The fifth SOS started in the usual fashion of meet’s and greets when people arrived. When I had arrived all but one person was there. For this program there were 2 Hungarians, 3 Americans, 1 Czech and 1 Brit, if you don’t include the team. The first evening was socialising and the mass of commitment. The second day included Bob’s induction and team-building program. This is known with some people as Bob Induced fun and with others as Bob Induced Torture. I must admit some of Bob’s team-building has been tortuous but this was most certainly fun. There were lots of activities which included Shadow Puppets and making rhythmic banging on a table. Afterwards we had a social evening which involved carving an object that had been suggested by a member of the camp. On the Tuesday, we had the first day of service at Savio House. The service included clearing some woodland that might be used as a car park or outside chapel. Wednesday we worked at Bollington Cemetery to clear the driveway and the graves to make them look cleaner. We spent most of the day where we saw that one of the graves of a father had a picture drawn by their son, which showed Carlos Tevez holding the FA cup saying “We finally did it”. This was a high motivation for some of us for the rest of the afternoon. After we had finished our work for the day, and we had had our evening meal, we went back to the cemetery for a little prayer service for the faithful departed.
On Thursday we left in the early morning we left in the early morning to head up to Kendal to do some work for the Salesian Sisters that reside there. One group cleaned the kitchen of the Laura Vicuna centre while others cleared the prayer garden. In the evening we went to a local deer park to view the local landscape and wildlife.
Friday brought more work at Brettargh Holt. This was working at the back of the house and clearing the weeds around the garden and near to some of the trees. In the Evening we had our service of reconciliation. The service involved an examination of conscience and not the traditional confession. We wrote the things we were sorry for on a piece of paper which dissolved in water when it was placed in there. We were then given a general absolution.
On Saturday, we had our final day of service at Brettargh Holt and we finished off our tasks to make sure that everything was as good as it could be. We then went back to Savio House where we primarily staying. In the evening we had an Inter-Cultural evening. We were treated to a nursery rhyme from the Czech Republic, a cultural understanding of Hungary, a few games from Britain and a Salsa dance from America.
Sunday brought us our day off which involved a lovely trip to Sherwood Forest. We had a lovely trip through the exhibition centre, had a lovely work through the forest and in the afternoon we were treated to a Barbecue with Bob’s family.
On Monday, we worked at the Parish Church of St Gregory’s in Bollington. We helped clear the roof of the Parish hall, the back of the church building and the front garden area of the church. The evening was spent doing the traditional labyrinth prayer.
Tuesday was working at Bootle, which meant another 7am start. We got there for Breakfast and we started working on cleaning the inside and the front of the church. Some people went off to some parishioners’ houses to help them where they couldn’t do the work themselves. For lunch, we went to join the Vides group and the young people that they were working with. After another full days work, we departed for Savio House for our prayer evening. This included exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Taizé chants.
On Wednesday we finished off the work, at Savio House. This ended up clearing the back of the house to the right of the north lawn. In the afternoon, we cleaned the tools, washed the boots and cleaned the rooms that we had been staying in to finalise the work we had been doing. The evening was a competition of two teams. The Teams were The Internationals against the Incredible Builders. The games involved a quiz on American history, 2 picture rounds of European Cities and Car manufacturers, a spelling contest and a game of Higher-Lower with a deck of cards. At the end of the evening, The Internationals won the competition, however throughout the evening prizes had been given out and it was a fair contest between the two teams on prizes.
Thursday had the mass of commissioning and the presentation of awards which included; the hardest worker, the most determined worker and the most misunderstood person of the week. There was a lot of fun and a lot of reminiscing on this day to remember what we had done over the program. People left during the morning while others went on a walk through the village ready for their break in London.
The whole experience was great to re-live and great to share with such a diverse group of people. The work we have done and how it might have helped the many people we did service for was a great feeling and one that could only be experienced to understand.