Summer Camp on the Amazon River

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My experiences of going to summer camp in the United States were going to the camp ground outside of town, sleeping in a bunk bed in a cabin, eating a variety of foods, playing games, participating in activities, and making new friends. Summer camp on the Amazon River for the people that live there is similar in what happens, but very different in how it happens.
In 2007, my family went to help with a camp for teens on the Amazon River for a week. Teenagers from the surrounding villages were invited to come and participate. About one hundred came. Since life is hard and mostly just about surviving for the river people, they don’t have many luxuries, and getting to go to camp is a very extraordinary treat. Although the camp, by American standards, is very basic and simple, the people there are enthralled by all that goes on. There are two dormitories for the campers and staff- one for the girls and one for the guys. Each person brings a hammock to sleep in and the bathrooms consist of outhouses and the river to bathe in. The kitchen and cafeteria, which works differently than an American camp, has each person bring their own plate, cup, and silverware to camp with them and to each meal. Breakfast consisted of bread and coffee and lunch and dinner consisted of meat, rice, beans, salad, and noodles. After each meal, every person was responsible for washing their own dishes and putting them away.

In the morning, the campers would split into groups according to age and have devotion time with one of the staff members. The different topics for the devotions were very similar to what they would be anywhere else in the world- dating, faith, family, and a relationship with Christ. Playing sports such as soccer, hockey, and volleyball and games such as water balloon fights, tug of war, and food games is how the afternoons were spent. The majority of the people on the river only play soccer, so it was very entertaining to watch them learn new sports and games. One of the days, they set a tarp going down a pretty steep hill into the river and ran soap and water and created a slide. They enjoyed that so much that even after the water was shut off there were still people trying to go down. Each night at dinner, there was a different theme and all would dress accordingly. After dinner, we all would get together and usually my dad would preach. The campers and staff would then interact, play games, and have competitions until it was time for bed. Sleepily, everyone would return to their dormitory for bed.

When the week was over, the same things were accomplished as an American camp- teenagers from different places came together, had fun, learned new things, met new people, were spiritual strengthened, and decisions for Christ were made. It was a great experience for me because I got to see how much fun and what great experiences you can have, the friendships you can make, and the things you can learn even in a place that is very rustic and basic.





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Mr. Stew said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm
Excellent, Kim! And no numbers!!!
 
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