Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Off to the north

I am off to the North Coast today to begin the transition to living in Montellano and working in Caraballo. I'll be staying with the director and his family for a few weeks until my things clear customs and we can find an apt. I'm really looking forward to settling in up there and am so excited about the things ahead.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Women's retreat

We just spent a good weekend together at a Women's Retreat for women from the island. It was good to develop new relationships and grow the ones that were already in place. I work with such amazing women who are so very special to me. It was a good weekend to have some alone time, know my God in a better and closer way, learn how to listen and obey what He is showing me and telling me, and to reaffirm the place I am at in my life. I continue to take in all that I learned and was able to see, and am so thankful for the time to get away.
Kids alive girls
Top: Kami, Jessi, Josie, Leona, Allison
Bottom: Leslie, Tracee

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More happy birthdays

Happy Birthday yesterday to Vic! We celebrated with pizza and cake and then the kids drenched him in water (a Dominican tradition, although it's supposed to be a surprise).

Hospital education

We had an adventure in medicine yesterday. One of the kids from school got whacked in the face which then forced him to fall on the back of his head. He never lost conciousness as far as I understand, but all his muscles went out...he was unable to stand and could barely bring his finger to his nose. After a quick evaluation and a few unclear head X-Rays at the local clinic, it was decided that we needed to see what was happening with a head CT and to check out his neck for possible reasons as to why he had almost no function of his arms and legs. An IV was placed before we left, and 3 of us carried him to the van for a ride down the mountain where there is a "clinic" with the equipment we needed. No hospital transfer via ambulance, no HIPPA forms to sign, we just packed him up, rigged up his IV bottle to the back seat, and tried to immoblize him the best we could...and prayed! Halfway down the mountain he really needed to go to the bathroom, and after a failed attempt to go while tilting over a bottle, he all the sudden was on his knees in the van, his muscles were back! He was then able to stand outside the van, after a few questioning looks between Leslie an me as to whether this "spinal/head fracture" pt should actually be walking around! We made it to the hospital where we were sent to get the CT, never having received an exam or evaluation. The transfer from bed to CT table was horrendous, with the staff pulling him by leg and arm to the table. Thank God that he was cleared from any spinal injury, but we didn't know it at the time and it was HARD to watch. He then had a neck X-ray and was not only lifted in a similar fashion to the bed, but was then flipped on his tummy,neck brace removed, and his neck turned to the side (!!!!!!!!!!!) for the picture. I couldn't actually believe what I was seeing. If he had truly had a neck injury, this could have caused further damage or even paralysis.

After the CT, we were sent back to the ER to wait, and wait, and wait. The trauma doctor who was to review the scans wasn't quite in yet, so we waited some more for the pictures to be printed and then were able to transfer to another clinic...where the trauma doctor was going to be to read the results.

The other clinic was (of course) just around the corner and across the street, so our little pt (who still hasn't technically been cleared of any head or spinal injury) was put in a wheelchair and wheeled down the street, around cars and motorcycles to the next clinic!
When we got to that clinic, we were told that the doctor was out and didn't even arrive for another hour and we were the 3rd in line. Leslie (she's a pediatrician with training in emergency medicine) had a look over the films that we had with us of his scans...and we left! It was a decision based on his coming around and having full functioning and having looked over all the results. He still had his IV in and we were had stopped at a little store/restaurant, so I took it out while we waited for the pastelitos to heat up. It was truly and I am glad to have done to see how it works, but am thankful to have had Leslie with me and that the results were all great.
So for all those nurses and doctors, enjoy your transport teams, backboards, hallways, and on-call MD that is in-house!

Puerto Plata

Just a picture from our 10 minute beach stop!


We made an overnight trip to Caraballo Monday night which was another nice trip. Monday we caught up on all the happenings, drove around Puerto Plata, and made a 10 min. stop on the beach (had to!). Tuesday was filled with sponsorship things, reading letters to the kids from their sponosors and getting responses back. It really is something I'm beginning to enjoy as it is the connection between the sponsor and the child, opening up the world to both of them. There is something so amazing about these kids, I am drawn to them and love spending time with them. The school cook was out, so another teacher and some helpers made lunch...and I got to join in. Ever made rice for 150 people? The quantities are fun to learn about!

I had a look an a possible apt and am very excited about getting moved in if it all works out. Still waiting for stuff to clear customs, but in the meantime I will be moving there and living with the director of the school and his family for a few weeks. Any time spent in the village is so precious, I wish you all to come and learn and share in it!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today's wisdom

We must be more intentional about holding onto truth (Eldridge)

8 is great!

Happy Birthday to the best little girl in the whole world who I love and miss so much, Emily!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Welcome, Diego

I got to be a part of something really special today, seeing a new child enter The Ark, Jarabacoa (the orphanage). It was amazing to see his huge smile as he looked around and discovered his new house and bed and all his surroundings. It made me step back and think about what a privilege it is to work with these kids and the blessing that they are in my life. He seemed to have no problem transitioning into life with the other kids for his first afternoon and easily fit into the soccer game and playing. Sometimes I wonder why I get to do this work and am so thankful to be here and come alongside the others that are loving these kids and pouring themselves into their lives. What an changed future these kids have, full of stability, hope, love, and security.


Over the last 2 days we have been busy at the ANIJA school de-lousing! It's been a fun little time, although not so much for the kids! The stuff we're using to get rid of the little ones is so smelly and strong, but apparently effective, so I guess it's best. It's just nice to be able to do something like this for the kids when lice can otherwise be a big problem that also spreads quickly. Although sometimes only a temporary fix, hopefully some of these kids can have some non-itchy heads for awhile. We're back at it again Monday as well!


We got to celebrate Leslie's birthday on Tuesday the 16th with all the Kids Alive team as well as the house moms from the ARK. It was a fun time with pizza and Micah-made cake and lots of candles!!!
Happy birthday on the same day to dear little Julie!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


We went to Caraballo yesterday for a day trip to take care of some things, and it was lovely as usual. I am so excited about moving there and getting set up. It's going to be amazing! Still trying to figure out dates and the timing of it all, but it looks like I should be up there the first week of February...but as things go, that may change! As far as plans, well, they are extremely fluid at the moment until I know when my stuff will clear customs and I find a place to live, etc. Candace and I will be housemates, which I'm really excited about. I met her in December and she's from Canada, also working in the village. Hopefully it'll all come together soon, day by day! Lots of things to do around in Jarabacoa though as I've been working at the school and with other health programs developing ideas and forms and plans!

As motorcycles are the main means of transportation, most things are done by motor, including moving your washing machine!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fruit flies

So we were wondering last night...Where do fruit flies come from? It seems that they suddenly appear, within seconds, of having open fruit. Last night it was pineapple. No fruit flies in sight whilst eating dinner, yet 3 seconds after opening the top of the pineapple, fruit flies abounded. Where were they? Are they just sitting on the wall, under the table, waiting for fruit-hoping today will be the day? I'm stumped.

Friday, January 12, 2007

They were wrong...

A watched pot does indeed boil, I saw it happen tonight.

A Trautwein welcome back

It has been lots of fun being back in the Dominican Republic! These photos are from my first night back, unpacking and bringing little gifts for the family. The boys disappeared to play with light sabers while Chase covered herself in glitter-everything and Micah began smelling like a gingerbread girl (new lotion). It's great being here with them and they continue to support me and encourage me as I begin to get settled into what will be my Dominican life!

Thank you, Chai Tea

If I could meet the person who created Chai Tea, he/she would get a big hug. Thanks to chai tea I have had some of the most amazing and fantastic conversations. Under the influence of chai, I think more clearly, write more profoundly, share more openly. Drinking chai with another makes me suddenly feel connected, something deeper that we share. Among the health benefits listed here, deepening friendships should be added. I don't know what they put in it, but I like it. Thank you chai tea, you have bettered my life!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back in the Dominican Republic

Well, after 14 hours of travel, I have arrived safe and fairly sound! It was a long overnight trip, but lovely to be back here. I started the task of unpacking a few things tonight and reorganizing my bags. I'll be going to the north coast, to the village Caraballo where I'll be living and working, but still trying to work out all the timing and details. For the moment, I continue with the Trautwein family in Jarabacoa.

It's amazing the lessons we can learn if we keep our eyes open and ears tuned. I was sitting next to a semi-drunk, mostly-deaf Dominican man on the way down here. After he had spilled a bit of his Vodka and Coke on me whilst looking out the window, he had an amazing comment. "It all looks pretty nice from up here, no?" Interesting because it is beautiful from the air and appears perfect and serene. It's so nice to fly over the coast and then get into the mountains, watching valleys and farms and all that is below. It's hard to have the same feelings all the time when I'm in the village and see the poverty and sheer need that surrounds. From the air there are no bumpy dirt roads or rivers to cross. There is only patchwork after patchwork of the beautiful ground below.

It humbles me to learn little lessons, albeit from a funny little Dominican airline passenger. I just sat there and smiled to myself because I had just thought through my own situation. It's so easy to sit and think how hopeless and hard the situation is...but if I can take a step back, see the big picture, that there are other lives, other hearts, other stories being woven into the Big Picture, it all becomes clear. Life again is beautiful, calm, and full of hope and joy.

So as the plane landed and in classic Latin American style, all were clapping for a safe flight and smooth landing, I smiled to myself. I was able to step back, get a glimpse of the big picture, and step off the plane.

Monday, January 08, 2007

More and more friends

We had a great night tonight at the Weatherford's for dinner with Brandon and Alison and Matt and Bethany...and of course the babies! Lots of talking and laughing at the little ones and some cuddling...all made for a nice night together.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Fantastic friends

It has been an amazing month to catch up with old friends! This afternoon I got to get coffee (why do we say that when neither of us had coffee??!!) with my old friend Aaron. It was fantastic to sit and chat and catch up on the years. It's great just being able to pick right up where we left off and carry on talking, feels like we've stayed in touch forever. I've reconnected with so many friends from high school this month, I look forward to staying in touch and really knowing what happens in their lives. I've realized how much I love just to sit and talk and hear from people, really share in their lives and know what is going on. I've learned how important listening is and seeing people's hearts and the joy in KNOWING others. Lots of lessons I continue to learn. A few more Oregon days to pack in more friend and family visits, then it's back to the Dominican Republic!


I just checked on weather in Dominican Republic and it is 78 degrees! Hard to imagine I'll be there in just a few days, being plucked from one world to another again! It is a world I love and cherish and look forward to being a part of again. The warm weather and sunny beaches don't hurt either!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More baby time

I got to hang out with baby Ellie (and David and Beth) last night for awhile. It was nice to cuddle and chat with my really grown-up cousins, now that they have 3 kids! I also got to see some of my nurse friends who were working, as Beth delivered at Willamette Falls, the hospital I worked at over the summer.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Baby

Baby Elizabeth (Ellie) Sandy joined us for New Year's Day today weighing in at 8lbs 11 oz. She's the third little one, but first girl, to my cousin David and his wife Beth. Exciting seeing their family grow and the baby girl in his arms!