Monday, March 24, 2008


I'm still American and I like to dye Easter eggs. Yesterday we had friends over and colored Easter eggs in the afternoon. It was hard explaining exactly WHY we dye Easter eggs, I had to make up some story about the Easter bunny and leaving eggs around for the kids to find and then realized...I don't know why the bunny is leaving're right, it makes no sense at all. Anyhow, we had fun dying eggs though and then had a dinner of them aftewards! Some traditions I'm just not willing to let go of!

Safari day

It was Semana Santa (Holy Week) this past week which meant lots of outings and hanging out. On Saturday, 31 of us piled into a Safari truck and went to the river then to the church retreat for the afternoon. It was an amazing day! We brought a big lunch of rice and potato salad and swam in the river, sang songs in the safari truck and got to spend time together!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The family photo

Dear Mom,
I LOVE getting mail from you, it is what I look forward to. Your notes, mail from home, makes my day. Just wanted to let you know though that I probably have enough family photos for the moment. It's just that I have one in every room, every classroom, the kitchen, bathroom, the ceiling, and the fishtank and I'm running out of places to put them! I love that you include a photo with each mailing, it makes me smile to open the envelope and see yet another family photo! I love you.
Jessi :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Santiago sleepover

I went to Santiago on Monday night to stay with one of my friends from Montellano. Perla is going to university there now and so I got to see her new apt and roommates, friends and university. It was a really nice time to be with her and she was so proud of it all.

And then I became more Dominican. Perla put my hair in a "tubey" which is wrapping your hair around your head to sleep at night. This keeps their straightened hair straight for the next day...obviously something I was in need of. Still fun though, even if my hair was the same as if I hadn't tubey'ed.

Ojo Rojo

I got pink eye. Itchy, red, burny, eyelids stuck together like a newborn baby kitten. It's gone now...a few days of antibiotic drops sorted me out. I'm glad.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Classrooms, Phase 1

We are officially growing! We now have 6 classrooms ready and being used (1 still as an office). The school is beautiful and it seems to change overnight. It's nice to look back at the photos of what we used to be like before we had 231 kids! The expansion continues as we are into construction on the next 2 classrooms, then hoping to get a basketball court, a parking lot, eventually an office block...and then go upstairs on the classrooms for a total of 12 rooms full of kids (maybe about 500-ish!) Big dreams but it'll be here before we know it.


Hard to believe how far we've come!!! How easy it is to forget that we used to just be one building of 4 classrooms. Here's a look at the befores/afters of our newly finished bathrooms!

New bathrooms have 3 stalls in each boys/girls side, 3 sinks, 2 showers, running water, the boys get a is AMAZING!!! What a difference this will continue to make for us.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Little man

My life has been changed forever by a little guy named Juancito. He's 5, maybe 6-no one seems to really know. He likes to cuddle. He holds on like a little monkey. He throws really good tantrums. He doesn't speak to white people. His eyes are amazingly big and beautiful. He wears the same clothes everyday. He has a horrible cough. He always has a fever. He is extremely malnourished (under the 3rd percentile on all my charts). His mom died of AIDS 2 years ago. He tested positive for HIV after that.
He breaks my heart because I want to help him and don't know how. Is it more of a help to leave him with whatever family and structure he has or to try to meet his medical and physical needs by bringing him to our house? He's extremely sick right now, possibly due to AIDS, so is it better to have family take care of him? Do we risk taking him in during his last days...days he could have spent with his family? But what if he is just sick and needs some intensive care that we could offer him? His dad said that today he's so sick he's refusing food.
It's all so hard to take in. It's hard because I want to take him in. I want to make it all better and my heart hurts because I can't make it better. I can't make him better. I can't take his AIDS away or his cough (TB??) or his fevers. I hurt because he must feel miserable. I hurt because he doesn't deserve this. Oh, little Juancito, what I would do to just take it all away.
I tell these stories not to dramatize life here, not to publicize the bad, not to take advantage of these kids, but to open eyes to another world. A world where HIV positive kids can go for years without receiving any medications because they aren't sick enough. A world where the realities of death and poverty and sickness and hungry kids are in your face daily. A world I have come to love and embrace and a world that continues to challenge me. It's a world that, even with the hurts, I am thankful to be a part of.


The BIG birthday has come on gone...I turned 28 on the 28th, in year 2008. Candace sorted out an amazing taco dinner and birthday cake with friends!!