This day really started at 12 a.m. for us. We were driving to our new abode for the next couple of days. We drove for about 2 hours and made it safely… but we were missing one suitcase. It was forgotten in Montreal. It was still 9 o’clock for us so we were pretty awake, and the bus ride went quickly. Once we got there, everybody settled into their air-conditioned rooms.
We woke up the next morning to a mix of things; horns honking, dogs barking, and the cold from the AC. Breakfast was at 9, and we were served scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, toast, cereal, and oatmeal. The coffee was stellar. After breakfast, we had a goal to leave at 10 for the Batey Village, which we achieved. We took the same bus from the night before through the town and through the crazy traffic. The bus nearly rear-ended a few people, but we made it safely! The sugar cane fields stretched for miles and the massive truckloads made our Canadian semi-trailers look tiny. At last, we arrived at the Batey Village.
We stepped out of the bus and the heat hit us. It wasn’t as bad as we expected, but it was still hot. The few kids we saw were shy at first but eventually they warmed up to us. We met in the old church building and opened with prayer. Carlos then showed us the village and told us what projects we’d be doing. By then we had a whole trail of kids, and we ran out to the open field to play with them. Piggy-back rides and our sunglasses and hats were a hit to them. They also loved our blonde hair! We ran around with kids hanging off us until they completely tired us out. Then we stopped for lunch.
Lunch was chicken, rice, beans, and veggies. We were also given a delicious juice, but none of us could quite tell what it was. The Days for Girls ladies were also there, and they gave us a good description of what they are doing in the area. They are very passionate about what they’re doing around the world. We let the food settle and around 1:30 we got to work.
Everyone was divided into groups, some were painting, some were destructing, and some were supposed to build a new bathroom. Unfortunately, the supplies weren’t there for the bathroom construction, so they got to hang out with the kids instead. Eva, Carlye, and Marquita painted a house a nice bright blue. Jonas, Jeff, Isaiah, Eldon, Wim, and Joel painted a different house a beautiful camo green. Both were finished within a couple hours. Sam, Brandon, Kerwin, and Gevin were destructing rocks and carrying bricks. Liam, Jake, Tyrell, Eric, Bryan, and Sarah entertained the kids for a while, then went to help with destructing. The rock destructing might have ended with some sore fingers afterwards.
Everybody finished their work around 3 or 3:30. We gathered at the church building for a short break and then Calvin, one of the local men working with us, began singing and playing the keyboard for us! It filled the small church building, and it was great to listen to. At the same time, the boys started a kickball game with all the kids. They loved playing with us and the enthusiasm from everybody made the game super fun.
We left the village just before 4 and the ride home was pretty calm. Everybody was getting tired from the day, and we enjoyed the bus ride back. Once at our rental place most of us hopped in the shower. This felt amazing after a hot day. We played some card games, read our books, and played catch outside while we waited for supper. Supper ended with ice cream for dessert. Overall, it was a great day to start our trip!