We Had A Whale of a Time at Teo!

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We visited Teo this morning and conducted the semi-annual hygiene brigade and introduced to the children a short Bible program.  The hygiene brigade engaged in the traditional game of dodging toothpaste rinses and fluoride swishes.  The outcome is still under review. 

The addition to the hygiene brigade was a Bible Story — Jonah and the whale.  The team spent the evening before preparing the script — actually getting one of our translators to proof the script prepared by a team member who will remain nameless.  (He stated that the red marks on his Spanish reminded him of the marks on his English essays when in elementary school.)  The script was rehearsed by Marleni, one of our AP students.  She led the telling of the story.  This went well.

Part of the program was the construction of a whale.  The craft was child-tested before leaving the good old USA.  The parts were readied and the team set.   But, inexperience made itself manifest.   The craft was successfully tested; but two children do not compare to the logistical challenges posed by 40 to 50 non-English speaking children.  There was near pandemonium.  The balloons used to inflate the bag that served as he whale’s body were VERY popular.   Near chaos ensued.  Order was restored with the help of all the team members, several older students, the teacher, and Daniel, our translator. 
The children’s smiles showed how much they enjoyed the program and the whales.  They ran around the school yard with the whale’s fins flapping in the breeze.  They learned about God’s infinite love and the joy of a simple paper bag big fish (as Jonah says.)

From Teo we stopped part-way down the mountain at the school in Arena Blanco.  There, the team conducted another hygiene brigade.  Afternoon rain and the muddy field (and weariness about another whale-initiated chaos) limited the Bible story to entertaining the children with balloons while the rest of the team readied the hygiene stations.  One truth we learned – balloons are able to bridge language and cultural barriers.
We also met with the church leaders in Teo to discuss HAF’s involvement in the activities of older children and adults.  We have been actively involved in the religious and academic education of children, but little involvement with older children and adults.  This meeting is the first of many to come to explore nurture of the adults.