Day 8/9 - High School Estonia -Davis Saunders

723BBCE6-9321-4397-A8D2-5F28DA95B2FB.jpegThe 23rd started out VERY slowly. Waking up after trying our very hardest to catch up on sleep on the hardwood floor was a challenge to say the least. We ate breakfast, which I assume was from the local grocery store, although I was asleep when it was acquired. It was a very welcome break (at least for me) from porridge. We also got to hear some of the reflections that campers made ad they left camps, which was incredibly encouraging. Multiple people found Jesus during the week, and some of them were complete surprises. Encouraged and well-fed, though still quite sleepy, we packed up our things and headed to the after-party. We were actually all very sad to leave octacentrum, despite its inhospitable nature we came to love the place and I think it will always hold a special octagon-shaped place in our hearts.

Quick side note: We managed to bust open a lock on a door which no one, not even the owner of the building, knew what it lead to. However, I prefer our imaginations as to what was behind it so I will leave you in the suspense which we no longer have.

While not all of the campers were at the after-party, a lot came and it was a great time getting in a few final conversations and goodbyes. Austin somehow convinced me to go along with his obsession with trying weird food and got me to try some sort of dried fish jerky which may be the worst thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. But stronger than the fish taste in my mouth, was the bittersweet taste of goodbye. Bitter, knowing we may never see these campers who I’ve bonded with again in this lifetime, but sweet knowing we will see them in the next. 

On the train ride back to Tallin, there were not enough seats for us, but this actually got fantastic group conversation, although our blocking of the hallway likely contributed to several negative American stereotypes. As we departed from the train, there was a brief moment of panic, as Kedrick had left his bag on the train, and sprinted back on to grab it, entirely unaware that Austin had grabbed it for him and was holding it. Austin, realizing the predicament, ran back on to the train to find Kedrick, just as Kedrick got back off the train, in total confusion. Fortunately, they were able to find each other in time. In retrospect the stress wasn’t worth it as we had about 10 minutes before the train was scheduled to leave again but none of us knew that until afterwards. 

In Tallin, we went back to the same hotel we stayed at the beginning, and had some time to shower (praise God) and relax for a bit. We then went to an Italian restaurant which was amazing, and walked around a little bit. We returned to the hotel, had our nightly debrief, and then got to sleep on a real bed for the first time in what felt like an eternity.


After our much needed rest, we ate the delicious hotel breakfast and enjoyed the perks of a European cappuccino machine. We then had a group debrief with the Josiah Venture team and the American team that ran the camp in Tallin. It started with worship with Kenny, an Arizonan who’d been at the other camp, which was wonderful. He played the same songs he’d played at the very beginning of the trip, which helped us remember how we’d felt in that room just one week before. It was the perfect mindset to be in as we reflected on our experiences and shared them with the other group.

After debrief, we ate lunch at the marketplace, and met up with a few campers who joined us on our Tallin expeditions. It made us feel loved that they took the effort and gave up their day to come see us one last time and it was really fun to interact with them. It was especially special to see Gustav, who lives 4 hours away from Tallin and stayed with his friend in the city so he could see us. That was amazing because he really bonded with a lot of members of our team.

After lunch, we did some sightseeing. We walked around old-town Tallin and climbed our way to the top of a tall tower from which we could see the city. We then split up, some of us went souvenir shopping, some of us went to see a location from the movie Tenet. We headed back to the hotel and said our final goodbyes to the Estonians who’d joined us. We ordered in and ate in the dining room which the hotel graciously let us use after hours. We did our final debrief, packed up, and went to bed awaiting a very early departure.

- Davis Saunders