It’s Monday August 4h, two days into our trip, and I am calling this post the arrival. It’s called that, because up until last night, the only thing we did was travel and arrive here. Of course much more than that happened along the way, but if you look at what we have accomplished, we arrived in the Bay Area. When I think about everything that it takes to get a group of 20 jr high students and 4 leaders from Seattle to San Francisco, it really is quite a task. Here are a few of the highlights (or lowlights depending on who you ask and when) from the road:
I know we can scarcely remember life before smartphones, but when a group of students don’t have them on a two day road trip, a funny thing happens. They begin to talk to each other, have shared experiences, make up games to pass the time etc…It is quite amazing, and all the more realization that we lose some human connection when we are glued to our devices….and I’m guilty as charged. We listened to a lot of comedy, boy bands, car danced, slept, play cards, snacked, did mad libs along the road. It was good.
There are a lot of moving parts to making travel happen, and sometimes there are hiccups and almost events along the way. We did run into a little car issue sometime after lunch on Saturday. One of our vehicles started making a really loud rattling noise (which is quite disconcerting, especially since none of us are mechanics.) The noise got louder so we pulled over before Weed, CA to take a look. We found a hose had come of, and after investigation, (thanks smartphones and friends who know more that I do!!) realized that it didn’t affect the ability to drive the vehicle. We pushed on to Weed.
On Sunday, outside of Lake Shasta, a cute little fawn ran out into the highway. It missed two of our caravan, but Rikke clipped the deer and sent it rolling a bit, before it jumped up an ran off into the woods. Hitting a deer at a decent rate of speed is not part of the plan. We were fortunate and God’s hand was upon us, that we didn’t do damage to the vehicle or to us. The deer is the only thing that might have sustained damage, and considering the circumstances, I will take that every time.
We arrived in the Bay Area, and had plans to hang out at the beach before we started our trip, but since our vehicle was still making tons of noise (even after reattaching the hose) we decided to rent a van for a day or two while we get the Suburban checked out by a mechanic. That cut into any time we might have had at the beach, but the students handled it great (partly cause they didn’t know we were planning a trip to the beach…just another reason for a “need-to-know” schedule). They were able to walk to a park and hangout a bit while Jeff and I got the van.
We finally were able to get settled into our housing site, do orientation and head off to dinner. We ate at an Ethiopian restaurant in Oakland and enjoyed a variety of dishes. I was impressed with our students. Most of them jumped right in and tried the food. They learned that it was quite delicious. The red lentils, chicken, and the lamb seemed to be the favorite.
After dinner, we took a prayer tour of Oakland. We drove around the city, learning about the different neighborhoods and challenges of those neighborhoods. We stopped to pray at a few places and also prayed along the way with our eyes open. Lack of jobs, poor education, homelessness, lack of affordable housing, violence and drugs are a few of the problems that Oakland faces. We also learned about some of the ministries, and the good things that are happening here to help make a difference in peoples lives.
After the prayer, we debriefed, hung out and hit the rack. We are ready to start today. We are breaking down into 3 different serving groups. They are cleverly named: 1, 2, and 3. Here is how they break down. You can find your student and if you see a tweet or a picture from that serving group, you will know that is what your student is doing.
SG1: Terri & Rikke- Jesse, Sara G, Sydney, Sarah W, Brooke, Michael, Cody, Cole, Joseph
SG2: Dave- Lilli, Abhi, Cossette, Denae, Max
SG3: Jeff- Parker, Emma, Harrison, Josh, Connor