They hadn't even finished unloading from the bus when I pulled my sunglasses down to hide the tears. It only took a few minutes to know for certainty a couple things.
1. They are thrilled to be at Camp Jake... a majority of them for the second time.
2. There are a lot of them and with that a huge range of handicaps. There are several blind and deaf campers as well as a fair amount in wheelchairs, all with unique stories and needs.
3. They love, love, LOVE each other and care for each other well.
I could honestly talk about the first day and some of the campers we've learned the stories of for awhile, but in effort to make sure I actually keep up with the posts I'm not going to put every detail onto these pages. I hope to share enough to let the family and friends supporting us from home feel connected to us and what's happening here.
Today was a total whirlwind. It was emotional, it was fast paced and slow moving all at the same time (I'm learning about Haitian time and how to tame my Type A tendencies quickly), and it was intense.
Getting 45 campers into their rooms across two floors (some in wheelchairs) was tough. Helping to get them seated and fed was also tough. But getting them into the water to relax and swim which they don't have the opportunity to do at the orphanage was easy. Getting them to grab instruments and participate in creating music (for a couple hours) was also easy. The best part is that the music came as a plan B for tonight's activities... only when our French dvds wouldn't play on the American dvd player did we have a change of plans. Regardless, it didn't make much difference. On a whim a few of the musically inclined counselors started playing the guitar and drums at the end of dinner for fun and that quickly transpired into a camp-wide activity that only thunder and lightning could out a stop to.
To avoid the storm we piled into our meeting space and picked the beat right up where they left off. The most beautiful part was when the songs turned into worship music, completely at their direction. When they started singing, "We Worship You" I honestly couldn't take it. I teared up watching them sing those lyrics from the heart. I know it sounds cliche, but it was anything but. This group is faced with some hard challenges daily and despite that their faith is like a rock. They sing with pure joy in their hearts. It's inspiring and not something I'll soon forget... you simply can't forget such beautiful souls.