We have a team coming in for a week, and so right now we are a little extra-busy, as we get ready for them. Most of the preparations aren't exceptionally exciting to write about, but since that is what we are doing this week, that's what you'll get to read about.
Meal planning and shopping take a lot of time, as we cook for the teams here at the house. This year, since food prices have jumped so much, we are having to be a bit more careful with the food budget than normal, and that takes some extra time in the planning stages. We try to bake and prepare some items ahead of time, so we have more time to spend with our team while they are here. This team will have 13 members, so we will be cooking for at least 21 people, for the week.
We try to make sure the house is picked up and ready, as we would for any guests. A few things get done specifically for teams, that we wouldn't do otherwise, and this can be a good thing. If we didn't have teams coming through, I don't know when we would actually make it a priority to organize the carport, where donated items are stored. It is a disliked job, so it rarely gets done until it is absolutely necessary. I also try to make sure that we are all the way caught up on laundry before a team arrives (a difficult task in our house), so that we aren't struggling with that when the team is here. Sometimes we need to do some laundry for the team during the week, so it's best that our own laundry isn't hogging the machine full time during team week (as it is most other weeks of the year).
The Land Cruiser has been used as a construction vehicle for months - so it will need to receive a good cleaning before it will be presentable for use by the team. We also try to give it a quick mechanical "going over," as it is annoying to have vehicle breakdowns and flat tires when transporting groups. Of course, it still happens relatively often, but we feel better knowing we tried to prevent problems!
A lot of Allen's pre-team work is making logistical arrangements. He reserves the hotel rooms here in Gracias, and those for the night the team will stay in San Pedro Sula. He reserves extra vehicles, and hires translators, when needed. If the team is traveling outside of Gracias, he arranges for their meals and lodging in those other locations.
Allen also makes all of the arrangements for the work of the teams. Construction teams have to have materials purchased in advance, and we have to make certain that the construction site is in readiness for the work the team will be doing. For medical teams, he determines what specific medicines are most needed locally, and finds out what medicines will be brought by the team. Then he purchases other medicines here in Honduras. Sometimes this takes a good bit of coordination, as we might find that medicines the teams could bring can be purchased cheaper locally. There is also extra paperwork for medical teams, as the doctors have to have a copy of their licenses registered with the government here. Allen also makes arrangements for the locations of clinics, and arranges for the clinics to be advertised in advance.
So, there's a good bit of preparation work, and I apologize for not posting here much this week! We enjoy hosting teams very much, and can't wait for them to get here. (I have to say that, because I know some of the incoming team members are reading this . . . Hi Smirna :-D . . . ) JUST KIDDING! We really do have so much fun with our teams, and wow, do the kids ever look forward to them!
And now, I need to get back to work. This morning the power went out for a while, so I wasn't able to keep moving laundry through the system. Now the power is on, but the water is off. I will remember to be thankful that the pila is full of water, so I can keep the laundry going. I'm off to bucket water into the washer!