For many of us, camp holds a special pocket of memories within our minds. The atmosphere that a camp brings is something that many of us were not expecting as per our usual stops along the way during this second semester in South Africa. As our group pulled into Camp El Olam we were welcomed with lots of smiling faces, music, games, and new people that some of us will surely keep in touch with. Our time here was an unexpected contrast with much of the semester, which seemed like a lot at first, but it was a very refreshing experience that many of us needed. The weekend started off with a short walk around the campgrounds with a surprise visit from some bush pigs, and throughout the week we took part in a competition for a surprise treat (shout out to team #1). It was a very eventful weekend filled with so many laughs, and great people.
“After spending four consecutive summers at camp I can say it’s one of the places where I feel most at home. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about it because of the summer approaching and how I’ll be returning to work at one of my favourite places. Arriving at Camp El Olam, the last thing I was expecting was the familiar feeling of excitement bubbling in the pit of my stomach thinking about the coming camp days. As much fun as the pre-planned activities provided us with, the true joy that I experienced came from the unplanned moments spent with the staff at El Olam. I had the opportunity to get to know a couple of the Ablaze students and staff there and it was such an amazing thing for me to see two of my favourite things come together: God and camp.
“The camp I attend in Canada is not a religious camp and my thoughts about going home have been surrounded by how I’ll continue in my faith journey while working there this summer. My answer, as simple as it sounds, came from one of the Ablaze students, who I can now call a friend, named Kez. We were talking about camp, and I mentioned mine saying that it’s not religious and she casually stated, “It’s okay, it gives you an opportunity to share the light for God.” I don’t think she realized how much of an impact that statement left on me. As much as I love being in a community that shares the love for God that I do, being outside of that can provide you with the opportunity to spread that love of God and help others see it too. I don’t have to go back home and outwardly tell people I’m a Christian, the way I live can be just as big of a statement.
“During our stay the staff became like part of our community and the way God brings people together continues to baffle me. From Canada to South Africa, the people I have had the opportunity to connect with while we have been here will stay with me for a very long time. Both Kez and Sikkah, without realizing it, showed me what portraying God’s love looks like. Being kind and being able to share laughter are some things that we shouldn’t forget. El Olam has definitely been a highlight of my time on Outtatown. God Brought me a sense of home when I needed it most and he brought it in the shape of Camp El Olam. I truly think God’s hand is upon that place and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see it and experience it for myself.”- Jana Arnold
With our time remaining in South Africa does not seem too plentiful, many of us are awaiting the time when we can go home, and many are trying to stretch out our experiences here to see how far they can go. It seems as if we arrived not too long ago, but undoubtedly we still have time to be here in the place that we are.
Thanks for giving this a read. Adios
P.S it took us a while to get this to ya because we were climbing a mountain, updates on that to follow.
Scribed by: Gil Greenway, and Olita Elia