Wednesday 30 September
May I suggest that, if at all possible, have your birthday in Leonora. It will be the best birthday you have ever experienced.
So, I woke up this morning to find myself surrounded by a minefield of balloons, and then was serenaded by Birthday Choir #1, and given a pile of notes written by the fellow leaders.
We headed off to start Day 3 of the program (Day 5 of our time in Leonora), which discussed God’s response to us trying to be our own kings. I actually got to play Princess Phillipa and do the talk at the beginning, as well as being bellowed at by Birthday Choir #2. At singing time, the kids were way more enthusiastic and did the actions with all their hearts. Morning tea kept all of us constantly busy, either giving piggybacks or making sure kids didn’t fall out of the tree. During the crafts, the kids made wall hangings, dragons and wrist cuffs, as well as free painting.
Lunch, as always, was delicious (fish cakes with salad AND coleslaw), but that wasn’t all. Sally removed me from the proceedings, in a way that, in hindsight, was blatantly obvious, but I somehow didn’t suspect anything. When I walked back in, what a sight met my eyes! The whole team was lined up, in front of an awesome spread of food, including a four-layered drip cake that Tiaan and Mrs Classen had somehow organised behind my back. I was sung to by Birthday Choir #3, and we dug in.
Half of us took a half-hour ‘power nap’ upstairs, which turned into a deep conversation, before the afternoon session, which was, as always, awesome and fun. I got to unleash my face-painting skills, but was also turned into a human canvas, involving a unicorn and a dot by one girl, a stick figure by a little boy, a flower by another, and a liberal spreading of Nutella on my leg by another!
On the way back from the afternoon session, the mob doing face-painting (Maggie, Cait, Tristan, Riley, Tayla, and myself) all spent the bus ride belting out our favourite songs from the program (complete with actions): ‘Jesus is the Mighty’, ‘Mighty King’, ‘Lean Forward, Lean Back’, ‘Jesus Number One’ and of course ‘The Rainbow Song’. When we arrived at the sports centre, the sports gang attacked us with water pistols, which, I realise, we probably should have dealt with more graciously.
Soon enough, we were back at the Rec Centre, setting up for the parents night, which was so much fun, particularly when we all did the Hokey Pokey together. We are all totally exhausted, but slightly hyper, as we enjoy a Doritos Party (the only part of my birthday celebration that I actually planned). We are all going to miss the kids down here SO much when we leave so we plan to seize every single moment.
Thursday 1 October
Today we started like most mornings, bright and early at 6am, the crack of dawn!
Today was a hot one, 37 degrees! which affected everyone’s energy levels, we were enthusiastic and energetic for the kids but the moment it hit 12pm and the kids went home we collapsed.
We had a trip out to Gwalia, still 36 degrees, where we looked at some of Leonora’s history, a big pit, a museum, and the ghost town. We went into every room and it was pretty scary.
After leaving Gwalia we went straight to the golf club and whipped out the water guns, which was refreshing. There were many people making ‘pew pew’ noises…. Pew, pew… pew, pew, pew!
We then drove to the prickle patch (Sir’s hobby farm, a retired teacher from the school who runs leadership work with the Leonora kids). We were shown around by some of the kids and I got to brush a horse. We had a great big BBQ and ended the night with a game of raiders with some of the older kids.
Our morning began with a devotional lead by Goziem and I. We talked about giving hope, showing love, and being Christ-like examples to the kids in Leonora.
The heat beating down on Leonora didn’t quite enthuse us but it did force us indoors, where we decided we’d be innovative and try out some new games with the kids.
The morning activities were a hit (as they had been every other morning, of course). We found that the new indoor space we developed for the older kids worked well in encouraging conversation – they were a lot more comfortable and evidently relaxed.
From about 2-4pm we were out in Gwalia, where we learnt about the history of the mining town. I was fascinated by the old houses there – it was cool getting a glimpse of how people lived in an era before air conditioning!
Exhausted and in need of a bit of R&R, we were all keen to get back to the golf club and whip out the water guns (and water jugs, big bottles of water… like entire buckets. It got a wee bit crazy)!
After a ‘light splash’ we dried off and prepared to drive over to the Prickle Patch. Sir (a local leader and elder in the Leonora community) hosted us as we took a look around his hobby farm, brushing horses, cradling baby goats and feeding camels.
We downed a few snags and drinks before a couple rounds of ‘Raiders’ – just about one of the greatest games ever invented. The double-campfire scene was ‘straight vibezzz’ too.
It was fantastic spending time bonding and having fun with our teachers, leaders and friends in the Leonora community. Even riding home on the bus, the energy and enthusiasm was still bubbling over. We had a superb day.