This year's camp's slogan "Come Let's Grow" has had significant meaning, and as the week has progressed, it has become more meaningful to all of us. Within one week's time the kids have grown, as well as the rest of us.
Today, that literal significance was reflected in the kids taking their seeds that were planted in a cup on the first day and transferring them to the garden we have in the back yard. It will be fun and interesting for the kids to see how those seeds grow. A tree was also painted on the wall in the centre, and each child, volunteer and translator put a green hand print on the tree for "leaves." The afternoon was taken up with the Hope Shine's traditional dance-off competition between the groups, as well as a "graduation" of signed camper certificates, best camper in each group awards, and goodie bags and the cake and Fanta party with music and dancing at the end of the day. That was a blast, and the mamas who made our daily lunches even joined in the festivities.
The day ended with Expo, my favorite day, which is a big event of vendors, music, and lots of people, including a number of our "old" campers we bumped in to and were thrilled to see all grown up!
This week and experience really has been one of healthy challenge and growth, for both us and the kids. We've gotten to know and bond with them well very quickly. It's been challenging and emotional for them and us, but so rewarding and meaningful, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. As the week progressed, the kids' morning welcome got closer and closer to the road we arrived on in the van, to the point where they were running up to the van smiling and shouting to greet us as we rounded the corner... The hugs and the love showered upon us in pure gratitude and joy made us all realize that yes, this was worth it, and yes, this is why we went into this, and for some of us to see that impact and happiness, why we return year after year.
4th Year Volunteer