July 23, 2011

live in infamy

(humidity vs air conditioned camera lens. All that fog is literally on the lens.)

You guys...

You just wouldn't believe the week we had. I've never, ever seen a week like that in my 13 years of being here. It....was...nuts. It was one of those weeks that we just knew that the evil one was trying his darndest to get to us. He was throwing it down. And we were doing our best to place it all in the Lord's hands and keep plugging along. And that wasn't easy by any means.

Starting on Sunday night, we had a kid get sick. Like throwing up sick. That's not that unusual, really. But then it turned ugly. By the end of the next night we had about 3 others sick. And the it got really ugly and the staff started getting it. And when the staff gets it...well, then it gets really tough. Finding coverage for people isn't that easy when we are maxed out with kids to care for.

One would think that this weird sickness would die out by Tuesday, maybe Wednesday night. Well, one would be wrong. It didn't stop. ALL WEEK. Seriously. This morning, there were 3 more kids in the sick ward (which is what we started calling our lobby area) and another counselor. I think we sent home about 25 kids. That's almost 4 cabins worth of children. Our junior program shrunk by almost half. And we had about 10-15 staff get it too.

And then....on top of all that craziness, it was furiously hot. For reals. 100's for most of the week. Plus the insufferable humidity. Yesterday, Friday, was the worst of the worst. We had to plan an entirely different schedule to keep the kids cool and out of the heat. Because the programming staff was sick (or taking the place of other sick counselors), my dear old friend, B, who used to do programming (games, big Friday night events, etc) with me years ago, planned an entire game/event in during the afternoon and carried it out that night. And it all took place inside because it was so hot outside.

This morning was spent de-germing every surface we could. Disinfectant on every thing. Door handles, beds, railings, furniture, bathrooms (puke covered...blech). We even set off the fire alarm in one of the buildings because we used so much of it. Bleach, anti-bacterial spray, you name it, we used it. All the while praying we didn't get it, if we had been so blessed to escape it's wrath.

But through a tough week, you always see the blessings that are so evident. Maybe even more evident because it's so hard. Blessings like....a nurse who was experience in dealing with a situation like this. A management staff that didn't get sick and was still able to run things. No jelly fish (the kids still wanted to play in the river to stay cool). Air conditioning in all of our buildings except one (such a new, amazing blessing). Counselors and staff with beautiful attitudes of servanthood. Kids who lasted the whole week and loved every minute of their time here. Kids that had to leave early from being sick, but came back after they felt better because they loved it here. A relative peace and calm that was completely God amidst the toughest of moments. Pools and sprinklers and cool water from hoses. Chapel speakers who get enough Gatorade to keep the whole staff hydrated on the hottest days. Kids singing chapel songs in the middle of hot activities and laughing joyfully.

Those are the things I want to remember with the tough things. The reminders that God was here with us every moment, never giving us more than we could handle, even though it sure felt like it at times. And there is something to be said of surviving a week like that. It builds a bond with the staff, for sure.

Week 5 is going to live in infamy. Yes, it will. And my friend, T, and our two head counselors are my heroes. They cleaned up more throw-up than any person should ever have to in their entire lives. And they never complained once. Heroes...

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