East Africa Update #7

Eje!

Our last morning on the island has arrived. We are heading out in about 2 hours. Getting word back has been a bit of a challenge the last few days, but we are all doing well.

Thursday we all went up into a local village where many of the workers stayed for the first few weeks of their time on the island to get a better feel for the culture and to quickly get introduced to the island. The village was very welcoming and friendly. This culture is all about speeches, so we walked the village for several hours, stopping at different houses, meeting different people, and giving and receiving speeches. They fed a great meal at lunch of fish and potatoes at one of the prominent homes. We stopped for sugar cane and coconuts at another home. Basically, this village was very proud of its heritage and wanted our team to see and hear the people and stories.

A short drive down the road was a village where we had run clinics the first week. They wanted to play our teams in friendly matches. So we headed over there mid-afternoon to try and get two games in before the sun went down. The ladies played first and it was quite the setting. The court sits etched into the side of the mountain on one side and dropped off down the hill on the other. The view of the island and the ocean from the court is breathtaking. Lining the court (literally inches from the sideline all the way around) were the villagers. They set up the loudspeakers for music and color commentating during the game.

The ladies lost their match by 1 point, but we are not exactly sure how it happened. Whole quarters may have disappeared, no one ever really knew how much time was left, etc. It was great! It was such a party when the locals won that it was totally worth it. No one could hear themselves speak or even talk to someone inches away the music was so loud.

The guys played next into the dark of the night. A neon ball would have been quite helpful. The guys were down two team members so it was a bit of a struggle. The game went back and forth before we lost by 6. You would have thought the NBA Finals were captured in this village for the first time in history. An absolute dance party erupted on the court when the final whistle (or what we assume was the final whistle) blew. People were dancing, shaking hands, giving gifts, taking pictures … it was quite a site to behold.

It did not end there. They took us to one of the homes where they laid out a spread on the floor for our team of chicken, bread, and some other local delicacies. It was delicious. We filled our now empty bellies and then, of course, everyone gave speeches.

We got home and had our last team time together. These times have been so great! It has been awesome! Our last team time of debriefing was very special as the team has gotten so close and there is true Christian love in this group. Hard to describe, as it usually is, but God has done some amazing work in this group. Praise the Lord!

Friday half the group climbed a hill and got some awesome views of the island and just enjoyed some of the beauty of God’s creation. The other half of the group went shopping to pick up some gifts to take home. We met at noon at a local hotel for swimming, soccer, snorkeling, and just hanging out. It was nice to get away together on the last day to debrief as a larger team and to enjoy being together before we say good-bye.

We saw some beautiful fish, jumped off the rocks into the water, and caught a glorious sunset on the ocean horizon.

We spent our last night together eating island burritos and playing crazy games with about 35 people. Craziness abounded here. We said our good-byes to our team and then got ready for bed.

We leave in about 2 hours and are looking forward to the 2-day trip home:). God is good. Thanks for praying for us and please continue as we arrive home Sunday night.

Much love from the team!

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