We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Out-of-Town Adventure, Part I

This past week, we took a little excursion with the church we’ve been attending. They called it a “conference” or “retreat,” and it looked a lot like a summer youth camp in the States. However, there were some noticeable differences from the camps we’ve attended in the past. Over the next few days, we’ll share with you some of our journal entries so you can get a taste of our experience.

Here’s a picture of the retreat center. There were about 100 of us there, including all the children. The ages ranged from Sawyer (three months) up to pretty old. There were several senior adults there who must be getting near 80. Lots of young families went, so Lee Anna had lots of friends to play with.

If there were 100 people there, 96 of them spoke really good Arabic (because they’ve been speaking it since birth!). Fortunately, there were several in their group with limited English-speaking skills, but overall we just heard lots and lots of Arabic all week. Because of that, we were pretty much in the dark the whole time about what was happening next. That got kind of frustrating, but when we decided to start asking more questions about the schedule, we found out that most of them didn’t have a clue what was happening next either! Schedules were not nearly as important as they were at all of the other camps we’ve ever attended.

Even so, there was a basic schedule that we followed each day. Here’s the rough (and very flexible) outline:
8:15—Wake Up Call (a.k.a. boys walking up and down the hall banging on everyone’s door loudly and repeatedly)
9:00—Breakfast (consists of bread, cheese, a boiled egg, and a bowl of something similar to refried beans, followed by hot tea)
10:00—Morning Sessions (sing some songs together, break for quiet time, get back together to sing and hear a speaker)
12:45—Free Time (a.k.a. Pool time)
3:30—Lunch (the big meal of the day—rice, meat, salad, etc., and fresh fruit for dessert)
4:15—More Free Time/Pool Time/Nap Time
6:30—Second Tea Time
7:00—Evening Sessions (more singing, sometimes small groups, sometimes large group with a speaker)
10:15—Organized Recreation Time
2 a.m. (or later)—Lights out

We must confess that we never quite made it to “Lights Out.” We’re just not yet inculturated enough to keep our 3-month-old and 2-year-old out until 2 a.m. Maybe after we’ve been here a little longer . . .

Keep watching for lots more stories from our week. It was quite an adventure!

1 comment:

  1. I love being able to hear about all you are doing. Sounds like you have some very long days (and I thought my schedule was busy). We love you guys and talk to dad regarding you often.
    Sandy & Melissa