These are M.'s new boots: 6-inch, all-leather construction boots. Why you ask, does a 16 year old girl need such footwear? Because she is travelling to Samoa this summer with an organization called Teen Mission International. She and other young people will be helping to rebuild after last fall's tsunami. M. will be gone for about two months. The first couple of weeks will be spent in training in southern Florida. The group then travels to Samoa for the actual mission work, returning to Florida for a few days at the end for a debriefing session. (The debriefing session will be the first time they experience air conditioning and have access to ice in their drink since the beginning of the training camp.) The boots are required of all participants...to protect feet during construction and from picking up any unwanted parasites. M. has undertaken this venture all on her own. She has done her own research, is working on buying her own supplies, and is writing and sending out support letters.
M. is very excited about this upcoming venture. I think it will be extremely hard work but also a wonderful experience. You know, 'the toughest job you'll ever love' sort of thing. I am playing ostrich about her being gone for so long and flying to Florida and back by herself and travelling to Samoa and... Well, let's just say I won't be running out of things to worry about. J. and I have worked hard to prepare our children to venture out on their own. But as the actual departure date approaches, I find myself wondering what on earth we were thinking! I just want all my children with me all the time. (Except when I don't.) I'm not sure I'm really ready for this mature children-thing. But, boy am I proud of her for wanting to do this.