A few weeks ago our boxes from Korea arrived. Besides our own personal belongings, most of the eighteen boxes were jam-packed with clothing, stationery, and toys for the Karen children.
Thanks to the children at Donghae Samyook Elementary School in Korea, we were able to receive a large donation of clothes, and stationery supplies for the Karen children at Sunshine Orchard.
Each class took part in fund raising.
A box was placed in each classroom and the children were encouraged to bring whatever clothing, stationery and toys they would like to donate to Sunshine Orchard. The children were all very excited about this project and soon the boxes were overflowing with gifts from the school children. Some even decided to raise funds by having a special day where all sorts of cakes, sweets, cold drinks etc. were sold in order to raise money. Each class proudly posed as photo’s were taken of the donations they brought. You can see the photo’s by clicking on this link.
Praise the Lord all our boxes arrived safely, without any damage whatsoever. Then came the task of trying to distribute the gifts among the children. With over 230 children it soon became apparent that certain children would be receiving and others would not. So we decided to distribute the clothing ourselves. Inviting only the children with the most needs to come forward for shoes. Many did not have a single pair of shoes and their faces lit up at the prospect of owning a “new” pair of shoes. Many pictures were taken of shoes being tried on by all the kids to see if they fitted. Finally all the shoes had found new owners. See the photo’s by clicking here. How blessed we were to see the smiling faces of these kids.
Then we decided to distribute the clothing. This was so difficult as the Karen dress very conservatively, and they always are conscious of what they wear – even though they have little clothing. So Inge came up with a plan.
She decided to invite all the Grade 9 IMM students to our house for a fun evening of going through the boxes of clothing. Both the guys and girls were EXTREMELY excited. Boxes were unpacked and soon there were heaps of clothing all over our living room floor. Carefully the students went through each item of clothing, trying on different things in order to make sure that it fitted well. I was very surprised to see that they did not try to just grab everything they could get their hands on. Even if the clothing fitted, many of them would not take it. I questioned them about this and found out that they were only taking exactly what they “needed”.
They were very careful not to take clothes that perhaps someone else could use. Being so aware of the needs of their friends and other less fortunate school children, they would rather sacrifice not having, in case someone else who really did need, didn’t get! This was a real lesson to me in practicing unselfishness. I have witnessed all to often in our western world how that when things are given away for free, everyone just pushes, shoves, and grabs for the most! I have seen this sort of behavior all to often among those who have plenty! However I was deeply impressed by the humility of these children who had so much consideration in their hearts for others less fortunate than themselves. What a lesson it was for me.
After each child took exactly what they needed, the rest of the clothes were folded neatly and put back into the boxes. And then came the feast!
The boys had earlier on climbed the coconut trees that grow all around us and harvested many coconuts for a coconut feast. With expert skill these students took a machete and started opening the coconuts. Careful not to spill any of its precious liquid, the coconuts were emptied into cups, enough for everyone to have a long drink. Some just drank straight out of the coconuts. Mmmmm DELICIOUS! Then the coconuts were chopped open and we all started feasting on the soft white fruit inside. For those who love coconut, this would have been a most enjoyable feast. Definitely a night to remember.
As for the rest of the stationery items we have decided to build special wooden boxes for each classroom, with locks on them. This way each teacher will be able to distribute to their pupils as and when needed.
How blessed we are to see the smiling happy faces of these children. It reminds me that it is indeed “more blessed to give than to receive”. To see the photo’s of this wonderful evening please click here.
It was decided that all the Grade 9 IMM students would go on a week-end camp! This was done to encourage teacher-student relations. To get to know the students better and build better relationships.
We decided to go to the top of a near-by mountain. With incredible views of the surrounding countryside it made for the perfect camping site. The cook came with all the necessary food and everything was dropped off at the camping site. Hammocks were strung up between the trees and some slept on the ground under the stars. A campfire was made and soon food was busy being prepared.
It was Friday evening and unfortunately both Inge and I could not join the rest of the group for the sleep over. We just did not feel that Kukupaw would enjoy sleeping out in the cold on the top of a mountain. So instead early Sabbath morning the three of us climbed onto the scooter for the long drive to the top of the mountain.
Inge was to preach and LeRoy would do the Sabbath School. We arrived just after breakfast and everyone gathered round for choruses and singing with someone playing a guitar. Inge’s sermon went off very well, and we were all truly blessed. Then LeRoy shared some wonderful thoughts with us about the Sabbath School Lesson.
The highlight of the day was Sabbath evening. We were about to experience sticky rice prepared over the fire in bamboo poles! This was something that really got my attention.
First you cook the rice in a big pot over the fire, then in a separate pot you cook unrefined palm sugar with coconut milk. Once the sugar has been properly dissolved you are ready to begin. Two sticks are planted on either side of the fire, each with a “V” at the top end. You then lay a horizontal branch above the fire resting on the “V”‘s in each stick.
Next it’s time to get your bamboo poles. These are thick green poles which have been cut in a specific way. Bamboo poles have natural sections that are closed at regular intervals. What you do is make sure that when you cut a bamboo pole that the one end is cut just below the closed section, leaving the other end open. You then you fill the bamboo poles half way with the cooked rice! The remainder of the bamboo is filled with the coconut/palm sugar mixture. Now all that remains is to seal the open end. This is done by getting huge leaves and folding them in half and half again. Smaller and smaller until they are big enough to stuff into the opening of the bamboo pole. Now you are finally ready to cook your sticky rice!
All the bamboo poles are placed next to the fire with the tops resting on the diagonal branch above the fire. The bamboo poles are turned at regular intervals to make sure that they do not burn. The question of course is “How do you know when the sticky rice is ready?” Well that’s simple! You cook the rice until the outside of the bamboo has turned totally black with charcoal. Then you know the sticky rice is ready!
You then remove the bamboo poles from the fire and begin to peal away the burnt charcoal skin of the bamboo. By the time you are finished you are left with something that looks like an overgrown banana! The inside has been cooked well and is stiff like that of a banana. All that remains is for you to enjoy the wonderful sticky rice treat!
As we sat around the campfire the students were all telling stories of how they survived the freezing cold of the previous night.
At sunset, campfire games were started and everyone had loads of fun. What a wonderful experience was shared by all.
How wonderful to all share in the many blessings that the Lord has in store for us. Friendships, campfires, stories, games, and VERY cold nights!
We all look forward to the next camping adventure. Hopefully next time we will be able to bring Kukupaw with for the sleepover as well! You can see photo’s of the weekend camp by clicking here. Enjoy!