This past week has been a busy one!! Last Thursday, we were visited by the health inspector and social workers and were told that we needed to evacuate the children by 5:00 the next day. Now, it's hard enough trying to evacuate a family- trying to decide what to take and what to leave behind, but imagine trying to evacuate 60 children, one bag for each of them, mattresses to sleep on, food for that day, and filtered water, all by boat, and all by 5:00 the next day! To keep the children occupied Friday morning, we still had school. Meanwhile, some of the staff was over at the lodge we were going to be staying at, cleaning the rooms and mending the thatch roofs. I went over to the lodge with Rebecca and tried to figure out how many rooms we needed and the sleeping arrangements for all of the children. I couldn't believe the condition of the place; it was very messy and rundown (it does look much better now having been cleaned and with children living there). By Friday afternoon the stress level was high for everyone, and it was around 4:00 when they decided that there was no way we could get everyone and everything moved down the river by the time the sun set, so we took our chances and waited until Saturday.
Everyone was up early Saturday; bags were waiting by the door and children were anxious for the adventure to start. We loaded up the refridgerator, a few matresses, a couple of the older children, and headed down to the lodge. Even though we had a lot of stuff to move, we had a lot of kids to help make the process easier. Everyone seemed to get settled in quickly and within a few days, we had things back as close as we could to the normal routine. I stayed in one of the rooms with the older girls for the first fews nights and even though it has made my days longer, it's been really nice being able to hang out with the kids more and get to know some of them better. Usually at nights I would be back at Gary and Rebecca house, but staying at the lodge with them gave me more time with them. There was a group of older girls who asked me to read a chapter book to them the first night, so I started reading "Sam, The Boy Behind The Mask", a true story about a boy who was born with a facial deformation. By the next night, some of the boys had come to listen too. After school I just hang out with them and try to keep them all occupied; like yesterday when they asked me to play something with them I suggested capture the flag, which they played until dinner time.
We have been pretty lucky staying at that lodge so far- I don't think there have been any sitings of snakes, crocodiles or scorpions! The mosquitoes do get pretty bad there at night, my legs and feet look pretty gross! It hasn't rained yet, but we did have been hearing thunder this afternoon. I'm not sure how the roofs in the rooms will hold up, but in the main dining area there are a few spots with holes in the roof, which is bad because not only do the children eat there, but the older children have their class there during the day. So hopefully we won't get rained on anytime soon.
The water has been going down, slowly, but surely. Even though the kids seem to like staying there, I know that they can't wait to get back to their own rooms and have more of their clothes, cd players, books, etc. but we aren't sure how long we are going to have to be there. Seeing the water go down makes everyone excited, but we've heard that there is another wave of this coming in mid-April, and apparently, flooding this early is unusual; it doesn't happen until April and it never is this bad. So please pray that there isn't another wave coming and that we will be able to move back within the next couple of weeks!