Life in Gabu!

Gabu Travel Blog

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Week 6 & 7 – 2008 T.I.A. outreach team 
Saturday, February 8th representatives from the Guinea-Bissau customs office arrived just before noon. Roy broke the seal on the lock and we began unloading the truck. Several people who live and work on the YWAM base volunteered to help. Roy brought medical supplies, hospital beds, dental equipment, tools and building materials to convert Mercy Trucks into mobile medical units. He also brought much needed items for the base, special scientific equipment for a school in GB, and several computers for the Jocum school here in Gabu.
 
One of the YWAM leaders referred to Roy as Santa Claus. He did bring much joy that day and was bearing many gifts, although he was just missing the white hair and beard – but after a few days of spray painting the trucks white, he was looking more like Mr.
Claus than ever. His helpers, the elves (aka "the TIA outreach team") were getting tan from relentless days of working in the hot African sun. We would start at 8:30 am working til 12:30 pm when the lunch bell would ring, then we'd take a siesta til 3:00 pm. It's just too miserably hot and humid to work during that time. From 3 pm to 6:30 pm we'd start again - cleaning, sanding, painting, and various other duties. We'd work until the sun went down and dinner was waiting for us. This is how our days were spent for nearly three weeks.
 
Of course we did try to bring some fun into the mix. We squirted each other with a power washer; chased each other around the base in an attempt to put paint on noses; swung off of the crane; had races in wheel chairs; and occasionally someone from the base would stop by to share a story or show us their latest find.
Robson showed us the HUGEST rat I've ever seen. It was as big as a large rabbit and Vadinho was given a skinned monkey, both of which would be made into a meal. I made Vadinho promise to tell me if either of them would be included in any of my meals because I had no intention of eating them. So at the beginning of several meals he and Roy would tease me saying that the meat was rat. Everyone on my team, except for me, ate the rat and monkey. Several of them even tried monkey brains. I couldn't believe it! Needless to say – I lost my appetite.
 
Every day we were given rice – sometimes twice a day. The meals were very basic. You would receive one small piece of meat (two if the server especially liked you) and a lettuce leaf with green tomatoes.
I'm surprised that the men were able to have the energy to keep working. I guess the heat suppressed our appetites. Our stomachs definitely did some shrinking over the past three weeks. Jon Paul was getting to be as skinny as Alex and most likely could wear his clothes. My clothes were starting to fall off of me and no longer fit my frame. I was happy about this and looked forward to buying some new outfits after outreach.
 
Our last day on the base was by far my favorite. We converted an empty field next to the Jocum school into a playground. Jehny and I painted rocks various beautiful colors, while the team assembled swings. Once they were finished Jon Paul and I painted the swings. It was an amazing transformation and looked beautiful when we finished.
The children eagerly awaited playing in their new playground. Many of them had never seen a tire swing before, so of course we didn't mind showing them how to use it. In fact we tried out all of the swings just to make sure they were safe. It was soo much fun.
 
That evening the base had a going away party for us. We viewed a slide show of our pictures from the side of one of the Mercy Trucks with Roy's projector. Then before going to bed, the base prayed for each of us and the leaders anointed us with oil. Everyone was thankful for our contribution to Mercy Trucks and were sad to see us go.

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