done and they continued to paint until they were told to stop.

Another set of painters hit the concrete pavement with the street paint. There are several hopscotch frames. There are a few four-square games begging for a facelift. The largest area also has the markings for Kick Ball and for what they call Football (we call it soccer). This paint is thick, and the existing lines are not exactly straight. We try our best to make the new layer look good. One is on her knees painting all morning. Another used a child’s chair and painted nonstop. Again, we were told it was time for Tea, and asked to stop our work.

Teatime was a time set aside around mid-morning for us to be greeted by families and friends of the school. We offered beverages and snacks, as is the usual practice. We had the opportunity to mingle with the folks and listen to their stories. Anyone who knows me knows I love to hear other people’s stories. There were three gentlemen I listened to the most. They were working together on a project at the church just up the hill. We spoke about how long they had been in the area. The answers were the same. All have been here most of their lives. All of them had some connection to the school. They were enjoyable to listen to and share some time. We invited them to come back and eat lunch with us.

When Teatime was over everyone went back to work. There were some who could not work out in the heat and sun. Never fear, there was work for them to do as well. We brought several suitcases full of school supplies. These supplies needed to be pulled out of all the bags, sorted, and then categorized to help the school know exactly what we brought and where these items needed to be ultimately placed. One might think this was a simple task they could get done in no time at all. Wrong!

When I say we brought several suitcases, I mean several suitcases. I know I my case the suitcase I brought with the generous help of the church I attend had every nook and crevice filled with something. I weighed the suitcase several times just to make sure I had kept it at the 50-pound limit. When it was weighed at the airport it came in at forty-nine point six pounds. I was far from the only one to do this. Besides the large suitcases many of us placed additional items in our own suitcases and in the carry-ons.  A room was designated for all supply items. Items were gathered and the work begun.

We all stopped at One O’clock for lunch. Paint was cleaned up and brushes cleaned and stored away. Our One-Day Vacation Bible School is to be held in the morning. This afternoon most folks will be working on the final preparations and setting up the rooms. Our pattern for the VBS is to meet the children in a large group outside. After a time of greetings, prayers and songs, the children will be taken to classrooms. Each grade level will have its own class. Each session will include a lesson and activity. Our theme is “Fruit of the Spirit.” Each session will last approximately 20 minutes. A bell will ring indicating it is time to rotate from one classroom to another. This goes on for five rotations, a total of six sessions. After the six sessions the children meet in the Chapel for a time of reflection, celebration, summary of the day, a few songs and dismissal. They are sent outside where our VIM Team will greet them with several treats and gifts to place in a bag and take them home with them. They are given a snack and off they go.

This has truly been a great day. There were a few bumps on the road. So far it has not been anything we have not been able to handle. We’ve had a few shifts in how things might play out in the end. Blessed are the flexible. I believe this to be a day filled with God’s love and grace. My soul is renewed in the work already accomplished. My spirit is lifted in the attitude of group members. The Iron rail painter kept breaking out in song. This was not just a joyful noise. This was a group of hard workers singing in harmony.

We finished our day by walking up the hill and around the corner to the neighborhood market. It was an adventure some wanted to have. So, we went. A surprise was to find there some very dear friends. They were youth five years ago. Now, they are terrific young adults. It was so good to see them and have a short visit with them. I hope to see them again on Friday evening at the youth rally. Thank you, God, for such a terrific day.

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