Youth Camp: Day 1

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Aug 02, 2009

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We had breakfast at 8:00 and were to have driven out to the camp location about 9:00, but Mr. Mundeli was delayed, so he didn't arrive with the taxi (and one of usual drivers: Samuel) until 10:30. We drove into Kigali and then out the other side on the road that would take one to Ruhengeri, Goma or Cynagugu. It’s also the road toward the Mundeli’s village of Remera.

We arrived in the village and turned in toward the technical school which we will be using for camp. The drive out from our hotel took about half an hour. We were introduced to the director, who knows and respects Mr. Mundeli which is how the site had been made available to us. We toured the playing fields we will have available, saw where the dorms were located, and where the classrooms are one of which we will be using for our classes. We also saw the refectory which we may use for services next Sabbath when we hope to have all the members from Rwanda gather.

We finished our tour around noon, and drove back to the hotel to have lunch and pick up the supplies we needed to begin the camp.

We arrived back a little before 3:00 pm, and greeted the campers. We were originally to have had more than 20, then the number dropped to 17, and toward the last moment 3 who were going to come found they had some makeup testing at school and wouldn’t be able to come. So we have 14 official campers and one young adult who pleaded so convincingly that Mr. Mundeli accepted him even though he’s in his 20s. That would present a problem in the US or Europe, but I don’t foresee a problem here. We have several other young adults who speak French and a little English, who can help as translators, and we have 4 ladies volunteering in the kitchen to keep the campers and staff fed.

I began the camp with an introductory presentation about why the Church sponsors camps. I explained that our young people have access to God if they will use it, and that we want to help them develop their personal relationships with their Creator. We want to help them establish their lives on a Biblical foundation, and we want them to see that one can have a lot of good clean fun as a Christian too! I gave some simple camp rules: Honor God in what we do, respect yourself, others, and the equipment, be encouraging and positive, and be careful of what we say and how we say it. After that I introduced our visiting staff from France and the US, and we distributed camp T-shirts and took a camp photo before they had the chance to get dirty.

We asked God’s blessing on the camp that was beginning and then started the active activities with some team building games. These games are to help the campers think through problems and plan strategies, and to think in terms of making the whole group succeed and not just individual performance.  Daniel and Cindy organized and ran these games.

The first was the name game, to help the staff learn the campers' names. One had to throw a ball to another person in a circle, but call his name first.  Then came the carrying game, where everyone must be carried from one side of the field to the other. Once one is carried over, he may not come back, but the carriers must come back so they can be carried in their turn. The last person only is dispensed from being carried. The strategy is not to leave a small person to carry a very large person at the end, and to go as quickly as possible. They had great fun and the laughter started quickly. Seeing the foreigners, the matching T-shirts, and hearing the laughter, a small crowd of local children and adults started forming to watch.

The next game was the human knot: each member of a circle of people grasps the right hand of the person directly across from them and the left had of any other person. This creates a knot. Then they have to untie themselves by turning around, stepping over and under and around each other to finally form a circle again with not crosses arms. The first of two groups succeeded in a few minutes, but the second took 45 minutes. It was a test of patience, but with some coaching, application and lots of perseverance, they finally succeeded as well.

We walked back to our classroom to debrief and give instructions for the evening. It was dark by the time we left. Mr. Mundeli and the local staff took over for the rest of the evening and the night. We four visitors drive back to town where we changed and took a taxi to a little Italian restaurant called Sole Luna with great pizzas and a plunging view on the hills of Kigali.

Day one of camp was an encouraging success.
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Where I stayed
Bloom Hotel
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par2lalemonde on

Bon camp à tous
Content que tout, apparemment se passe bien. Un chaleureux bonjour à Dan et Cindy, à Doc, à M. Mundeli, à vous grand Meeker devant l'Eternel, et aux campeurs et adultes servant. Nous sommes de tout coeur avec vous en pensée et prions pour tous, y compris pour l'absence d' accidents.

Fraternellement à tous, avec amour

Bernard Hongerloot

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