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Monday, July 17, 2006

First Day: Already in the ER…

It is now almost 5:30pm EST. We are sitting in the Emergency waiting room and have been sitting here for almost three hours already. We have two of the eleven kids with us and I am just waiting for another to show up, which would be just our luck today.

We started the day out with a great orientation of the Meeting Grounds and the history of this old historic farm. It was cool to see the people that had been living and working here back in the 80’s and that some of the workers are still contributing their time (and lives) to this community. They exemplify the concepts of passion and love for fellow mankind and do it unconditionally.

We got a tour of the farm and the different barns and houses on this community. We saw the places where displaced families live, the shelter where kids play and many working areas. There are tons of kids here playing just like Dryver and Stryde play on any given day. The only difference is they really have had some major struggles in their lives and probably don’t know any difference. It is a little sad, but also inspiring to see these kids as the future.

Our Middle School kids really enjoyed the donation barn, which is a very large barn that is filled to the gills with every possible consumer product you could ever think of. There are clothes, games, toys, artwork, kitchenware, Tupperware, cards, shoes, jewelry, bathroom goods, cans, trains, etc.. There was something for everyone and enough for the whole town of Elkton at least. The farm gets tons of donations to the point of having too much stuff. It reminded me of eBay Live in Vegas and I am very sure there are a ton of treasures in this building if you took the time and could stand the heat.

Well, we stated working on our project, which was to dismantle a full three story family house. It was really a pretty large home and was built back in the 20’s or 30’s with the old school construction. The building had a rock solid foundation and each of the boards we removed were put up with some really sturdy equipment and probably made to last for at least 100 years or more. So the problem was the building had gone out of code years ago and to upgrade it would have cost 100’s of thousands of dollars, which the farm does not have.

We were to take as much of the building down as possible. The last group that was here had started the process and had left a big mess. There were boards everywhere and it looked like a bunch of kids had done the work, oh wait, it was kids. It looked like there was no advisors.

The kids were having a blast as we were demolishing things and they always love that part of a Mission Trip. One of the teams was down on the main floor throwing, chucking, projecting, tossing, and bombarding all the old wood and beams into a big dump truck, which was being dumped into a pile down at the other side of the farm. They were really having a blast as they were able to take out all of their aggressions on the wood and beams. I was on this team and was getting the kids all pumped up and had it almost turned into a game of sorts to keep their minds off the 105 degree heat and sun.

The second team was working up on the 2nd floor (minus a roof) and were removing the scraps of wood and slats from the prior work crew. They were throwing the old wood and parts of the building down to the main crew that was tossing the shrapnel’s into the dump truck below. The problem with this was there was so much garbage and old wood on the floor it was a little dangerous. We told the kids many times to watch where they walked and to ensure they did not get hurt. I had just stepped on a nail about a week prior at Home Depot so it was top of my mind.

No less than 90 minutes into the work, Ahhhhhh in a high voice comes from the top floor. It is one of the gals who was not watching where she was going and wow, stepped on a nail. It went into her shoe, into her foot, and probably came about an inch from coming out the top of the foot. She screamed again and started crying, as I probably would have done also. Well, long story short, we ran up and got her some first aid. Luckly the farm was used to this type of thing and got her cleaned up and bandaged quickly. We spoke to the doctor and they said we needed to get her to the hospital for shots and to have them check her foot to make sure there was no nerve or bone damage.

One of the main advisors drove about 45 minutes into town and took her to get this all taken care of. This was about 11:30am just when the sun was getting ready to really come down and get us. Did I mention that there was no air conditioning in this whole farm? So we got all the kids together and told them what happened and reinforced more than 3-4 times that they needed to be very careful and to watch where they were walking.

Not less than 30 minutes of work later, Ahhhhhh, another girl has stepped on a nail. This one is almost a reenactment of the first, in case someone did not get to experience the first great experience of pain and blood. Oh man, this is where you start to get frustrated. It is one of those things where kids mean the best, but they are so clumsy and really don’t pay attention. But you can’t blame the kids.

I ended up taking the second kid to the Emergency Room. About five hours later, we are still waiting to get everything taken care of. I will be posting about my many experiences in the ER at some point I am sure, as I have yet to have a great experience. But this was enough for today as we have two bleeding kids, a team of worried parents and workers, and a messy work sight. At least there is Air Conditioning in the ER.

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