Monday, July 29, 2013

Ten more days...........

Ten more days and my feet will be on Dominican soil.  I am so very excited and thankful to be going back to Habanero.  I miss the children.  I miss Yanet.  However, I know I will also miss my family and friends that I am in leaving in the USA.  It's a struggle sometimes.............Seems like I'm always leaving someone.

Since my husband Scott has no vacation time he will be staying in Longview.  The last few weekends we've been trying to squeeze in every minute we can together.  Thankfully he will have vacation time next February when I will return to the DR with the dental team.

This trip we have lofty goals for such a short period of time.  I will be in Habanero for just three weeks.  I hope to get the covered play area complete and an outdoor kitchen built.  We also have a team coming that will paint the classrooms, redecorate using bilingual materials, distribute uniforms and backpacks and take photos of the children.  We will be happily busy.

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Sad Day

The young man that robbed our house in Habanero was shot and killed last night attempting to rob another house.  My heart goes out to his family that is left suffering.  He traded his life for "stuff".  I am sure his family would trade anything they own to have him back again.

It is a sad fact of life that the lust for "things" drives us to exchange our relationships, our time and our very lives for things that will pass away.  We think these "things" will bring us what ever it is we are seeking, fulfillment, prestige, happiness, friends.  But we are chasing empty dreams as this young man did.  He was just 18 years old.  What a tragedy.

Please pray for his family and all the other young men in Habanero.  Pray this tragedy will be a reckoning for those seeking things of this world to bring them happiness.  For our joy and sure satisfaction can only be found in living a life of self control, service, love and forgiveness in relationships with others and with God. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 6, 2013

Iglesia Nuevo Habanero!  3pm today the community held a meeting concerning the activities of the church located right beside the school.  The community donated the land for the church 10 years ago, but the construction has not been finished and there are only three people that show up when the doors are open.  There are lots of reasons why the church has not been completed, but it seems the main issue is the Pastor has no following here.  He has not established trust in the community and he is involved in four other churches in different villages.  It was determined that the church would be handed over to the community to complete and work in partnership with the school.  Yanet has the keys and we have chapel for the children on Mon, Wed and Fri mornings before school starts. What a happy day!

One of the guys on the paint team mentioned he used a bucket
to flush the toilet at the school.  And  I said, gee there should
have been water to flush…..So I went to check it out.  Sure
enough there was no water, so I met with Yanet and Pasqual
and asked why there was no water at the school.  Pasqual
said he filled it a couple of days ago, but as soon as he fills it
the water goes away.  I asked how does it go away and he
said he doesn’t know, it just goes away.  I turned to Yanet
and she jumped right in to support Pasqual, yes, she said,
the water goes away.  I asked where does it go?  They both
said they did not know, it just goes away.  I couldn’t help
but smile.

It is an interesting problem.  Since we are not there full
time, these bumps raise up every now and then.  One would automatically thing they would investigate and find out
where the water goes.  However, in this culture they are so
used to things breaking down and not getting fixed they
just live with whatever happens.

In the area where the mission house is located, the houses
are made of cement and block.  They are pretty solid homes.
The homes were built for poor families during the President’s
re-election bid as a social services project to get votes.  The
houses have 3 bedrooms and a bath.  However, not many
homes still have running water or working toilets.  For
the most part the electrical still works.  It always amazes
me when I go into one of these homes and see things not
working.  They just don’t have the money at one time to
buy a new facet or toilet.  So they live with it.  Sometimes
they don’t even replace burnt out light bulbs.

Anyway, I started working to explain to them that we
needed to find where the water goes and that it was
important the toilets and sinks were working properly.
Luckily the water was coming from the street so the first
thing was to have Pasqual turn the water and the pump on
to fill the roof tanks.

Once the tanks were filled the next morning we started
eliminating possible ways we were loosing water.  Was the
valve at the pump turned off so the water didn’t flow
backwards to the cistern?  Check, valve was off, next check
the bathrooms, sure enough there was one toilet and one
sink faucet running like the Columbia River!   Well, of
course the water goes away!

Thank goodness I had a couple of handy guys there and they
were able to put on new faucets and fix the leaking toilet.  One
small step for Evergreen4kids, one giant step for the school!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Today Yanet received a call that her sister-in-law had been in a motorcycle accident.  Her head and jaw were injured, no helmet.  The woman needs to see a doctor in Santo Domingo.  4 hours away.  They have sent an ambulance from Santo Domingo to retrieve the woman.  The woman is fortunate; her family has a vehicle and money for gas.  Pedro is driving her to meet the ambulance so the trip will take half the time.  Amazing isn’t it?  Pedro is the same man that brought us down off the mountain when we rolled the truck 2 years ago.    

The paint team has arrived.  There are five guys on the team so I am sleeping at Olivia’s house.  They are a great team and get along well.  We start our day with prayer and devotions.  It’s a wonderful way to start the day!
In just two days the team has already cleaned & scraped the entire school and started the painting.  There are four Dominicans that are helping them with the school.  Baroni, Jonathan, Jorge and Luis.  Our teams work along side the community.  Our teams don’t ever do it alone.  We provide the resources.  It is important for the community to take ownership of the projects and their school.
The school has not been painted since June 2006.  We painted the school the original colors.  But when the first paint went on I thought we’d bought the wrong color!  The colors were so different after 7 years in the hot sun.  The school is going to look great!  People from the community walk by all the time to see the progress, they are excited about the work being done and so am I!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Valentine’s Day 2013 – Today we started our usual schedule at the school.  Only to learn a baby girl just two doors down from the mission house had died.  I was shocked to learn the news, it was just a few days ago I had caressed the Mother’s belly and said oh, I can’t wait to see her at school in three years!  The mother was 7 months along, her water broke during the night and she went to the hospital.  The 20 year old mother named her first child Genesis Feliz, “Happy Beginning” .  Genesis was 6 lbs and her first day was normal, but she began to falter and unfortunately she died on her 2nd day of life.  Habanero is heart broken as are we.  About noon the grandfather went to the hospital to retrieve Genesis’ body and the family laid her on a table surrounded by flower petals.  Family, friends and neighbors came to view the baby and to give consolences to the grieving family.

I asked Yanet if there was anything we could do.  She suggested we donate cement blocks for the family to make a crypt.  Another family donated cement, another a new pink dress.  Later Yanet came to the house and asked if I had a cardboard box Genesis could be buried in.  We went through the house and found a perfect box holding DVD’s of the “Jesus Movie” how appropriate I thought.  God provided her burial box.  We took the box to the school and the guys painted it white.  I asked Yanet if the mother would like photos of the baby.  She talked to Mother and she said yes, she’d like a photo to remember Genesis.  So Susie took photos and we told the family we’d have them printed for them.

It was heart wrenching to see the family knowing there is nothing you can really do to comfort them at a time like this.  About 4pm it was time to bury Genesis, we gave the family a Spanish bible and read a scripture at the house and then we loaded in the pickup truck and took Genesis to the cemetery and watched as her uncle laid her little box in the cement block crypt and covered it with tin and cement.  Mother did not come with, it was just too painful for her.  Genesis was entombed on top of Gerson the little angel that died in 2005 and prompted my work in Habanero.  A very sad day.  While many were celebrating St. Valentine’s Day many were mourning the loss of Genesis.  Rest in peace sweet baby girl.

We took the sponsor packages out today.  Another very humbling experience going into the children's homes and seeing how they live.  No beds, no sheets, no pillows, no dressers filled with clothes, no closets filled with shoes, no toy boxes filled with toys.  Just the bare necessities.  One of the families asked for a mattress so they could separate the boys and the girls for sleeping.  All 4 children were sleeping on one mattress on the floor.  We delivered.  It's what we do.  Help when we have the opportunity. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Two weeks after the theft the police arrested a young man who lives in the outskirts of the village.  He is Amanda’s sister’s grandson.  Amanda is a woman that works for the school. 

The young man was reported to have purchased a motorcycle, a refrigerator and a goat.  Those items would account for about ½ the stolen money.  The police kept him in jail for four nights and then let him go.  Everyone thinks the police let him go because he gave them the rest of the money.  It could happen, it is very corrupt here.
I don’t know if he is guilty or not.  All I know is that it is not someone close to me and I feel better about that.  Amanda says she knew nothing about it and she believes he is innocent.  I believe Amanda, I trust her.

Worse things could have happened.  No one was hurt over this incident.  Only good can come from it as a great learning experience for me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Walking Blind

I love being here in the DR with the children and the people of the village.  I am thankful they have embraced me and allow me to be a part of their lives.  They watch over me, cook, clean, escort me to town, protect me.  Or at least I have always thought so...............
Today Yanet, Napole and I went to Western Union to change dollars to pesos.  Then we went price shopping for mattresses and another fan for the mission house.  Unfortunately, time got away from us and the bank was already closed when we were done.  I gave Yanet the salary for the next three months for the school and I kept the money for the teams that would be arriving. 

Sometime between 10pm and 7am someone came into the house and stole the team money.  $5,120 in US. 207,000 Dominican pesos.  Twice I heard noises when I was washing my hair, so I turned off the water to hear better, but didn't hear anything more.  I thought all was well.  I went to be and slept soundly.  When I woke up in the morning I went to get a drink from the refrigerator and saw the pc of wood I had placed over the lock had been moved.  I knew immediately someone had been in the house.  I went to my room and checked my backpack and the envelope from Western Union was gone.  Not only that but another $60 US Dollars from the pocket of my pants was gone.

I was shaken because I believe it happened while I was showering or sleeping.  I am sad because obviously the thief is someone known to me, perhaps even someone I love.  They obviously knew I had money and knew the house and my routine.  I am thankful because I was not attacked with a matchete or shot with a gun.  So very thank for God that watches over me and protects me.  I pray to Him and trust Him to makes all things right.

So today has been spent at the police station where a report is taken.  The report is hand written in a child's notebook with cartoon characters.  Then back home and talking with people in Habanero.  The community is upset this has happened and probably a bit embarassed.  The amount stolen is more than two year's wages for anyone in this community.  If the person spends it on a huge purchase or flashes it, people will know.  News travels fast here.

The police came and took finger prints and printed some of the older boys in the area.  They took their cell phones also and are to return them before the end of the day.  I hope the guilty are found and the innocent are left alone.  One never knows in this country.  Some of the police are as corrupt as the criminals.  You really never know who to trust.  Image living your entire life in that kind of culture. 
I will button down security, but for the most part am not going to let this interfere with my daily life here.  I want to continue to live in the village.  I don't want my home to be a fortress, I don't want to live in a prison, but I also know I can no longer walk in blind faith.