Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful in Puerto Plata

We had our first round of great Thanksgiving feasting with the Makarios group today in Puerto Plata. There were lots of people and even more food! I got to cuddle some more with Tasha which was probably my favorite part, besides Stove Top stuffing! We're off to Jarabacoa this weekend for Thanksgiving #2 (breaking Ariel in right!) and a friend's wedding on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Help me while you shop!

So I've been connected to Upromise for a long time and it helps me, in small ways, to pay back student loans simply by connecting through them before purchasing anything online. So as you are all shopping for Chrismtas presents online, just click on the link below and it'll give me credit for your purchases! You don't have to open an account or anything, it has all my info already in the link so you just shop like normal after that. There's also some coupons if you're into that sort of thing too. Thanks guys!!! :)

Upromise Guest Shopping for Jessi

Monday, November 23, 2009

Laugh for the evening

So I bought one of those fancy tablets for the toilet that turns the water blue. I don't know if they really make it cleaner, but it gives the overall feeling that it's cleaner (and the blue covers it up if it's not anyways!). So I had nothing better to do I guess and was reading the back detalis about the "Bowl Fresh" toilet cleaner. This was my favorite:

"Safe to use around pets and children, although it is not recommended that either be permitted to drink from toilet".

It's not recommended? Really?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Growing pains

These last few days have been hard for me. I've been brought back to the realities of poverty and the needs of these kids. The needs. Oh, how the needs overwhelm me. I started doing teeth cleanings on the kindergarteners and am now up to 2nd grade and each grade gets progressively worse with the amount of damage and decay in their mouths. It's not surprising, I knew it and I expected it. But to actually open the mouth of a 5-year old and see teeth half-rotten, others missing, and him telling me how much it hurts...I feel, well, helpless.
That's been the biggest feeling apart from just an achey heart for each one of these guys. I'm still trying to wrap my head around a little girl being sent to school with a black eye last week, supposedly fell on a rock. She's 6. It's the same as the tooth decay...I know it exists but to actually have a little girl right in front of me who can barely open her eye and who is telling me lies that she's been told to pass on from someone who beat her. Achey heart. Helpless. I guess that's what poverty, injustice does. I just wish I could do something about it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cleaning some teeth

Well I officially started cleaning teeth. We start with a revealer tablet which sticks to the plaque and then I'm teaching them how to brush better. Then I move on to doing a basic cleaning and mouth check, then flouride for at least a minute. It's been fun to help the kids like this, a very tangible measure that we're really making a difference. The kids love the attention and the stickers too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good morning!

I've had this plant (hibiscus?) for a long time and when we got it, it had a few of these lovely flowers. Since then, it has done nothing but grow leaves and be boring. This morning I was in the living room and heard Ariel shouting, "Jessi, come look!!!" and went to see the first beautiful flower in months! It literally sprouted and bloomed overnight and, well, I'm pretty excited about that.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Jazz Festival

We went to the Dominican Jazz Festival last night in Cabarete. It was a fun time to be with friends and talk and listen to some jazz music. We had a great spot on the beach with blankets and the whole set-up, but then the rain came so everyone packed under the tent. Little by little we got chairs and ended up getting to sit together. The bands were excellent and pretty creative!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Some tailoring

So I have some clothes that don't fit so well but haven't ever been able to get rid of them. Ariel said we'd just take them to the tailor and have them fixed. I first pulled out a few skirts and then he suggested I take some dresses that aren't too fitted either. I was hesitant because it's never a priority when money isn't abounding and I'm okay to wear something else. I share this because in the end, this is what we're fixing:

2 skirts
3 dresses
1 polo shirt
1 men's shirt
2 men's dress pants.

All for the low price of 370 pesos...10 little dollars! Can you believe it??!! Why didn't I do this before. And it's not just a little seam, we're talking tapering skirts and removing zippers to do some tucks, etc. Amazing. This country is amazing.


When Candace went back to Canada in February, she accidently left her book My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. Although I've meant to send it to her a few times, I just can't seem to let it go! I love to read it every morning because this is the kind of quality reading I get:

"If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way."

How great is that?! How often I find myself being self-centered and thinking the problems and ups and downs in life are simply to teach me something. But what if it is for others, what if I get to do great things because of the hard and difficult times that I've gone through? How much better I understand others' struggles now because of my own personal struggles in life. How much more I feel I can relate when someone faces an obstacle, a hard decision, a hurt or pain. So I thank God for the hard times and continue to pray that I will be used, that He will use the experience I've had so that I may be more useful to Him.

And thanks, Candace, for forgetting your book! I'm just going to have to get you a new one though.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Christmastime is...near.

It's that time of the year already...sponsorship Christmas cards! We've been working with the kids this week to get the Christmas cards ready to be sent to the Kids Alive office where they'll then be sent off to their waiting sponsors! It's a fun time, really, as the kids get excited about not only getting out of class but coloring and writing to their sponsor. It's amazing seeing what they come up with to decorate their Christmas tree...from dots to bright pink. At first I wanted make them do it in green but, well they're kids and if they want to have a pink tree, let it be!

Counting down

Yubi continues well and is counting down the days to her baby boy. She's due in just over a month and is more than ready to meet this little man. Her belly is getting so big for her little body and I got to feel him kicking and moving yesterday. She's started having some contractions but nothing more than warming-up for the big day! Can't wait!

Bouncing bunnies

Remember these gross things???!!!

They are now these lovely little fluffy bunnies! I was hoping that they would get better, and just like they promised, about a week later they opened their eyes and grew some hair. They're now amazing and soft and cuddly. I might even pick them up every now and then because they're kind of irresitible to touch! The runty white one died but the other three are going strong and eating lettuce already! I'm glad they changed from their ugly first few days...they were pretty gross!