2015 Kaya Vision Trip Day 4

Day 4

We apologize that this blog post did not get posted last weekend. Due to connectivity issues in the jungle and other technical difficulties, we recently realized it was never sent.

Saturday morning we woke up in a truly amazing place, surrounded by lush green vegetation and the sounds of various wildlife. The previous day we had loaded up three buses, and  drove down the mountain with some VERY excited children. It was almost dark when we arrived, and there was little time to appreciate the beauty surrounding us. 

It was a difficult night for some of the teams, keeping in mind that many of these children have never left the city and never slept on real mattresses ( much less bunk beds or in some quarters triple bunk beds!), and now they are surrounded by a team of well-meaning, but strange Americans. Our littlest friends took it the hardest, making for a tearful and mostly sleepless night in their quarter. 

But morning brought renewed excitement and curiosity. After a delicious breakfast that was served fast and efficiently, we started with the VBS opening worship.  Michelle and Shari did an awesome job leading, narrating in both Spanish and English, and our team was enthusiastic when singing the songs (in Spanish!) and shouting the Bible point response "Yippee", encouraging the kids to join in. 

Then we headed outside for some game time. It was heart-warming to see these kids just being kids. 

Arts and crafts were next, and most of the children wore their creations proudly the rest of the weekend! 

We gathered for another session of skits and songs before lunch. Watching these kids praise the Lord is a pretty humbling experience. They have all faced (and are still facing) some incredible challenges, yet they worship with such passion, their voices ringing loud and true. And believe or not, children in Bolivia like doing motions to songs, just as much as our children in Elkhorn, NE!

Lunch is a substantial meal here, usually two courses, soup and then the main dish. The main dish is often beef or chicken served with pasta or rice, and it's large portions. It was a sobering thought when we realized that the children that were with us in camp that don't live in Kaya homes, rely on the Kaya center to provide a hot meal once a day on the weekdays...meaning no one really knows what and when they are able to eat on the weekends.

We followed up lunch with free time, which meant la pecina (the swimming pool) was FINALLY open. Many of our team were reluctant to get in the pool at first, but when we realized how excited the children were and that they needed all the help they could get once they were in the water, it wasn't very hard to change our mind. For most of us who braved the pool, it was the highlight of our day. The water was refreshing and cleansing, the children were excited yet terrified, and they needed us, they truly needed us. There were constant shouts of "me next, me next".  

After free time, we played more games outdoors. I wish we had recorded the laughter!

After the closing worship and a light dinner, we were treated to a talent show. The teams each performed: singing, dancing, breakdancing, acrobatics, guitar playing and even a human pyramid! They were great sports and proud to show their individual talents.

At lights out, most of the children nodded off pretty quickly and slept more soundly than the previous night.

It was an amazing experience to see all of the Kaya Vision Team stepping out of their comfort zones to ensure these kids and the Kaya staff had an incredible weekend. Evidence of God's hand and His love were seen, heard and felt everywhere. Our team really got a feel for how invested the Kaya staff is in the children of Bolivia. They treat them with love, respect and discipline when needed. In return, these children open their hearts and begin to tear down the walls that have been built as a result of unspeakable abuse, neglect, and circumstances beyond their control. 

It was a great start to our trip. As we talked through the logistics of what it took to make this trip happen, it made it even more powerful. It may never happen again exactly like this, but I think the whole team and staff look forward to another opportunity to treat these children to a few moments when they can just be kids and not think about their day to day struggles.

Thank you again for all your prayers, they are being answered daily.

Gera and the Kaya Vision Team