getting down and dirty!

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Well, last night turned out NOT to be spaghetti night—our inside source was, umm, apparently not inside the dinner calendar.  But no disappointment here—it was red beans and rice night! YUM.  We loved it—great flavor, both sausage AND vegetarian options…and we finished up with banana pudding topped with Nilla Wafers, so all in all a great dinner!  The granola cookie bars were the nighttime snack, and they were also as delicious as they smelled!

We had our first experience of the evening program last night, too.  We began with some trivia about the area we are living in this week, then moved on to the slideshow of various teams at work-sites.  Lots of teams look like they’re having a great time, though our group thinks they look like they’re not getting as much work done as they should.  (Our worksite was visited today by the photographer, so we can see how that would happen—she loves to find things and get people to have some fun on breaks from work, taking funny pictures. Here’s the AFTER-the-photographer shot. 🙂  )

Anyway, after the slideshow, one of the groups leads devotions for the whole camp (about 90 people including all the staff).  The group from Decatur Georgia led last night, with a devotion time that included singing, scripture explained, and a game where we practiced (and then talked about) teamwork and how when we all work together we can accomplish great things—much more than we could do as individuals.

After devotions it was off to free time, which for two of our girls and me meant moving!  We discovered that our pod was SO ridiculously humid and hot we couldn’t handle it anymore, and we moved to an empty pod that had good air conditioning.  This also required moving our stuff and some cots, because the pod was empty due to being furnished primarily with broken or sub-standard cots.  We soon sorted that out and now we have two pods—one for our dirty clothes and shoes (the humid one), and one that’s nice and cool and not at all humid (for sleeping and keeping the rest of our stuff in).  We joked that we’re living like millionaires, with a separate house for a shoe closet!

Today we were off to work by 8 (after half our group got up at 5.30 to prepare breakfast for the whole camp—good work ladies!), and once we got to Miss Barbra’s house we got busy finishing up the drywall and mudding. We hoped to be done by lunch so we could sand in the afternoon, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.  We mudded and taped and hung drywall…and half the group painted outside too (the house is now yellow with green trim)…and we took our lunch cooler to a local park…and we had snow cones (called sno-balls)…and we went back to discover that we still had more mudding to do.  We were covered in drywall dust, mud, paint, and sweat and we still have work to do.  But tomorrow we should be able to finish that and move on to sanding and even texturing the walls. woohoo!

One of the things we knew about but couldn’t quite conceptualize until we got here was the wildlife situation.  There are crickets/grasshoppers/locusts (jury’s out on what exactly they are, since we can’t just google the picture in our curiosity!) that are almost the size of our hands.  There are lizards everywhere (today we watched what we think might be a bizarre mating ritual!). There are frogs—one even hopped into our pod the first night and took up residence on my pillow, only to be evicted by Molly.  There are fire ants—including a whole nest of them in a flowerpot near where we were washing paintbrushes today!  There are dragonflies in all the colors of the rainbow.  There are bugs of all kinds.  Our bug spray gets a workout every morning and evening, but there’s still some mosquito action.  Aside from flinching basically every time something flies toward us, and running to try to catch lizards (and failing every time so far), we’re handling the wildlife pretty well. 🙂  There’s also a dog at our worksite, a 4 month old boxer-german shepherd mix named Scotty.  He’s very adorable, and commands much of our breaktime attention, and is also teething so he attacks everything with his mouth—shoelaces, Katherine the alligator, everything. And yet we love to play with him!

Tonight we are headed out to a local church (or possibly a rec-center run by a church? the directions aren’t completely clear yet)—the Bayou Blue Presbyterian Church—who will feed us Traditional Cajun Food.  They have been feeding the groups at this PDA camp every week for four years, with great love and great homemade cooking.  The staff are all very excited, which tells me this might be one of the best meals of the week (at least for people who eat meat or seafood…but I have high hopes on the vegetarian front too!).  Can’t wait!

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