Camp Life

Traveling the dusty roads

After a long day filled with loading vehicles and making road food, we are up at 5AM and ready to leave at six. By 11AM, warm rays of the Mozambique sun is beating through the bakkie window. We’ve been through the border and the dust is flying as we travel the sand-filled road to our next outreach. Children run to the roadside and yell “sweets” as we drive along. Women with water-filled buckets on their heads and men gathered at the spaza shop wave and smile. Finally, we have reached our intended village. Tired from the long drive, now is when the real work begins…

Where all the work really takes place

The kitchen tent is generally the first to be set up. It is the largest tent and requires at least 5 people to erect it. The kitchen “mama”, Sharyn, Gena or Alicia (I have a long way to go to earn that title) will organize the women on the team to assist with getting everything in order. A freezer and refrigerator are unloaded as well as up to 20 action packers filled with food and cooking hardware.

Benny filling in dirt around the toilet

Sometimes the church has already prepared the holes for our toilets or as I like to think of them: plastic pilgrim hats. If not, holes are dug, toilets installed and black plastic wrapped around for the enclosure. If the mission team coming is large, the hole needs to be pretty deep. A few times we wondered if we were going to make it to the end of the outreach without it skimming our bottoms. Thankfully we have never reached that point.

Tchale had the largest toilet room so far

A 5×5 storage tent hold our equipment which includes a generator for the electrical items, ministry needs and extra action packers.

Doug, Mark & Brit setting up tents

Groups work together to set up our own personal tents and the tents of the soon-to-arrive mission team. Air mattresses are blown up and bedding placed in each team member’s tent. Part of our ministry as missionaries is to make incoming teams feel welcomed, to feed them and to assist them with their daily ministries in the village.

The showers

The outdoor showers are installed and black plastic hung for privacy. Wooden shower boards are placed inside to stand on with a plastic chair available for clothes and dressing. One never lets the water run the entire time, but you get yourself wet and turn the water off. Then you lather up, turn the water back on and rinse. Water is gathered at the river in large drums. It is heated by a donkey (metal tube) and kept hot by a constant burning fire.

Sean setting up the water system

Large drums of river water are also used by us to drink and cook with. The water is run through a filtration system which makes it clean and safe.

There’s nothing like the smell of warm rolls

A few days into the outreach, when the sandwich bread is gone, an oven is dug for baking these delicious rolls. With some arm twisting from the kitchen mama, I finally made some on my own and they turned out quite nicely.

Doug and William preparing the meat with Braii seasoning

Braii anyone? Better known as backyard grilling in the states. Don’t ever call it a barbecue here. One of the last nights of the outreach, steak and boerewors (a form of brats) will be grilled, potatoes baked and perhaps a few side dishes added with a nice cold can of Coke for the favorite meal of the outreach.

Cooking the steaks over open fire

Just when we have become settled in our tent and camp life, it is time to leave. Plastic wrap is torn down, holes filled, tents disassembled and everything packed into the trucks again. We load into our bakkies with another round of road food to head home or to another village to do it all again for the next team arriving.

One thing I know, this missionary needs to build up some muscle before the next outreach season begins…

2 thoughts on “Camp Life”

  1. Love the pics and explanations and updates…love you guys and pray for you daily..Sam is working hard to adjust to his new job too…everyday is an opportunity to trust God for new and difficult challenges..pray for us as we pray for you. Love you and take care! Love, Susan A.

  2. LOVE YOUR UPDATE! Makes me ready to get up and head back in the morning to our “home away from home” Debbie – you are already a kitchen mamma! and your rolls were yummy! As for muscles – well I am right there with you… I always feel sorry for our guys when us kitchen mammas need to pack as much as we can in one action packer to save space… I am glad I don't have to lift the milk action packer 🙂

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