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CSEN Community Service

A lot of things have happened in the past few weeks. I hardly know where to begin, so I'll start with the community service team I'm on. We still don't have internet back at our house, so I'm doing this from the office.

It has been my privilege this year to drive a group of high schoolers to the children's home. We call it "the orphanage", but the children there aren't orphans in the strictest sense. They are children at risk either from poverty, abuse, or neglect and CSEN provides a safe home for them. There they are fed, clothed, taught, and kept off the streets. Best of all, they learn about Jesus.(Daniel and Trae unintentionally dressed in almost the same shirt. They are both wearing #22 for Kaka, a Brazilian Christian football (soccer to the Americans) player.)

The Sahel students go once a week to play with the kids there. I provide transport, but I enjoy being with the kids, too. So the last day of our time with the kids, instead of going to their place we brought them all to Sahel Academy for a party. There are about 30 kids and we stuffed them all in two vehicles.

They played on the playground equipment for awhile, but the highlight was when somebody turned on the hose and started spraying the kids. There were shoes, shirts, and shorts strewn all over the school yard as they stripped right down to their undies to enjoy the cool, refreshing water. When it's over 100 degrees that hose sure feels good!

Moise has become my little buddy this year. He doesn't laugh a lot, but he loves being tossed up in the air. I can't really throw him....he's too heavy and my shoulder hurts....but holding him up high like this gets a good laugh out of him. You can see he's not too sure about it, though, because he's holding on to my shirt for dear life.

After playing for awhile, we had snacks for them. There were also some gifts for them. My dad used to always say he could tell when we'd had a party at school because we'd come home with Kool-Aid mustaches and glazed eyes. I think these kids went home looking the same way. They had so much sweet stuff to eat they probably were all hyper the rest of the afternoon and they probably all refused to eat their suppers!

The same day, as we were having our party, about half of the Grand Marche burned to the ground. I never have heard how the fire started, but many of the shops were made of plywood and tin and they burnt quickly, spreading from one little shack to the next. The firemen had a hard time containing the fire because the wind kept switching directions. Sadly, a lot of people lost their livelihood. It is a real blow to the local economy. I loved shopping at the Grand Marche, so I will really miss not being able to go there. Maybe when we return in two years it will be rebuilt. Check out John's blog for a full description of the fire: Here (click on the word "here").