Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, June 27th

Monday our first session of campers went home, which meant that we had a three day break before the second session of campers arrived. So what did I do? I finally was able to go to Boston for the first time since arriving, slept, visited Salem MA where the witch trials occurred, and went latin dancing in Cambridge.

There is a wonderful family that has been taking care of me named the Carmacks. They have not only given me--formerly a complete stranger before arriving--a ride to church every Sunday, they have fed me, given me a place to hang out on my day off (Sunday) where I have cell phone reception and don't have to muck around a cabin. On my free day off, the mom and daughter took me to see the sights. We first visited the Boston Temple, and then did something that made me tremendously happy: we found a Venezuelan restaurant! I haven't had Venezuelan food since I was in Venezuela, and the pabellon criollo, quesillo, and jugo de parchita tasted completely authentic! After that delightful experience, we took a swan boat, walked through the Boston Commons, and did some outdoor shopping in Faneuil Hall (which I pronounce Feng Shui because everyone says Faneuil differently as to confuse a person), and then returned back to Ashby.

Visiting Salem wasn't quite what I envisioned it to be....It was interesting but not as comprehensive historically as one might think. Much more touristy and make believe than I expected versus. facts and artifacts. Latin dancing was nice, because I sure have missed it--but the percentage of Latinos wasn't as high as it usually is dancing in Arizona.

But what do I not miss about Arizona? The heat!!! It sure can rain here, but I'd still take it any day over an AZ summer. Last year in the newspaper an old man in the Phoenix valley committed suicide, saying, "It's just too hot to go on."

Well, on to camp news. I think this session will be amazing. We have more kids--almost twice as many first years, for which I'm a team leader, but I'm just happy to be here from day 1 of this session, so that I can gain more of a relationship and rapport with the teens.

I pray every day for charity for the teens, so that I can respond to them in the most positive way possible (especially when they can be difficult), and I find that it makes a monumental difference for me. I'm already hearing some of the stories: one girl's father is in jail for life, one teen is trying to deal with their dad deciding to become a woman, one is homeless, etc. I'm grateful this is a five year program, and not just a summer camp that will come and quickly go.

I have a special assignment to watch over a teen named Carlos. Carlos is 14, and recently immigrated from El Salvador to meet his family here. He understands some English, and speaks less, but he is trying with everything he has. I speak to him in Spanish to make sure he understands the rules, to check in, and so that he knows he has someone he can fully explain himself to. His eyes light up when he tells me about his country, or when we swap stories about Latin America. His cabin mate, Feysal, is also an immigrant--he comes from Africa and has been here for about a year. While his English is much better than Carlos', his accent is still strong. But I have been so proud of that cabin, and the way that the other boys have been patient with Carlos, especially, helping him pronounce his English words.

My health has improved since the last blog...I have a feeling I'll struggle with it a little bit, but I think it's manageable. I'm definitely looking forward to the next four weeks!


Jenn said...

I love reading about what's going on in your life over there. I'm sure you're making a world of difference. It was great talking to you yesterday!

Amanda Hardman said...

that's so cool all the things you've done. it sounds like you're on a mini-mission!! so awesome