Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday July 28 - Day 3

It would be safe to say that most teams had a jolt last night due to the culture. Cameroonian homes are not like ones in the States. One team has no running water inside the house - they have plumbing just no water through it. Buckets are used for both showers and flushing the toilet. NLind, the leader in that house, absolutely loves it. The Lord has groomed her for Africa. Regardless of the luxuries, the host families are imprinting their hearts with ours.

My team has the least culture shock, since we are living with Americans. We have hot water and our house is very close to American standards. It is still Cameroon and the sounds of the city don't drift away until deep into the night. The weather here is mild, chilly at night for good sleeping with highs in the 80s during the days. There is the under-aroma of burning in many parts of the city - from people burning their trash. The smell reminds me of my time in the Dominican Republic - one of the most evocative triggers in my memory.

This morning was spent doing some administrative things at the Nav center. This included two sessions - one on cultural orientation and one on the history of the Nav ministry here in Cameroon. Both were vitally important. I'm beginning to see that our team is here at a very crucial, significant and unique time in the history of Cameroonian students - and for that matter, the future of Cameroon.

Lunch is at the Nens. Our main task while we are here is the assistance of running a student camp that will take place Saturday through Wednesday. This camp serves as the catalyst for jump starting student ministry here in Yaounde. The team here has thought about, prayed over and dreamed about this camp for many months and us being here signifies the culmination of a huge vision. After lunch, we sort out all of our team bags while the Nens kids have a rest time upstairs. It's Christmas time for this family. We have brought a huge amount of amenities for them - things we can get at any corner store back home and things they long for here. Cheerios, chocolate chips, Bible studies, Christmas napkins. Makes me wish that we had brought more - packages sent to Cameroon sometimes arrive, maybe arrive a year later or disappear forever. Our time this afternoon here is also great hanging out with the Nens' kids. They are a fun bunch.

We also spent the afternoon putting together our plan for the games segment for camp. Games will be run on the beach, in the later part of the afternoon. Gross youth type games won't go over here and most of our team aren't big fans of those anyway. Instead, we plan some relay-type games, with one of the goals to build community and relationships among the 6 different small groups that the camp will be broken into. As some of my mentors say, Cause Creates Community.

This trip, nor SPACE, isn't necessarily about this week. It is about shaping the future - specifically by preparing our students to engage culture and reach the world. Therefore, our leaders have purposely tried to stay out of the discussion about games and let the seven students brainstorm, decide and outline the plan of implementation. Although awkward and tense at times, our team prep time is a valuable experience - both for the leaders and students. Sometimes the most difficult task of a leader is to purposely stand down in order to force someone else to step up.

The evenings are spent back in the host homes where they have dinner together, continue to get to know one another and pack for the beach. Camp is tomorrow. Three hours on a bus with all of us to a beach/resort area called Kribi. 90% of Cameroons don't know how to swim. We will find tomorrow that none of them have ever been to the beach before. What is everyday for us in the States is nothing sort of the miraculous for them. And maybe vice versa.

Photos: Sorting through our team gear, trampoline time with the kids.

20060726Cameroon photoset

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