Our time at the OVC Project is now officially over, but we went out with a bang. This past Friday we threw a fun going-away party (for ourselves) as the project was shutting down for the May school break and we are preparing to get on the plane to leave Namibia.
In the beginning our plans were modest, but as the day got closer, things got better and better. As we kept brainstorming new ways to bless the kids, more and more ideas kept coming and God made cool provisions so it all worked out.
Originally, we decided that we had to have the right food for the farewell party. We had had such a great time at the OVC Christmas party, we decided a similar menu (chicken, rice, potatoes, soft-drinks) was a must. As we found out from previous experience, this kind of spread is a once-per-year (or less) luxury, so many, many people (even if not officially invited) show up for the food.
Then, we started getting creative. Nicole and Tricia (the AIM short-termers from Kentucky) thought it would be awesome to use some of their supporter’s funds to give some sort of english book to each of the kids: books are such a rare treasure, and almost no-one in the village has even one. The next idea was “What if we could find English children’s bibles to give to each of the kids?” A couple of phone calls to a well-connected friend in Windhoek later, and we had 200 kids bibles at our disposal for a bargain of a price.
Next, we knew that as winter was coming that very few kids have sufficient bedding, let alone mattresses or bed-frames or stuff we take for granted. The idea of purchasing a blanket for each kid with money from our supporters really excited us. Sabrina went to a local department store here called PEP, chatted with the manager and explained what we were trying to do, and asked if there was any sort of deal or assistance the store could provide. She kept being given contact numbers of more and more senior managers in the PEP chain, and after dozens of phone calls and faxed letters later, we were stunned early last week to hear that PEP had decided to donate all 180 blankets, one per kid! We were amazed and excited to see how God was using local business to also show the orphans that they are valuable.
We had requested in advance “special project” money from our supporters so as to pay for the blankets: when we found out that that money was still at our disposal, we knew we could have a lot of fun. We ended up purchasing school books, crayons and pencil crayons, pens, erasers, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, as well as giving the kids some sweets that had been sent from North America.
As you can imagine (or maybe you can’t), arranging all these details takes a lot of work, so we were exhaustedly excited by the time the Friday rolled around. The day went off without a hitch. After many, many speeches of thanks (speech-making here is sacrosanct) we were able to feed the OVCs first, then the rest of the crowd (300 or more), and then we were able to individually give each of the kids their gift. We were touched by the sincere expressions of gratitude, and were glad that we could do something for these amazing kids whom we have fallen in love with.