We kicked off the morning with a brief worship from Doug about how sharing the blessings God brings to us can continue to bless others, and how we can always be forgiven from our sins just by bringing them to the feet of Jesus. As David said, “…wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).
On the way to Small Steps, we saw the locals in their church attire heading to the Adventist church. It sparked a bit of home-sickness in me to see them dressed so nicely and walking to church with big smiles on their faces. It’s incredible how the God we love and worship on the other side of the world is adored as dearly here. Once we arrived at Small Steps, it was worship time! We picked interactive songs that the girls could dance along to; however, it seemed like they had just woken up, for none of them wanted to be up and moving! Each girl claimed a lap to sit on and refused to budge. “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” was done in between yawns. We got the girls up and we had them dancing (somewhat reluctantly) to “Making Melodies.”
They were about to sit down and doze off until they heard Beth sing out, “Presents!!!” They opened a suitcase to reveal two stuffed dogs and two stuffed bears – one for each girl! They immediately fell in love with their new fuzzy friends and would not set them down. We played with the girls and their toys until it was time to get down & dirty for our first day of working at Small Steps. The girls (and the stuffed animals) begged to tag along; Maureen led the way to the field despite all of us trying to turn her around! We finally got to work when all the girls were pacified and safely at home.
The job assigned for us today was to clear the fields after the grass had been chopped with machetes; we had to make grass-piles with rakes and carry them to big bonfires. I sang to pass the time, while Elivia thought it would be a good idea to do her leg exercises in between carrying piles (she was the first to get tired). The teenagers lasted maybe two hours before we completely ran out of steam; the work wasn’t even close to being done but everyone was pooped. We walked back to the house to say goodbye to the girls and then drove out to the Mount Meru Game Lodge for lunch with the wild animals.
Our table was outside and just 50 feet away was a watering hole where a variety of animals roamed around it. The zebras and peacocks were not people-shy at all; they walked right up to the wall where we were allowed to stand. It’s not every day that you’re munching on a hamburger and you turn to see a zebra staring right at you!
After lunch, we decided to visit the Snake Farm, where we had the chance to ride camels. We were very excited and ready to get there as quickly as possible; it turns out, however, the Snake Farm was about an hour and a half away from the hotel, and there was no warning as to how insane driving in Africa is. We shot in and out of the left lane (they actually drive on the left here) to pass slow cars and almost ran head-on into oncoming traffic. I was holding on to Elivia for dear life as the backseat squealed in terror. And we thought Florida traffic was bad!!!!! We finally made it to the Snake Farm and we kissed the ground as we stumbled out of the van. Camel rides were about $1 each for quick lap around the facility. Riding the camel wasn’t so bad; the view was nice since they’re so tall and their footsteps were slow but easy. Getting on and off was a different story. Camels have long legs so it was a two-step process for them to sit down, and it was a rocky ride to the ground! It was a short adventure but an adventure nonetheless. There are so many opportunities in Africa to see God’s beautiful creatures that we don’t have over in the States. I am so blessed to be here. Shout out to my family, Amanda, Jilly, and Trent! I miss y’all & I promise I’m bringing gifts back. I love you guys!