Kids, canned peas and sweet tea

Once again, Internet connection issues have kept me from posting. But, since today was a windy, rainy day during our shift at the camp we had no refugees come through, so I’ll rewind and update from what our experience looked like yesterday.

We had just under 300 people come through the camp today. It was a nice breather after having so many people come through the day before. Plus, now we had a better understanding of our different stations. Because the boats didn’t come in as quickly it gave a few members from our team some time to have longer conversations with refugees who could speak English. It was incredible hearing about how long some of them had been travelling for and the type of conditions they had been through.

But the real highlight of the day was the children. Children never care if you speak the same language. Armed with some bubbles, a skipping rope and a hula hoop our team produced lots of laughter and fun as the group rested for a bit before catching their next bus. One of the little girls even knew an English song, so there was a special moment of bonding while Anika and this tiny little refugee girl sang about their fingers together.

My interesting task of the day was to cook a meal for all the servers and refugees, depending on how many were at the camp at the time, using the ingredients in the kitchen. My materials were: canned tuna, spam, rice, spaghetti noodles, canned tomatoes, canned peas, baby corn, canned milk, and salt. That’s it. But it’s amazing how grateful all the volunteers were for the interesting soup concoction after being on their feet all day!

One thing that is growing on a few of our team members from over here is the sweet (and I mean sweet!) tea that we make to serve to the refugees. Every day I brew a giant pot of ‘chai’–just black tea and bags and bags of sugar. When I say bags I don’t mean packets. I mean kg bags. Every time I go out to serve tea I am always incredulous when some of the refugees smile and politely ask, “more sugar?” At the beginning of the week no one on our team really wanted to touch the stuff, but after spending long days out in the cold wind and rain some of us are beginning to stretch our sweet-tooth muscles and enjoy a nice hot cup along with the refugees.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow we will be leaving this island and leaving all of this so far away. Please pray for us as we thing through how God would have us continue sharing the experience and information we have received while here. Each person on the team is wrestling with questions of how they can engage in this crisis more long-term when we come back home. Pray that God would lay certain things on our heart. From a practical standpoint, please pray that our flight off the island won’t get cancelled. It is extremely windy here, and many flights off the island are being cancelled because of the unsafe conditions. Thanks so much for partnering with us in prayer. We feel extremely blessed for this opportunity and we are excited to share what we have learned as we prepare to come home.

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