“That was the best sleep EVER!” Words expressed by Heather but echoed by everyone. We all woke at 6am, gathered at the tower to chat and observe as the local men walked to the bridge hoping for work in the rice fields. An early rise is the norm at HATS. Many of the norms are different then what we are accustomed to; no Tim’s, no Fruit Loops, no rushing to start the chaos of the day. Positivity, laughter, and joy are everywhere. Smiling children in their school uniforms greet us before their school day began, and Jonathon, 3 years old, says a prayer. As the children run off to school, all the workers, our team, and Karen met for devotions.
|School Children in porch ready for school|
|Todd at devotions|
Anticipating the “main event” of the day, Don’s arrival with his passport in hand, Lacee and Karen, start to plan his special welcome. The others went off to the church to assess the chores needing to be done. Painting the exterior wall and interior touch ups would keep us busy most of the day.
|Heather and Emma|
|Heather and Lacee|
|Jenny & Shirley|
We took a break at recess and went to visit the school kids. Heather and Shirley were so overwhelmed with the friendliness, happiness, and love of them all. Smoke could also be seen from the school kitchen as the workers prepare lunch for the 400 school children.Our team raised $20 000 to be used to purchase food for the school. They get a snack at recess and a nutritious lunch each day. This reminded us all of the importance of our team fundraising over the past year; BBQ’s, bake sales, variety show, etc. We are so thankful for all the outstanding support we have received.
|Lacee & students|
|Shirley & Heather|
|Heather & students|
|Lady stirring rice at school|
Just before noon, we are told “Mr. Comic” is 15 minutes away. The team and Karen prepare for an unprecedented welcome outside the compound door. Don arrives passport in hand only to be told “SORRY NO VACANCY!” but his bed was ready outside. Laughter could be heard from everyone including local folks watching nearby and the school staff. The truth is however we are delighted that he has arrived because this visit wouldn’t be the same without Don.
|Team welcoming Don|
As we continued to do our painting in the afternoon, the mystery of where Don found his passport is yet to be revealed to all! Did he find it in his pants pocket? Driveway? Basement? Blouse or purse? Stay tuned…
~Heather & Todd