Today was our first full day in Sierra Leone. When we arrived last night the kids were already in bed, but knowing that they had visitors arriving they were all peaking out their windows waiting to say hello. The aunties sang for us as we walked up.
Today did not go all that great for me to start with. I wasn’t feeling well on our flight from Brussels to Sierra Leone. I was guessing it was a combination of exhaustion and dehydration and was hoping that a good night’s sleep would be all I’d need. Sleep didn’t come all that easy as I woke up sick in the night. Being sick at home is no fun. Being sick thousands of miles from home is terrible. I spent most of the day not feeling great, but thankfully by evening I was feeling better.
Since I wasn’t feeling well I don’t feel like I got to know the kids and interact with them as much as I would have liked. Trent and I did connect with a little boy named Kevin. He has Trent convinced that we sponsor him, but the little boy’s name that we sponsor does not look like “Kevin.” We are waiting to unpack our checked bags where we have a gift for him and his name. The other little girl I connected with is Kadija. She is six years old and all kinds of cute and happy.
Trent and Kevin…
We started our day with a welcome ceremony. Some of the older girls led everyone in songs as they sang for us. Their ability to sing is amazing.
Right after the welcome ceremony we transitioned into worship. Worship was a little different here. It is community worship, but it is mostly kids from the center with a few others from the community. It amazed me how the kids were able to sit through two and a half hours of worship. Kevin sat with us through much of the worship. I think that he secretly just wanted my camera. The kids love to take your camera and take pictures. It was funny because he would take my camera, but he would only look at the screen because he didn’t know how to take a picture.
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the kids and relaxing. June is the beginning of the raining season in Sierra Leone. Today was the first time it has rained since we’ve been here. A dark cloud popped up in the sky followed by a gust of wind and the next thing I knew, it was pouring.
These boys loved playing in the rain…
One thing I am learning quickly is that things in Sierra Leone are not always consistent or guaranteed. Example, we have no running water. No running water means no showers, but bucket baths. I didn’t even know that this was a possibility. It is incredibly difficult to wash longer hair in a bucket bath. So tonight, when it was raining, I took full advantage of the rain and washed my hair under a downspout. The rainwater was chilly, but refreshing. If I’m lucky, it will probably be my main way of bathing while I am here! Public power is also sketchy in Sierra Leone. It is probably off more than it is on. They have generators that run from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and we are lucky to get power from the generator during the day too, because where we are staying is connected to the office where they are working. Tonight the generator went out when I was at devotion time in one of the girls apartments. It was pitch black. I immediately began to wish I have brought my flashlight with me to devotions (I make sure I am holding it when I fall asleep at night). Thankfully, the power came back on pretty quickly.
I was really happy today to finally be able to meet the kids. I am very grateful to be feeling better and looking forward to our busy day tomorrow.