Outdoor Ed Stuff

20 Feb

For the last month plus plus, most of my time, energy, and prayers were committed to Outdoor Ed! Every year, the middle school goes to an area of the Philippines for education, ministry, and fun! Thankfully, the Philippines has WWII history (so they go to Corregidor one year), it’s in the Ring of Fire (so they visit Taal volcano another year), and they have a jungle/beach, so that’s where we went this year.

I was part of the kitchen crew, so we spent the weeks prior planning the menu, shopping, organizing all the cookware, and getting each venue’s food situation set up. We also did as much cooking ahead of time as possible.

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It was my first time cooking for mass quantities for sure!

One of the dishes we precooked was pulled pork. It was amazing. We slow-cooked pork cubes for a long time and then I put them in my mixer, flipped the switch, and thirty seconds later, it was shredded!

We spent a long time in this room, planning for OE! That whiteboard was full of lists and info for a few weeks. Once we were ready to go, it felt good to erase it all! Here is everything packed up and ready to go!

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My friend who was the one in charge of the kitchen crew, has a son in between Sim and Caleb’s age, so there were a few times that I took them both to my independent PE class to burn off some energy.

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When the day to leave finally came, it felt great to stop planning and start doing! It felt the same as marathon day for me. No more training or anticipating–just doing!

After a 3 hour drive into the province, 5 of us hit the grocery store where we had pre-ordered as much as we could.

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Then we had to check it all and pay for it! It took a couple of hours!

 

By the end, we were fast friends with the cashier, guards, and guys helping!

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After that, we drove the 40 minutes of curvy, nausea-inducing roads to our base camp that was to be our home for the next week. We set up our kitchen (that had no refrigerator!), set up our deep freezers, got all the food organized, set up our market delivery and water delivery. Thankfully, the wonderful seniors who served on staff unloaded all the groceries for us!

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This was base central. Kim did an excellent job having us prepared, so we just had to check down the list each day. A number of people remarked how chill everything went in the kitchen this year!

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That night, the staff went out to dinner together at a Subic favorite, Texas Joes. By the end of the night, we crawled into the bed exhausted, which was a little terrifying since the middle schoolers hadn’t even arrived yet!

The next morning, we woke up at 4:30am to get the staff fed. Then we all worshipped together before heading in our different directions.

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After that, the Jungle crew headed out to their venue. We had all their meal prepared for them and we had spent a long time the night before looking for the two packages of penne pasta that knew we had bought for them! We went to bed annoyed that we never found it and had to give them other pasta from the base supply.

In the morning, we discovered that we hadn’t lost our minds! A dog or some other creature had busted into our supply and ate some cookies, coffee creamer, and the penne pasta! (Interesting choices in my opinion…) We found it all sprawled in the back yard.

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Monday into Tuesday was our busiest time because that’s when all 245 of us were at base camp! This is another 5am photo–we listened to a lot of music and drank a lot of coffee to keep these smiles going!

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During one of our drives into town, we saw and heard and smelled all of these big bats! See the tree beneath them? Those trees are mostly bare. All of those leaf-looking things are hanging bats!

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It was so fun when the students arrived on Monday afternoon! The camp was filled with excitement and energy. I was especially happy to see Kenz! She went immediately to the 9-square court.

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On Tuesday morning, we had to get everyone fed, get them to pack their lunches, and head to their next destination. One group went to JEST–Jungle Environment Survival Training. The kids hiked 30 minutes into the jungle with all of their gear and were trained by naturalists, wildlife trackers, wilderness skills instructors, and environmental field technicians. They built fires, used machetes to make bamboo water reservoirs, made their own plate and utensils for their dinner, and created their shelter for the night. In their free time, there was a river and waterfall to play in. In the morning, they had to hike out, which I hear was the worst part of the week because it was uphill with their gear. But FA’s theme this year is In Christ We Do Hard Things, so there you go!

Another group went to the Pawikan (tagalog for “turtle”) Conservation Center. Here the kids learned all about turtles and how they come up onto the beach to lay their eggs. The process is thoroughly interesting and someday we’re going to go up there as a family to experience it! The best part of the week for all the kids I’m sure, was that they got to release baby turtles into the ocean!

I didn’t get to go to that site, but someone snapped a pic of Kenzie with her baby turtle. The videos of these little guys hustling to the ocean are precious! On the other hand, its agonizing to watch some of them who don’t want to go to the ocean. Apparently, you can’t take them all the way in, so if they stop, you just have to leave them there, where they will mostly likely become prey. But it’s part of their process to get into the ocean on their own because that’s where they will return to lay their own eggs, so it just a part of the great circle of life. Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama!

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The third group stays at base and went to a local school to do ministry.

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We kept the base group fed and happy, especially with the frozen watermelon that we walked around with. In the mornings, all the groups would come back to base, shower and repack for their next site, pack their lunch and head out. During this time, one of the middle school girls found this little guy in their bag area. I don’t even want to know if the snake was in their bag or wandered in from outside.

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The crazy part was that the group of 7th grade girls who found it were all giggly with it and squealed to me, “look there’s a snake in here!” It’s a good thing I didn’t vocalize what went through my mind, but I went and found a guy to finish him! I still can’t believe that he had to tell the girls to stop playing with it!

Later that day, we found a dog jaw bone in the yard. What in the world?!

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I was able to grab Kenzie for a quick pic during one of her transition times. It was fun to be on the kitchen crew because we would sneak our kids and their squads extra treats or the Sweet Baby Ray’s that I brought from home.

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Everyone was so sweet and supportive of us! We had a few wrinkles happen, but for the most part, everything went so well and we definitely felt the Lord’s blessing on the entire week! Everyday, we’d have about an hour to go back to our room and rest. It felt like heaven!!! Every night, when we’d climb into bed, we had that exhausted happy feeling that comes with working hard and serving others!

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On Thursday night, we had more free time, as our only responsibilities the next day were packing up and feeding breakfast to the base kids. So we drove back into town and had foot massages! It felt so so amazing on our tired legs!

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Here we are right before leaving the site. These women were such a blessing to work with! Everyone got along so well and we have so many memories from our week together!

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Here’s the before and after of our stock room.

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I’m so happy that my first OE is under my belt! I imagine that I’ll be doing this for ummm…another 10+ years, so it’ll be nice to not be a rookie anymore. Although, next year will be on an island, so we won’t be able to scoot into town for forgotten items or foot massages, so it’ll be a little more challenging!

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