Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yesterday started with Tim and Brent taking Mary Alice and Jennifer to the airport at six am. Tim had to shake me awake several times I was so deep in la la land! We had a late night last night with the send off celebration for the team at the orphanage. They presented us with cedar plaques with scripture
verses on them. . . beautiful! We were later invited to the director's home for cake and ice cream. The flavors were mulberry, pistachio, lemon, strawberry, and mango, out of this world yummy.
Jeremy is staying at the orphanage for the remainder of our time, but will be working down at BBS for summer school as well. He preferred to continue staying here instead of moving down here to the seminary.

Tim has done an amazing job facilitating all the details of this trip from room and board, transportation, and translating for those who need it. I have really enjoyed watching him with the little children, especially those who don't know such English have been clinging to him. One little five year old especially has been his little shadow. He likes to pull on his beard and tease him. He is a
bedouin boy from the Beqaa.

As you know, I've spent most of my time with the Learning Center and then in the afternoons at the orphanage. Being with the SKILD staff on a daily basis has been enriching for me as well as pure d fun! They are conducting the day camp for kids with disabilities (37 enrolled) and have hired eight extra staffers for the summer to do this. I'm ensconced in the training of the psychologist,
diagnostician, special educator, and counselor in learning the Achievement and Ability tests. I have made them practice on each other and they have gotten a big kick out of that. Seriously though, they are very proud of themselves for accomplishing all that they have this week and are eager to use what they have learned.All the staffers have their masters degrees in their respective fields.

I had two very interesting interviews with parents today as well. One set had heard about the Center through word of mouth, and the other set had read about it in the paper! I was privileged to participate in the intake interviews with the parents and subsequently the children, guiding with direction as to the next steps for their assessments and therapy. One of the mothers started weeping and said that no teacher had tried to understand her son before. I am so proud of how far the staff have come since March and how well they are handling difficult situations. The clientele is growing steadily and the Center is anticipating a surge in September when school starts again. For example, the speech therapist has four appointments on Tuesday .

Tim and I are just hanging in the room tonight.We are sitting on the balcony of our third floor room, enjoying Beirut from a distance! He ran by the grocery store and bought some fruit and cheese for us for supper, and of course some ice cream too! Lebanon only has this gelato ice cream in the summer, because they use the fresh fruits. I'm doing my job as a consumer to help the ice cream economy out!

Tomorrow, Pierre Rahal, the BBS (Beirut Baptist School) principal, is picking us and Jeremy up for an all day excursion. We will go to his in laws' home in the Beqaa Valley for lunch. It is where I went back in March. Then we will go to Lake Aoun and finish the day at the Cedars. I'm looking forward to cooler air! It has been so hot, Fans are used in full force. However, there is a constant sea breeze that makes it pleasant in the shade.

Tim took the boys swimming with Jeremy today while I was busy at the Center. I'll let him fill you in on that. All have been so eager to show us a good time with trips and outings on the weekend in appreciation. Plus they are anxious for us to see as much of Lebanon as possible in such a short time!


The orphanage took the kids swimming today at a private swimming facility. The swimming facility uses some of the orphanage property for parking and the orphanage gets to take the kids swimming for free. The membership at the pool is $330 per person per year, so there is no way the orphanage could afford pool memberships for each child. Needless to say they enjoyed it.With my skin, I stay in the shade as much as possible!


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