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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Creature from the Blog

Hello? Hello...hello...hello...hello...

Is anyone here? here?...here?...here?...here?...

Wow, it is pretty dusty around here. This poor blog hasn't been kept up very well at all. It looks abandonded - it's like a ghost blog. Spooky.

Alright then, let me
just sweep up around over here and here and a bit more and there. That's better. Okay, to business now.

Let's see, my last blog was February 8th and it is now, YIKES! MAY 29th! Well, thanks for all you emails of concern, the phone calls and letters begging me to come back and light up your day with my clever and witty anecdotes. Yes, thank you - Dad.

I have missed you all, too.

So let us go back to February and try and fill in this gap...

Well, the biggest thing that has been happening for us is a fun little thing called PROJECT GAMBIA. As you may or may not recall, a while back Danny and I had this hairbrain scheme to take a bunch of high school students on a trip to Africa, on a "mission" if you will. We had it all laid out: 8 sessions of preparation, 1 week of "mission" (if you will), and 3 sessions of local follow-up. It was a grand idea, full of potential...

Well, it happened. Boy oh boy, did it happen!

On February 2nd we had our first Project Gambia Session with 19 students and 5 staff from Manor Foundation Business, Enterprize, and Sports College (yes, that is the school's name. You should see there letter head, it's like 2 pages long). Over the course of the next 12 weeks we ran classes about poverty, prepared the group for the week in The Gambia, fundraised, filled out risk assesment forms (which I purposely neglected to ask for Danny's input there), met with parents and staff, fundraised, collected a wide assortment of school and sports supplies to donate, more meetings with local council bigshots, newspapers, schools, and churches, fundraised, applied for grants, was rejected for grants, fundraised, booked flights, arranged for extra luggage, booked lodging and meals in The Gambia, made many other calls to The Gambia, plus the other LifeFORCE stuff (ie. the team's trailer burning to the ground with the set, props, sound and media equipment, and all their luggage was an issue that required immediate attention).

Oh yeah, we did a bit of fundraising as well.

It was a crazy couple of months getting ready for just one week in The Gambia! Let me just say though that the school, (deep breath) Manor Foundation Business, Enterprize and Sports College (gasp), was absolutely incredible with all the work that they did! They blew everyone away with the funds they were able to raise, including themselves! Usually in a YEAR they raise about £2000 ($4000 CA approx.) for charity. But when all the numbers were added up from all the pledges, donations, carwashes, bake sales, dances and raffle tickets they had raised an impressive £11,000!!!! And in only 12 weeks!!! Even they couldn't believe it! It was as if somehow the money was magically being handed to the project, like some higher power was guiding it the entire way...


The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.
Proverbs 10:22

Yep, it is a mystery. Anyway, soon it was time for the big trip to The Gambia itself. It was a dard, cold, and misty morning at 5am as we left for the airport on April 20th. There were 28 of us all together, 24 from (big inhale) Manor Foundation Business, Enterprize and Sports College (what exactly does one study there), our pastor and youth pastor from our church here in Walsall, Danny (what a hunk he is, if I do say), and yours truly (what a babe if I do say).

Look at how long this update is already and I am just getting to the good part - our week in THE GAMBIA!!!

It's kinda weird how it's not "GAMBIA" but it's "THE GAMBIA," eh?

Well, I don't know about you but I finished my cup of tea about a paragraph ago. So how about we all just take a break for now from this little adventure? Leave some surprises for next time?

I'll leave you with this sneak preview:

Amazement. Joy. Tears. Change of hearts. Change of lives. Crocodiles.

Yes, crocodiles.

Until our next cup of tea, take care and God bless!

Sincerely,
~Alycia DeLong