We finished our first camp at Topper English School! This past week and a half has been a whirlwind-and-a-half *phew* Before putting our nose to the grind stone and teaching, we enjoyed a weekend of tourism around major features of Kaohsiung city. Our wonderful host/Taiwan-Mom/FEARLESS leader “Heidi” took us to Cijin island to enjoy some landmarks, (too much) food, and the night life. The island was accessed by an underground tunnel which connects it to mainland Taiwan. Once through the tunnel, we switched out our cars for some motorized petal carts! We visited the famous lighthouse and ruins of a military fortress. A toe-dip in the warm waters of the coastal beach followed. Food stops were made about every hour…no, more like every stand *chuckle* Heidi never stops feeding us…like never! *bloated* Come evening, we hopped on a ferry that took us to the other side of the island and enjoyed some more Taiwanese food and hospitality. Sunday morning included church at Hope Bilingual Church, last minute preparations and moving in with our host families. With the guidance of our coordinator “Jennice”, we had the honor of partaking in the small and beautiful service with local believers of several nationalities.
Camp began Monday and ran through Friday from 9am-3:30pm. Each day consisted of singing, dancing, English, Crafts, Recreation, Science, and Cooking. This camp consisted of only 10 children but was no less lively for it. Each child brought a unique element whether through sweet smiles, witty humor, or uncontainable energy (an element which applied to almost all the boys). Each of us students adopted the new surname “Teacher” and reveled in the opportunity to be the hands of feet of Jesus, most of whom have never heard that name before now. It was a heart warming experience to watch every kid blossom as the week went on and grow deeply attached to one or two teachers. I taught beginner English classes which always started off the morning and lasted until lunch— it was 3 hours of me and my leader Annie trying to hold 5 kids’ attention *big eyes*
Following the end of each camp day, most of us enjoyed time with our host families. My host family included Jimmy (dad), Maxime (mom) and Vicky. Vicky was one of the children who attended the camp. She has the sweetest little smile! My family followed the Taiwanese hospitality tradition of keeping us fed and entertained. We went to the downtown night market, ate a ridiculous amount of food stations, and chatted with family friends. We had a couple quiet nights at home– these were my favorite times. Discussion was always a little restricted due to the language barrier. However, our host family was at a conversational level in English and never failed to engage us with questions. Through our discussions, Annie and I had the opportunity to gently introduce our faith (my kind of evangelizing :D) I couldn’t have asked for a better home and family. They gave us the best room, treated our every need and opened their hearts without hesitation.
Sadly, the camp has come to an end and we are leaving Kaohsiung for the mountains of Chiayi. Goodbyes were accompanied by tears for most of the children, leaders, and our team. However, we treasure our time here and look forward to the new relationships we will make.