Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hitting Our Stride

Tuesday in Mish it felt like we fell into a rhythm with everyone leaving the school soon after breakfast to set up and start activities for the children at around 11.00, with Joyce and I staying back to make lunch for the team and children and following soon after. 

Arranging food for 11 of us and 30-50 children was something we had planned ahead for. Food is so expensive in the nearby town of Pickle Lake that we wanted to be as self sufficient as possible.

We had made large casseroles and frozen them for our main meals and they traveled well, staying frozen in coolers on our three day journey to Mish. What didn't travel as well were the frozen hamburger patties intended for a barbecue Paul wanted to put on for the community. They all thawed out on the journey so on Monday we cooked them all and ate some of them for supper, but that still left a bunch of cooked patties to use up. Rebecca had the great idea of chopping them up and putting them with pasta for lunch!

So on Tuesday, after everyone left, Joyce and I chopped what felt like a never ending pile of patties.We had a vast quantity of spaghetti bubbling away in a big pot on the stove. And then we spotted some spaghetti sauce in our supplies on the shelf. I hesitated only momentarily before opening a couple of jars of sauce and throwing them in with the cooked spaghetti and hamburger chunks; adding some ketchup for zestiness. All the time the clock was ticking and we knew hungry children would be waiting. 

Photograph by Susan C. Stewart
How to carry the resulting mess of spaghetti to the community centre? We poured it all into a big cooler to keep it hot; dashed it out to the car with another cooler full of freezies, and some cookies baked by another Joyce at our church. We gathered up paper plates and cups; and like paramedics running to an emergency, we bumped our way down the sandy road to the community centre, picking up children along the way. 
Photograph by Susan C. Stewart

Our pasta dish was a rip roaring success, as were the helium balloons the rest of the team had been blowing up for the children. According to Susan, who took these photos, Paul started out being very serious with the children about holding tight onto their balloons, but as one after another escaped, riotous fun ensued, with funny high pitched helium voices and laughter and Paul madly trying to keep up with the task of getting balloons into the hands of children that had lost theirs. The young man in the white shirt is Jacob, who was on our team with Nayah, a girl, as two youth from the community; giving them a chance to learn leadership skills as they helped.

Photograph by Susan C. Stewart
Joyce and I gave out the most popular treat of all--freezies! Susan had the great idea later of cutting them in the middle and handing them out in halves. 50 freezies a day vanished quickly in the heat!

Photograph by Susan C. Stewart
Christy had prepared an amazing array of activities that kept the children busy from 11-3 every day. They played parachute games; had their faces painted; made picture frames; played with bubbles and shot hoops with A.J. in the community centre--when they weren't chasing him with water guns. A.J. quickly became the children's target of choice!  

It was Tuesday and we felt as though we were hitting our stride.

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