As boot camp came to a close the kids began the task of packing up their belongings and getting ready to head to Egypt. Not all teams left on the same day and their team was a few days behind most of the others. The last few nights they were able to sleep in the dorm rooms. And after 2 weeks in tents that flooded often with all the summer rains in Florida, they all appreciated this quite a bit!
Here are a few pics of them packing up their gear….
You can see everyone’s duffle bags and carry-on’s lined up and ready to go.
There were a total of 70 duffle bags packed for the trip. Thirty five of them were the belongings of the team members and leaders and the rest were food.
They packed up the bus and headed to the airport to catch their first flight…
There first stop was in Paris. Leanne took this picture as they were approaching Paris…
They had to wait for their plane to Cairo so everyone found some way to catch a bit of sleep while they waited.
They arrived in Cairo and had a 10 hour bus trip to the orphanage. They finally arrived to their destination late at night and this is what they saw:
I thought you might like to read Leanne’s own words on what boot camp was like and how she feels about it now that she is home. The next posting on her trip will begin at the orphanage.
The first day I arrived at boot camp was a little hectic. The fist thing I went through was getting registered, transferring all my things to a duffel (which was challenging due to the fact everything had to be on chairs and nothing was allowed to touch the floor) they issued me, and getting acquainted with most of my team mates that had already arrived. We then took our stuff to our camp site that had already been taken over by mosquitoes. I had no idea what boot camp was going to be like, but I could tell they weren’t joking when they said this was no pamper camp.
We woke up every morning at five-thirty to one of our leaders singing some happy energetic song that not one of us appreciated at that time in the morning. We had exactly five minutes to be outside our tent with our boots on, name tag on, and a clean tent ready for inspection. We ran an obstacle course every morning, which included anything from climbing over a huge mountain of tires, using ropes to swing across water, crawling through barrels, etc…then it was on to breakfast! Meal time was always a highlight to everyone. We always had to eat everything we took or we got a SB, which stands for special blessing and we have to work them off during our free time. After that we had devotional time, listened to a couple speakers, had our brick laying class, lunch, some other classes, puppet class (which was one of my favorite classes), bath and laundry time, free time or SB time, dinner, and then we finished every day with a rally with all the teams.
We learned how to wash our clothes by hand, we took bucket baths, which was done in public so for two weeks we never really got clean, and how to do everything very quickly. Just about everybody’s level of vanity dropped drastically. There was no time for make-up, and not much time for clean clothes (it rained just about everyday and so it was hard to get your clothes dry), clean hair, and basic things like that. As unsanitary as this may seem, looking back I can see how important it was to get us used to this kind of environment. It prepared us for the field. We also had to learn a verse everyday. There was rarely a time when we didn’t have something to do.
The hardest parts for me were getting used to having everyday of my time planned out by someone else, and while I was there I was asked to write a brief testimony of why I decided to come to Teen Missions, what I had learned from boot camp, and that kind of thing. This wouldn’t have been a big ordeal if I had had time to think it out and had plenty of time to write it, but they needed it in three hrs, all of which I had classes. It was hard to write something personal under pressure. Not to mention in one of those classes we had a lady who walked by making sure everyone was paying attention. It just added to the pressure.
Boot camp was hard, and it was definitely a stretching experience, but it prepared us thoroughly for our trip, and it showed us what it is often times like for missionaries. Though it was tough it was worth it, and I would recommend Teen Missions to anyone who is interested in missionary work and wants to see if they would like it.