To say that we had a great time in Ethiopia is a HUGE understatement. I know it’s going to take me awhile to fully process all the events of the trip (and all of my 900+ pictures, haha!). In the meantime I wanted to post a sampling of photos from our time at camp. So, without further ado…
TOP 10 THINGS WE LOVED ABOUT CAMP LANGANO (In no particular order!)
10. Beautiful African Scenery
The scenery in Ethiopia is absolutely breathtaking. I apologize, but even the most professionally-taken photos (which mine are not) can’t do it justice. One of my favorite parts of the trip was the drive from Addis to camp. The further we got into the country the more giddy I became. I was giggling like a little kid, my neck craned out of the bus window with my camera glued to my face. I kept saying to TJ, “Oh my gosh, look! This is REAL Africa! WE ARE IN AFRICA!” Yep, we were definitely in Africa. And the views were everything I dreamed they would be!
9. Cultural Experiences
We had a lot of fun experiencing the many cultural differences in Ethiopia. From trying to speak Amharic to eating the local cuisine, I can definitely say we gave everything the ole’ college try! The meal you see below is called Injera. Injera is the national dish in Ethiopia and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. The tortilla-looking part is made from a grain called teff, and it is SOUR with the consistency of a thin pancake. The stew on top is made from a chickpea or lentil mixture blended with spices, and sometimes the plate included a cabbage, potato, and carrot salad as well. The injera is used as the utensil, scooping and soaking up everything else. When I heard Injera was going to be sour, I thought to myself, “Oh, no problem. I like sourdough bread, so this will be fine!” Um, it was not AT ALL like sourdough bread. I really liked the stew and the salad, but I have to admit that by mid-week I had forgone the injera for rolls of bread instead. Injera was served for breakfast and lunch, and it was normally pasta or rice for dinner.
8. Swimming in Lake Langano
Swimming in the lake was a highlight for sure! The kids LOVED swimming and it was so entertaining to watch them splash around! Many of them had never swam before. The first day we swam in the lake the water was FREEZING. The other times it was like bathwater. I’m not sure what caused the difference. The views at the lake were spectacular!
7. Team-building Activities and Games
The team-building games and activities organized by the staff were great! The kids definitely bonded by working through the challenges presented in each situation. The ropes course was a major highlight. There were several stations designed to push the kids to work together and trust each other. My personal favorite was the rope swing! The camp staff really capitalized on the teachable moments that naturally arose from frustration or team breakdown. The activities were both fun and intentional for team growth.
6. Worship time with the Summer Staff
We sang, worshiped, shared, and prayed with the summer staff in the morning before camp began and in the evening after the campers returned to their cabins. I know I will have more to share on this later, so for now I’ll just say that it was one of the most meaningful parts of camp for me.
5. Soccer Games
The campers were divided onto 8 teams once they arrived at camp. Throughout the week there was a round-robin tournament going on between the teams, concluding with a championship game held on the last full day of camp. TJ’s team was in the final, so it was especially fun cheering for his players. The championship was a blast! The teams were very evenly matched, making for an exciting game. I was especially impressed by how supportive all of the kids who weren’t playing were for those on the field.
4. New Friendships
The best part of camp was all the new friendships we made. The group we were with from Browncroft Church was AMAZING. We are so grateful that they adopted us as two of their own! The summer staff and missionaries living in Langano are all unbelievably kind people, and I especially enjoyed getting to know some of my new Sports Friends co-workers who live in Ethiopia. Besides the friendships we made, watching the kids grow in friendship with each other over the course of the week was sweet as well!
3. Dancing, Singing, and Cheering
Camp Langano was LOUD! The week was filled with dancing, singing, and cheering. Needless to say, I fit right in! Haha!
2. The LOVE of the Staff and Kids
The people of Ethiopia are incredibly loving. My little heart could barely hold all the love I felt for the people we met! You couldn’t go anywhere without someone’s arm around your neck or hand intertwined with yours. The enormous love the staff had for the kids was inspiring and displayed such a tangible picture of God’s love for us.
1. NON-STOP FUN
For someone like me who loves kids, sports, and being ridiculously silly, camp was a dream come true! It was pure fun from sunrise to sunset. I know the kids had a life-changing week, and it was a privilege to share the experience with them!