Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Time in the Dominican Republic

One thing I haven't told you is that there were two mini earthquakes in Santiago, Dominican Republic last week. Not enough for most people to feel it, but enough to freak Kendra and I out while we were away. Since then, I've been a little unsure about sleeping on the ground floor of their 2 story cement home.

Up by 7am as I couldn't sleep any longer most days.  We spent the week doing quite a bit of office work to get caught up - emails, budget, and meeting  prep. Next week we have a meeting with a group with the possibility of funding beyond our permanent housing request to Food For The Poor. I've prepared a concept paper and now we are trying to expand in case they ask us for a more detailed budget and plan. Office work isn't exactly easy in Port-au-Prince.

Wednesday, Kendra and I drove to Santiago to do some shopping and to run a few errands.  Hardware store, groceries, Kendra got her hair done, and we picked up items for Landon's birthday this weekend.

I've enjoyed some "down time" while spending time in Jarabacoa with the boys. They are so active and each has a very unique personality. It's fun to watch them interact, flipping back and forth between English and Spanish.

Spent some time going through Kendra and Samuel's library of books. I'm trying to be a better reader... and when I say that what I mean is that I want to like to read. I choose a few to read and printed off a new Bible study online about Jeremiah.

Josue has spent a lot of time at the Luna household again this trip. He has been accepted and will attend Spring Arbor University in the fall. I didn't realize how amazing this truly is as his parents can not read or write. Josue has worked extremely hard to overcome odds to pursue higher education. I am so excited for him! It was fun too when one night at dinner he realized I was Rachel and David's older sister. Josue had come to the US in 2006 with the Dulous Discovery School's soccer team and my Gramma and family went to a big buffet dinner with them. I remember it being quite the experience.

One highlight has been interacting with Dona Elva and Milargos, two of Kendra's home helpers. They are amazing cooks! What I have loved about them is their servants hearts and how we could have meaningful conversations with what little Spanish I know. On Thursday, Dona Elva had an interview at the US embassy for her VISA application. She hopes to spend three and a half months in the States to meet her 10 year old granddaughter and to see the birth of her daughter's second child. After being denied a VISA last summer, we were all a bit nervous but were overwhelmed with joy when she came home and the answer was YES! Joyful is joyful no matter what the language barrier when we danced in the kitchen together.

I loved talking to my family online this week as well and emailing Gramma Ecker and Grandma Cook. I miss them all so much and enjoy being with them. After all I've seen in Haiti of what family life is like there, I feel so blessed to have mine and to have the relationships with them that I do.

With Samuel as the founder and President of NET (Nacion En Transformacion), he has a variety of engagements at all times. Friday was no exception when Kendra, the three boys and I ventured down the mountain to Santiago to see an art show NET was hosting. Part of their mission in breaking the cycle of physical and spiritual poverty is through 7 spheres of influence: business, art, education, government, media, family, and church.

Saturday was the day of packing and the day in which we celebrated Landon's 13th birthday. He, of course, had a party with about 8 of his friends. I could not understand most of the conversation at dinner because they talk so fast in Spanish, but Landon seemed to have a fun time.

When it was time for cake, Kendra started to light the candles and per tradition, Landon had to take a picture with all the guests. If you've ever celebrated a birthday with my family, you know we are serious about our traditions too, so I was happy to oblige. First a photo of the parents and Landon, then the siblings, then the friends, cousins, one with Josue and his brother, then Pastor Alan, Josue's parents, and then me. His friends were sure to tease him during our picture. By the time he was halfway through the photo taking, the candles were almost completely melted into the cake! I also found out that they don't sing the Happy Birthday song like I was taught in Spanish class, so that was a major letdown.

To bed late (oops!). Getting up to leave by 4:30 or 5am.

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