For the kids at Toddler House trips out, other than on foot through our neighborhood, are a rare thing. Mostly anticipated with joy, sometimes mixed with a bit of hesitancy of what they may encounter. Police? Hostile strangers who say mean things? Big dogs? When the first group is told we're going out, word quickly spreads, and instantaneously a cheer goes up "NOU ALE NAN MACHIN!" - "We're going in the truck!" and then the questions come by the scores. Where are we going? Who gets to go? Should I change? What sandals do I wear? Will we be back in time for lunch? Should I use the bathroom one more time before we leave?
Last Friday, after the celebration for groundbreaking of the baby house just two days before, Joyce mentioned that the kids had been asking for awhile to go to Fort Jacques. With it being a quieter day at the house than it had been in weeks we decided to give it a try. Looking at our list of who would enjoy running around, and could handle the rocky terrain, factoring in how many adults we had to go along and pair up we settled on 33 kids... 60 minutes later we were all loaded into 4 vehicles and ready to go. It was the first time for some of our younger kids that they had been out on a recreational trip since coming to live with us (aka not an adoption or Dr's appointment). They were filled with wonder and took in everything they could see, and feel, and hear as we drove by. Look at that! What is that? Who is that? Where are they going? What are they selling? and of course...LETS GO FASTER!!! It's always a race to them. And they cheer for whoever "wins" no matter if they do happen to be the other vehicle of kids that we were intentionally following behind;)
Joyce and my original plan involved the kids running around til they were bored at Fort and then piling them back and taking them to a playground on the way home to fill up the rest of the time out. However there was no hint of boredom among them that morning. We were blessed to have enough adults among us that we could buddy up each of the "little kids" with one of them and the older kids ran free under our joint supervision. We introduced a short five item scavenger hunt first which they had no trouble understanding, the winning team pair, Laurore & Carine, bringing in all items within 6 minutes! Next time we'll have to make a more challenging list!
And then... we just let them roam free. It was amazing to watch them run, run, run outside of cement walls on real dirt and pine needles. They ventured out and explored everything in this earthy new environment. Many of them spending quite a bit of time running down into and them climbing up out of the pit that will one day be the foundation of the new baby house. Wild flowers, blackberries, snails, butterflies, trees, rocks, sticks, dirt and SPACE captured their attention and with wide eyes they wandered. We drug them away finally just after 12Noon, knowing that due to usual routine within 20 minutes we'd have a large brood of HUNGRY and TIRED little people that would not find the drive down nearly as amusing with rumbly bellies. Such a successful day! So much fun by all (well most... Dieudson might disagree there was all together to much puppy interaction). So thankful for all the willing hands that helped us chaperone and pull it off!
"You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." Nehemiah 9:6