School was on break, but the kids knew we were coming so we had lots of children, and some adults as well, to keep us busy. Having a playground at school helps increase attendance and this school has been asking El Faro to help them build a playground for quite some time.
We left the guys to build the playground, and us ladies did lots and lots of crafts with the children and women. Nancy taught a woven cross craft, Linda & Debbie made crowns, and Ev and I did the braided crowns, with Lauren helping all of us and even doing some nail painting. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the crafts. We eventually ran out of the hair bands so I just started tying the braids like hair scarfs, or having them use them as belts. "Necessity is the mother of invention."
The men were able to get the playground built in about 3 hours, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. After a quick lunch, packed for us by the kitchen staff at El Faro, we were back on the boat and heading to Livingston. We had the afternoon free to explore and do some shopping. After an appropriate amount of time we all met at a local ice cream shop for a treat before finishing our return trip. We had the afternoon free and many of us enjoyed a refreshing swim. My brother, Seth, had created a ball out of string and scrap fabric from all the braided headbands we'd been making, so the guys and a young local boy enjoyed trying to catch the ball while jumping off the dock. Rarely successful, but entertaining none-the-less.
During our evening devotions we had the opportunity to hear from 2 of the Guatemalan staff members, Alejandro & Sammy. It was interesting to hear about how God brought them to El Faro and what ways they minister to those in the community. Alex had been with us throughout the day and had helped translate for us, which is one of the ways he helps out. The other two main areas are oversight of the ropes course and a new ministry of making prosthetic limbs. It was incredibly fascinating and he even brought us a sample one he had made. There is a social stigma associated with missing a limb, so Alex has to search out those in need of a prosthetic as they often are rather reclusive. Sammy has a passion for computer, technology and families. He runs the computer lab on site and uses it as an opportunity to teach the children about Christ and to get to know them. He explained that the government requires a computer certification to graduate, but they don't always offer the classes necessary to obtain the certification. In addition to the schooling requirement, people without computer skills have a much harder time getting a good job so it creates lots of opportunities. It's not without its challenges though as internet out in the jungle is quite expensive.
By this point in the week we could now make paper crowns with our eyes closed, and I can't help but think of the song "Kings & Queens" by Audio Adrenaline.
"Boys become kings, girls will be queens wrapped in Your majesty...Then they will be brave and free, shout your name in victory! When we love, when we love the least of these..."