Thursday, August 30, 2007


Remember when the school looked like this: Now look at what we have!!!

Just flipping through photos today and couldn't actually believe all the changes that have happened in one year at the school. We've got a new cafeteria, lots of new paint on everything, bathrooms, classrooms, a gazebo, and speaker system...I can't wait until all these things are done and for all the projects ahead. Even more, I can't wait to see all the kids at school.


So this kid went from baby to girl overnight! I can't believe how big she is getting. It's just that I love her SO much...she's pretty much the best baby (except now she only wants to go to Zeneida, but I'm working on that.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One year

525,600 minutes
How do you measure
Measure a year?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I can't believe I'm doing this...

So I hate these things, I really do. But it's Sunday afternoon, Alison had "tagged" me and I really have nothing better to do so here I go:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts
2. Each player startes with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (If you don’t have a blog, email me)
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

#1 I like strawberry-flavored things. I didn't know this until Josie pointed it out to me, but it's true. Stawberry Dinos, strawberry icecream, strawberry SkimIce...

#2 I love sugared cereals. I tried to deny it for awhile and buy things like Muesli and wheat Chex, but have now fully embraced the fact that I love sugared cereal. In fact, the more colors it has, the better it tastes...Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Loops, CoCo Puffs, Reese's Puffs...and the new favorite Marshmallow Safari.

#3 I go to the bathroom quickly. I was once told it is one of my best qualities. I often beat boys out of the bathroom.

#4 I am living my dream job but never knew this was the job I was dreaming of! I get to love on Haitian and Dominican kids all day, I get to tell others about Kids Alive, I get to mend knees and de-parasite kids, I get to help raise babies...who could want anything else??!!

#5 I love mangoes. They are the fruit from heaven.

#6 I don't like sunbathing. I love the beach and ocean dearly and spend a good amount of time there, but don't like to be in the sun. I'm white and have come to realize that that will never change. I go from white to red and not a lot in-between. I love the beach when it is raining and storming. In my heaven, I will have a beach and be there all day.

#7 I love babies. Thankfully I am in a place where I am surrounded by babies. If I have a hankering to love on a baby, I do. If I want a baby to stay the night, they do. Maybe someday I'll get my own, but thankfully I've been placed somewhere to fill my arms with endless amounts of babies!

#8 I listen to songs on repeat. If I like a song, I play it over and over and over until it's time to not listen to it for awhile.

Okay, that's it. Now I'm supposed to tag some people so it's going to be: Pamela, Allison, Josie, Naomi, Kylee, Bekah, Lauren, and Jonathan (yah right!)

Play day

We got to have a great day yesterday! We went to a beach called Las Canas with friends and had a nice getaway. This is one of the beaches that is completely empty...we didn't see anyone else the whole time which is a big difference from the other beaches in the area! We had a BBQ of sorts (more of an oven maybe) where we made hot dogs covered in sand, we got to play and swim and nearly drown in the was a good day. I'm definitely thankful for my friends here and amazing beaches and time to play and get out of the house for a bit!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hungry babies

This is Jonathan and "Mini Spice" who were both being starved by their families...
They have had great care over the last weeks and are now doing so amazingly. I love to be a part of this and see their recovery and how much their personality changes as they are given constant care and love. It's hard imagining what their lives were like before, but it's encouraging seeing that they are well-cared for now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

To compare

Q:What's worse than sleeping without a mosquito net?
A: Having a mosquito trapped inside your mosquito net!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


So this 1.5 year old girl, Wonji (or something like that) is her name. She was discovered in a nearby village while the Crossroads group was going through. They were scheduled for other things so I had the opportunity to take her to the hospital in Puerto Plata. She was severely dehydrated (see top left photo) and malnourished, along with being very itchy and spotted with rash, bug bites, and skin infection. We went to the E.R. first where she was then transferred to the peds ward. She got an IV and fluids started into her body again, for the first time in an obviously long time. She was well enough to leave after a few days, but on the follow up, the family was without any milk to feed her. As the mom was just given cans of milk to feed the baby, she made it clear she had sold the baby's food. The baby was then offered to be cared for by Crossroads (the other group in the village, their link is on the right), so she is back in the village in the warm arms of lots of people that love her and feed her. She is scared, cries a lot, and doesn't like to be left alone or laid down. Hopefully she will be strong enough and stable enough to think about what her future is...if she'll go back with her family or look for someone to long-term care for her. For tonight though, she is safe and well-fed.

More baby Jessica

So this little girl is getting cuter by the day! I got to go into the village today and cuddle for a little bit and she's just so sweet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Trip home

Mom and baby got "discharged" this morning and I got to drive the family home. She's even cuter today and I love cuddling her, it's hard to put her down! What a gift it is to be a part of this!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today may have actually been one of the best days I've ever had. I got to be a part of welcoming my friend Pena and his wife Silvania's baby into the world. It's a little girl and she was born this afternoon at 3:13 with huge amounts of hair! They said she was a bit gringa because of her white hands...but she'll be black soon! It was so special to get to be there, I really feel privileged to be able to take part in their family and how they welcome me in. I'm going back in the morning to help them all get home, so they don't have to do the family moto on first day postpartum! It's hard in the States stepping out of "maternity nurse" role, so you can imagine what it was like for me watching here in the D.R., where most of the times things seem backwards. But I'm thankful mom and baby are amazingly healthy and look forward to helping this little one grow up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poverty, Pobreza, Mize, Malsite

I hate poverty. I hate inequality. I hate how inadequate and helpless it makes me feel.

He tells me it's his birthday on Wednesday. When I congratulate him, his mother asks what for, so he reminds her as well. With 8 children, how can she remember birthdays, especially with no literacy or knowledge of the calendar? I make him a birthday cake, because that's just what I do, and wonder if this is his first one in his 21 years. My heart hurts.

She tells me she has no milk for her baby, who cries constantly in agreement. So I give her four cans of formula from my stock, that should last them awhile I think. She tells me the next day her neighbors baby was hungry, so she gave her 2 of her cans...and I am changed. This is giving. I give because I have plenty. True giving is when you don't have anything else to give, yet still find a way. I have a lot to learn here.

So what do I do? I can never make it right. I can't stop the dependency on those who have more, I can't lessen the gap. But I do all I know how to. I continue baking birthday cakes, I continue to spend time at her house drinking coffee, even knowing she has no extra money for this.

Sometimes it is a struggle living on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, with all the beautiful beaches and high tourism. In the village a few months back, I was visiting families, going house to house and learning about their children. At the top of the hill, I sat outside with some children chatting, as out of the tall grass came 6 tourists and a guide on a horse-back tour. I was speechless. My feelings ranged from shock to anger as they rode their literal high-horse through the village, my village, snapping pictures on all sides. I wanted to run, I wanted to shout at them, "Why don't you get off your horse, shake hands, heaven forbid even smile at these people! That kids picture you just took? That's Carlitos, he's 8 years old and is the man of the house. And that cute little black girl? She's Jeuli and she arrived from Haiti 10 months ago starving and weighing 28 pounds...and she's 8. And that one..." But I don't. I can't. I pray that this "adventure" can somehow touch them deeply in their lives as they develop their photos and remember.

I'm not here to change it all. Maybe not even change a big part, but I've found myself being changed. I am passionate about making it better. I want desperately to see Andres go to highschool and will fight what I have to to get him papers. This isn't fair, none of it, but we weren't promised fairness and justice, were we? So I just try to help in all that I can, to make a difference in the world that I'm placed in , and hopefully that'll be enough. I pray it is enough.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you".

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dixon time

What a more perfect way to end the summer than a visit from my brother John, sister-in-law Rachel, and Josh and Emily!! The biggest problem was that, as always, the time went way too fast. It was so amazing to have them here, to share this piece of my life and heart and see them loving the same things I do. The kids played endlessly in the water, only falling in love with the ocean on the last few days. Josh's favorite thing ended up being Coke in the bottle! We did some kayaking and swimming and walking and playing.

One of the most special things for me that week was taking my family through the village. The kids brought some toys to give out which was fun to watch. Within the first few minutes, some of my girls from school took ahold of Emily's hands and were leading her through the village. They connected to her so quickly and remembered her when we went back again. She brought along 7 of her own My Little Ponies to give out and each girl in the house was able to get one (big family!). She got to ride on the back of Jonathan's moto, the fearless one that she is! It was also fun to see the kids interact with the Trautwein kids, something I have thought about so much and it became sort of surreal to actually see these two lives mixing. Of course it was also amazing to wake up to thumb-sucking Josh in my bed or Emily telling me that she couldn't sleep because the roosters and monkeys woke her up (P.S., there are NO monkeys in the D.R!)

The time with John and Rachel was very special too. I have been blessed endlessly with a close family and realize that more and more as I grow up and experience more of life. The closeness we have is irreplaceable and I am so thankful to have been able to share with them. Many things happened over these days that I know were planned long ago. Again, it was the best way to end a busy summer and so fantastic to see my family here, something I'm still thankful for.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Summer teams

Wow, we said good-bye to our last summer team today and I can't believe summer is actually over for us. I feel like we were just heading into this with all the fears of having never lead teams before. Thank you to Grace Bible, Cape Bible Chapel, Plano Bible team #1 and #2, and Valley Community Baptist team #1 and #2. With your help we finished the batherooms, painted the bathrooms and the school, started and nearly finished 2 new classrooms, started and did amazing work on the gazebo, and saw about 500 patients in surrounding villages. It was a busy summer, I think we're all exhausted, but so grateful for the work that was done, the new friends we made, and the time we got to spend together. What an accomplishment all around!

More mobile medical

We had an amazing week doing mobile medical clinics. Some of the villages we went to were so incredible, the people, the location, the things we got to do. It was overwhelming sometimes, but mostly just special to be a part of it. The turn-out was huge, often we had to turn people away as we just didn't have the time to stay in each village. What a team we had working, I was able to learn a lot and grow in many ways.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Moblie Medical clinics

With the team this week we have been going to the surrounding villages for mobile medical clinics. It has been challenging and amazing. The amount of people we have seen is incredible, from 75-100+ each day. Many of these people would otherwise not have healthcare, and it's evident on many that they never have had healthcare. I've been learning a lot and seeing a lot as I work alongside the doctors and team in this group. We've got 2 more days and 3 more villages to see.