Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Backyard Adventure in Amatongas

There was no way I could adequately cover this volunteer trip in one blog post so you will have to put up with a few more.

I knew from the beginning the kids would love the new playground, but I wasn't prepared for such a response. Since the completion last week there is not a second when the playground isn't full kids. It's almost like they have never seen a swing before, which is probably not far from the truth, certainly not a tire swing or rock wall.

Thank you once again Chuck and Amy Saia at Backyard Adventures in Baton Rouge. You will never fully realize the impact of your gift to these kids. I know you will appreciate the smiling faces in these pictures.

One minute there's 20 and the next there's 30-40 

Some are just not sure about the rock wall

Tire swing is a huge hit, just need 10 more

Still waiting on sand for the sand boxes...

...and one more beam for more swings

HIA group is welcomed by the dancing group at the primary school
Thanks again to the HIA volunteers who built the playground.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Love Our Volunteers

We love our volunteers! Nine young people from the Baton Rouge, La. area arrived here in Amatongas a few weeks ago and spent 12 days working on many projects. Their time here will be remembered for many years to come because it was not just about the projects. The volunteers were able to build lasting friendships with our students and the children of Amatongas. We hope the volunteers felt our welcome and thankfulness for their work and for the joy they brought and spread throughout our little village. Here are just a few pictures from their visit. I will post more pictures in a few days.

I have written before about our relationship with Health Initiatives Abroad (HIA). The group of volunteers from HIA put together a blog about their visit with us and you can read it by clicking here We know that HIA would not be able to do such great work without help. Thank you to everyone who make their mission possible.

The first of many welcomes at the primary school

A great big thank you goes to Chuck and Amy Saia at Backyard Adventures in Baton Rouge. Chuck is my classmate from Catholic High, 1984. Chuck and Amy also sponsor one of our orphans, Timoteo. Chuck and Amy donated all the equipment needed to build the playground. The playground is the first in Amatongas and the only playground I have seen in the whole area. Many kids have basically lived at the playground since its construction and I will post more pictures soon.
Many spectators for the playground project

The playground makes a statement for the area

The volunteers also taught health classes in the primary school. They were able to give the students toothbrushes and toothpaste and also demonstrated proper ways of cleaning teeth and wounds. Thanks again for all those people that donated these supplies.

Donated health supplies, toothpaste and toothbrushes

The volunteers brought donated soccer equipment and uniforms. Another big thank you goes to Bo Cassidy, Catholic High Soccer team and the Brother Martin soccer team for donating uniforms, balls and shoes. For the first time our students put on real cleats to play soccer. It was awesome to see.
Donated soccer equipment

The volunteers received a huge welcome after Sunday Mass

Painting the primary school brings many friends

The volunteers ate their lunch and supper with the boarders

The volunteers take a break to do a little hiking in the area

HIA Volunteers on the day of arrival
 Finally, thank you Michael, Chip, Knox, Anthony, Blake, Cristina, Trey, Kelsey, and Randy for sharing your joy, energy and hearts with us. We will never forget you.