Arusha Camp

This summer we have had the awesome privilege of serving at some local Young Life camps here in Tanzania. First on the map was the Arusha Camp.

The Arusha Camp takes place at a local school called Peace House. Peace House was created 2 years ago by an American, and is school for children who would not otherwise be able to afford any education. The school itself is on a beautiful plot of land that has a beautiful view of Mt. Meru. It is a perfect location to hold camp as there are many dorms, and room for lots of people!

We arrived and were greeted by our dear friends Martin, Alexis, Jaque and others who work for Young Life Africa. Because camp for the Arusha YL had already been there before, they had a good idea of what needed to be done. Austin and I, along with our friends Zac and Hannah were Work Crew Bosses, this means we were in charge of the kids who came to make sure that camp was clean, ready and welcoming for the kids who have not been to camp. Austin was in charge of the Outdoor Crew, making sure the grounds looked great, and the obstacle course was full of mud. I was in charge of house keeping, making sure that everyone had a place to sleep and that it was clean.

The wedding band welcoming the kids to camp

Campers came being greeted by a traditional wedding band which was awesome. The work crew all grabbed branches from trees and paraded in with them. Martin, who was in charge of program, made sure to give them a big welcome as Mr. Biggie Biggie.

Martin as Mr. Biggie Biggie

After all 290 leaders and campers got settled we had our first meal. To say that it was loud is an understatement. The DJ was blasting, many kids had the world cup staple, the vuvuzela, blowing, and two kids even came in with trumpets blaring. The love LOUD!

After dinner we had the first club which was full of energy! To conclude the night, the campers and leaders went through the obstacle course. They had to crawl through mud, dodge water and flour, and carry their leaders in the cold windy weather, but they loved it thoroughly!

Mastering the obstacle course with vuvuzelas!

The second day was full of work for the work crew. We were all very tired at the end of cleaning up all of the mud from the obstacle course! I even got to serve as the camp nurse, which was interesting because I am not, nor should I ever be a real nurse. However, a few kids needed some mending. One girl had gotten lime in her eyes, because they used that instead of flour. Needless to say she needed a good cleansing. Poor baby. By the end of the week she was back to normal. Praise the Lord.

Later the kids had field games and ended the night with cultural dancing which was interesting to say the least. Each cabin put together a dance that was native to some of their own tribes. Many groups made their own grass skirts, from the fields.

Using nature to show off some tribal moves.

On the third day the kids were taken on a Safari. Most Tanzanians never have the opportunity to go on safari, even though they live in the safari capital of the world, so this is a HUGE treat for them. The kids loved it! While they were on Safari, the work crew cleaned and got to rest. We took a beautiful walk into the hills where there are some flower fields. They were gorgeous.

Flower fields with my honey : )

The fourth day we had one last club, cleaned up and headed out! It was a lot of work in a short amount of time but well worth it.

While there it was easy to feel very out of place. Although I know the ins and outs about camp in America, camp in Tanzania is very different. Not only were we of different color but our ways of thinking, and planning are so very different. I had to have much patience. This opened my eyes very much to what our friends Jaque, Alexis, and Martin must have gone through when we first met them and they were serving at Lost Canyon in America, in 2008. I can only imagine how overwhelming our American camp was to them.

After camp was over, I had a chance to talk to them about this and they very much agreed that it was overwhelming. The experience of serving at their camp was very rewarding and a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how Young Life can translate cross culturally.

All camp photo.

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