Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My life

What is this life that I live that is hard to fully understand? Why is this now such a part of who I am? I long for others to know this, to see and feel as I do.

This is my life. It's waking up to the roosters at 5 am, then music from the loud speakers at 6:30. It's greeting Domy my neighbor in her salon next door and having oatmeal with cloves and milk for breakfast. It's the joy of my day to hear my kids singing after lunch, clapping and smiling, their tough exteriors wiped away even if for only 20 minutes. It's dirt roads, potholes, crossing rivers to get to the school, cane fields, rain and sun and heat. It's Spanish and Creole, rice and beans and plantains and yucca.

I feel like my life here is built on relationships and moments I get to spend with others. It's hearing Big Wilson speak English, hugging Zenida closely, watching mischevious little Vldamir get in trouble again. It's listening to Lydia's wisdom and watching Alberto' faith. It's getting special coffee made for me because Zeneida knows I love it. It's having Gira on my back saying to her dad "Papi, mira!" And it's watching Princesa grow, holding her tight, cuddling her when she cries.

I think this life is hard to understand because it has taken me so far away. But it's not about leaving family and friends, it's about finding them wherever I am. Yet, it's leaving, but it's not forgetting or loving any less. If anything, I cherish even more the time I am given with my family and friends.

When no electricity, bucket showers, dirt in the elbow crease that almost never seems to wash away, and a regular application of DEET have become such a way of life for me, it is hard to imagine anything else.

To be with these children, with those around my, that's what my days are. To not only share Jesus' joy with them, but to truly find it in their eyes and hearts. If only for today little Frankie knows that he is loved, that is enough for me, my job is done.

What started as a 5-week trip has now become my heart and my passion. It's tracing an 8 year old's hand because she can't write her name yet on a card to her sponsor. It's giving kids a chance, a help, a hope. Even if it means organizing yet another bag of clothes, translating one more time the same thing, or getting another fungal infection, I will take it all!

This is my life. Sometimes hard to undersand, seemingly chance for me to end up here, but feeling that it has been planned for years, these are my days. Sharing love, finding joy, letting go of self to discover something greater. I understand this life. I love this life.

And as rain echoes from the tin roof next door and the little girl in the street runs around in her undies chanting "lluvia, lluvia!", I feel at peace. For here, for now, this is where I belong.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Whoever on the team thought that it was a good idea to leave a whole box of Reese's Puffs cereal...thank you. I am forever indebted to you. What a beautiful morning it was!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

To be a Dominican...

Why I make a good Dominican:

I can wring out a mop with my hands and not think twice
I can ride a motorcycle side-saddle in a skirt
I like to eat rice and beans everyday

Why I don't make a good Dominican:

I don't wear a shower cap or plastic bag over my hair when it rains
I don't eat chicken feet
I can't make rice
I still don't like touching raw chicken
My hair doesn't need to be dried in rollers then wrapped around my head to be straight
I mop my house back to front, not front to back

I don't care if I can't be a good Dominican...I'm staying!

Team Week

We had such a great week, a quick, hot, sweaty week! A team was here from Missouri and worked on starting the new classrooms and painting the school. It all looks amazing! The school now matches our cafeteria, and the classrooms are well underway and on-track for starting a new class in the fall.

I got to hang out with my Princesa a bit this week too and I can't believe how big she's getting...she has a pony tail now and it's really cute. I miss having her around all the time and look forward to Monday when we get back to class and the Princesa comes to school again! On Thursday night we went to the beach for songtime which was one of my highlights for the week. A nice time to relax and enjoy the beach and each other and think about all that happened throughout the week.

I'm so grateful for all the hard work this team put in, the talks we had, the time we got to share together. I learned a lot this week and look forward to putting it to use in the weeks to come. Late nights and early mornings and a little gripe sickness later and the week went really fast.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Our first big official team has arrived! It's been great and all is well. We spent Sunday in Jarbacoa for a day trip to see the different Kids Alive sites and play at the waterfalls. It was a really nice day and good time to share about all that we do here. Today was working at the school, and they WORKED! They hauled loads and loads of concrete to fill in the massive footers that are the start to our new classrooms. It was a hot and sweaty day, but everyone came back fairly happy and content with the work they had done. And I got to hang out with Princesa, which makes any day better!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fruits and Vegetables

So I went to the market today to get fruits and vegetables for the team. Again, never bought that many melons, plantains, or oranges in my life! I felt funny walking away with such quantities...but it's fun somehow too! The thing is, there just isn't room in the fridge for it all, and it all has to be kept somewhat cool cause it's so hot and the fruit ripens and vegetables go off within a few days. So needless to say, I have food coming literally packed into every corner of this house. Looking forward to using it all up and sharing with the group that arrives tomorrow.

Food buy

So one of my jobs is to buy the food for the groups that are staying in the house. Yesterday I did just that and look what happened to the kitchen!!! I haven't ever bought that much food in my life, I needed 2 shopping carts. Granted it is for 20+ people and they're here for a week, but that wasn't even all of it. Today I'm going to the fruit and vegetable market to get fresh things and then I'll do another shop mid-week! It's fun doing this job, I really liked shopping. We actually went to a bigger city called Santiago (were already on our way there) where they have the D.R. equivelant of Costco. I literally felt like I stepped back into the U.S. in this place, it was identical. From the items for sale, the set-up, samples, and ice cream and hot dogs and pizza after you pay. Of course we needed some ice cream after the hard day of shopping! Looking forward to the coming week and sharing with this group...hope they like D.R. Fruit Loops!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I got to spend the day in the village today, going from house to house with letters and gifts to the kids from their sponsors. It is always a rewarding job that I'm thankful to have done. To sit with the kids and families and talk, hear about their lives, that's what I love about this place, that is what I love to be a part of. It's walking through the village and recognizing so many kids...but wanting to know all of them, wanting all of them in our school. As we construct new classrooms this summer, I hope that can become a reality. There are so many kids in the village, it's a big job ahead! And Princesa turned 4 months old today and was especially cute and smiley.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

More beach photos


I had such an amazing day today. We went on an adventure and I had no idea what to expect. We went for about 2 hours driving, but it was incredible. The views on the drive were beautiful...I'm ready to buy land and build a house! We stopped along the way and were able to easily get to the beach which was totally secluded, not a person in sight. Sometimes I look around and it's hard to believe that not only to I get to work with fantastic kids and staff, but I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was nice to sit on the beach for a bit and take it all in, be reminded of how little I am in this big world, and all the opportunities that are laid out before me. I need days like today!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Summer is here! It's upon us in heat, teams, change of pace, everything. We currently have our first work team at Caraballo and it's been a fun week. It's a nice reminder as I talk with them, about why I'm here and what it is that I really do. The heat! I'm thankful for fans and showers and knowing that if I'm desperate the beach is 15 mins away. I've been able to hang out with Princesa recently too which I love because she's a great little baby. Lots of plans coming together for the summer as we prepare for all the teams coming in, I know it will all be great!