June 5th, 2017
This morning we were woken up (AGAIN) by Suzie singing. Although I’m sure it was meant well, it did not necessarily have the desired effect. What did wake me up though was the warm oatmeal and fruit that was for breakfast… and maybe the coffee helped a bit too. I had my quiet time out on the patio, but again it consisted of mostly just journaling. I was ready to go a little before 8:30 AM– our designated time to leave, but since my room wasn’t I decided to wait. Looking back on it, this may have been the wrong decision because a couple of minutes later Suzie came upstairs saying our van had already left. That was not entirely true, but they HAD already pulled out of the orphanage.
At the site, it was cement day– Joe’s favorite day. Because I wanted to be very careful of my foot, I brought my journal with me to the site and began my day by writing. Soon I was able to be of slight use and tie the wire around the metal rod pieces that were in our foundation. The rest of the morning was a continuation of odd jobs and picture taking. I had said I wanted to work on my photography this summer… I guess this was God giving me my chance in an unlikely way. Cement day required a lot of physical labor, so I got the job of reminding everyone to drink water.
The process of cement day went something like this: (1) carry buckets of sand and gravel to our site, (2) dump them into a pile,(3) dump two cement bags onto the pile, (4) create a volcano looking structure, (5) add water to the cement and mix, (6) continue adding water and mixing until the cement has the correct consistency, (7) add to the plot. This is basically what we did ALL day until our plot was full.
When there was a lull in the action, Jason, Krista, and I wandered over to the other site. Since their site was slightly smaller than ours, they were mixing the concrete directly IN their plot. Instead of going back with the other two, I opted to stay for a while and take pictures of the other group. Their family had consistently been at their site and there were two little girls and a baby boy that I got to play with and talk to. One of the girls had a flat slab with dirt on it so I drew a smiley face in it. This got her excited and we continued drawing pictures until she drew a picture of a house. I pointed to where the team was cementing and she got the biggest smile her face like, “Yeah, that’s going to be MY house.”
Around lunch time the kitchen crew came to visit us, so when they went to the other site (my site!), I went with them. Rachel had brought me ice so when we got back I iced my foot for a while. I was actually able to do some work, especially with simple tasks like filling water and whenever it got to be too much I just grabbed my journal and climbed onto the roof of a neighboring house.
Being up above everything that was going on really gave me a new perspective. I could see over the community and see the other Doxa homes that other groups had built. It showed that even though this is only a one week trip helping two families, we are part of a picture mission that is helping the entire community.
During my roof-top writing session, I was ambushed by three local children– Omar, Maria, and Joe. They were adorable, but they were also trouble-makers. They thought it would be funny to start calling me “Jenna loca” or “Jenna crazy.” Once I finished playing and attempting to talk with them, I decided to try to make myself more useful.
We were getting towards the end of the day and I knew everyone was tired so I wanted to make clean-up as easy as possible. I asked Dave what we were going to do with all of the empty cement bags and he said we should see if we could burn them. I went over to the “burn pile” area with Alex and we found a flame still going that we were able to build up. Once we finished our bags, we went to the other site to grab and burn those. They were further behind us so Jerry asked if we could possibly send some help over when we were finished.
When we got back to our site, Suzie and Rachel were still helping so I headed to the other site to help them. I felt as though I fit right in and they didn’t see me as injured. We powered through two more volcanoes and get the entire foundation cemented just in time.
Back at the orphanage, it was going to be one of my three shower days, but I found out that the water was currently not working. It all worked out though because Nikki and Alex had a couple hundred baby wipes our room was able to use. By the time we felt at least slightly cleaner, it was dinner-time. Dinner was beef tacos with the orphanage. We sat with a little boy who enjoyed dabbing and calling me “poop.” His name was Diego and he kept us entertained for the entirety of the meal.
After dinner, we went upstairs to the main balcony area and waiting for chapel time to start. It was freezing cold, but luckily Dylan had a fuzzy blanket that he reluctantly shared with me. Chapel was similar to the previous evening and my word of the day was “perspective.” Being injured allowed me to gain many new perspectives, whether that was through working at the other site, seeing the bigger picture on the roof, or the various angles photography brings.
The day ended after I crushed Katie and Joe in a game of Dutch Blitz. Back in the room, we stayed up WAY too late talking and I ended up falling asleep in Katie’s bed and only switching to my own somewhere in the middle of the night.