Thursday, July 12, 2012

Haiti: Day Two - Preparations

Today began around 8 a.m. for me….some others got up earlier to eat breakfast, but as I’m not much of a morning person, I opted for the extra hour of sleep J At our first meeting today, we began immediately to organize supplies, snacks, toys, school items, clothing, medical, and spa items for the kids who will be our campers. I was awestruck by the quantity of what people were able to bring: whole suitcases of shoes & socks, art supplies, musical instruments so each camper can participate, balloons, toys, tons of kinds of snacks, materials for the spa day they will experience, and much more. Many items were donated by people or organizations, but many were brought by the Red Thread Promise counselors.
After a break, we went back into the meeting room and learned how to operate the walkie/talkie units – that was fun….lots of interesting code names have sprung up during the day. Then, Matt read us the names of the campers to which we will be assigned. It was amazing to hear past counselors talk about each camper, sharing things such as: how to pronounce their name, age, their abilities, habits, funny stories, games they liked, and more. It was heartwarming and you can really tell that they care about these kids very much. It was evident that true relationships had been formed - tears were shed when talking about their young friends. We are here to make a difference and to establish trust and love and to show them that we aren't just coming to drop off supplies and then walk away. We all can’t wait until they get here tomorrow and to play with them!!!
Then we went around the resort facility to see where wheelchair accessibility is, talked about pool safety, beach safety, and who to call for various needs. Some of the campers will have caregivers with them from St. Vincent’s, as they are wheelchair bound, have prosthetic limbs, have issues eating and/or wear undergarments that may need changing. Almost all of them will have some hearing deficit and many are blind. So, I am planning music activities accordingly. In one of the meetings, we talked about art and the projects that art therapist Kelly will do. Then, we moved on to music and I gave various ideas. Andrew is the main music counselor and Casey (athletics) will help us – he even brought his guitar. We will use Boomwhackers, all sorts of percussion instruments, and I brought a boombox (to leave with them) and about 30 CDs of all sorts. I know that we will treat the campers to a relaxing spa treament day at the end of next week. I think it was also decided that we will offer a giant dance night at the end of the camp! Fun!
I helped make nametags with Kelly during the afternoon and right now, we are on free time til dinner. After dinner, we will have one more meeting. The kids show up tomorrow at 9 a.m. and it will be a joyful chaos while we get them settled in. I’m told our hours will be about 7 a.m. til 11 p.m. “on” so that we’d better take advantage of today so I am blogging now (to post after dinner), then going to go swimming, sit in the shade of a tree down on the beach, and maybe read a little bit. I am definitely in withdrawal from following and contributing to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, but every now and then when I can check the internets, it makes me feel good and connected to do so.
Here is last night's sunset, post-storm. Man, Oh man! It POURED tonight as well. The internet was out for a portion of today and I never got in the water after all. No worries, we're all in the open-air lobby area listening to Casey and Andrew play guitar and sing. It's nice and everybody's relaxed.


Randall said...

I'm liking the updates. It sounds like there's SO MUCH going on! Not sure who's going to be worn out more, the campers or counselors! How's the temperature been with the rain and such? It's been raining here pretty much every day since you left, so not so hot.
anticipating your next post...

Randall said...

Sounds like a wonderful time, a growing time for all involved.