My goodness, from my last post to today, it has been a whirlwind, that’s for sure! Let me briefly recap what happened between day 5 and 7.
After I signed off from writing my day 4 recap, I went to bed and was awakened several hours later because one of our team members fell sick. She was having abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The bunk room she was staying in housed….9 bunk beds I think and a single bed. The room was rather large. I don’t think I had mentioned it before this time but in the DR, they randomly decide to cut electricity. Some days we had it for several hours in a row, other times we had it for a minute here, 10 minutes there. We all were advised to pack flashlights so we could see around at night. Boy I am glad I didn’t skip that line item. That was just as important of extra changes of underwear! It’s HOT there! Going back to the lack of electricity, without it there’s no air conditioning. The room I was staying in was much smaller with 3 bunks and 1 single bed. Needless to say it was MUCH easier to regulate our temperature. When the power was on, we made sure the windows were closed as well as our door so we could keep as much of the cool air in as possible. When she woke up sick, she was moved to our room where it was cooler in hopes of making her feel better. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough and she stayed sick until well after we got home. Between that day and today, she had gotten several IV therapies with medication and vitamins, checked in to two ER’s one of which was in Santo Domingo. She was given several antibiotics and several anti-parasite medications. They determined that she did in fact have parasites that she probably picked up from the DR. She wasn’t the only one who was laid out there. We had another team there from Florida and several of them were sick, one of which was hooked up to IV therapy as well. Once she fell sick the rest of the trip was a bit of a blur to say the least.
That was early Wednesday morning. Wednesday day, several of us went into Jimani, the town the children’s home is located, to get supplies for the June Fiesta! Every month the children’s home has a big birthday party with cake, ice cream, soda, decorations, side show and games to celebrate all of the birthday’s that take place that month. This month, John and Melissa, the full-time missionaries, were the only ones with birthdays so they celebrated then because the next day they were leaving with us to go to Santo Domingo to catch a flight back to the states. It was time for their annual sabbatical. We took the pick up truck into town with several of the Florida team members and Nana, John’s mom who also lives down there.
Right before we got back to the children’s home compound, Nana took a different turn than she normally did and hit one of the speed bumps (they are big people, like your family dog kind of big) FULL SPEED. It’s a miracle I am here to tell the story. Most of us were sitting in the back of the truck so when she hit the speed bump we all flew up in the air and toward the cab, landing on each other and screaming. My hat flew off and landed several feet from the truck, Jennifer’s finger is still on her hand by the grace of God. It was squished between the cab and the frame work of the seating in the bed of the truck. She said she fully expected to pull up her hand and have fingers missing. We were all freaking out. Meanwhile, stage right a local man was laughing his butt off at our misfortune. I guess from the outside looking in it was pretty funny, but being in the middle of it, not so much. Nana felt so bad though. We got over it quickly. Fact is, we are all fine and nobody got hurt. It makes for a great story though.
That afternoon, several of us went down to the children’s home to spend time with the kids. We provided a bible study to the teens about how we plant seeds in others and how others plant seeds in our lives. We talked about how we are responsible, as Christians, to water each other’s seeds and how God is the sunlight that makes the growth happen. We gave them a visual of this whole process by giving each one a Dixie style cup, potting soil and grass seed. We had them water the seeds to start and then encouraged them to put their cups out in the sun and water them everyday to watch the grass grow. We talked about how grass in soil helps the soil to stay in place, to not be swept away when it rains hard. We talked about those parallels to our lives as well.
After that we prepared snack and left it in the missionary home for use later that day. We then killed time by making friendship bracelets in the common area.
We also decorated a tad bit for the party that was to take place that night. The wind made it nearly impossible to get anything to stick with standard tape. I think this picture says it best:
Around 4:00pm, our team provided snack to the kiddos. By that time, we were back up at team housing checking on our patient. We actually sent a different team member down to hand it out. We used left over little cups and filled them with gummy worms, gummy sharks, Starbursts, and flavored Twizzlers. Melissa told someone that mission teams are like grandparents when they come in. They provide a break for them, hype them up and then they have to reprogram the kids after they leave. I truly felt guilty filling up those cups, especially because I knew they were getting cake and other treats later on in the evening. At any rate, that’s what was for snack.
After dinner, a few of us made our way down to the Fiesta. I helped hand out the cake/ice cream plates after John and Melissa cut and scooped it out. My goodness, I have never seen that many pieces of cake disappear so quickly. I’m pretty sure we served up 60+ plates!
I excused myself early from the party because it was my oldest son’s birthday and I had hoped to Skype with him before bed. Unfortunately, the electricity was out so there was no WiFi either. 😦 I was happy to see everyone celebrating birthdays because in a way, I was celebrating his, but it made me sat at the same time to realize he was celebrating without us. I had planned the whole time to have the kids decorate a banner for him which read “Happy Birthday Jackson” and have them hold it for a picture so he knew I was thinking about him. I completely forgot but my sweet friend, Jennifer, didn’t.
Unfortunately since the electricity was out, I wasn’t able to share it with him until we got home. Our hearts were in the right place.
The next morning we got up and loaded our things in the truck and left around 10 am. I think with all of the sickness and such we were all ready to head home though we knew we had a LONG road head.
We spent four and a half hours on a bus from Jimani to Santo Domingo where we check into a really nice hotel.
We walked to a square down the road where we ate at a restaurant which overlooked it. My goodness. We were so exhausted by that point. We had Kate with us. She’s the missionary couple’s daughter, and I might add fluent in Spanish. Praise the Lord. I felt so bad for her though…she couldn’t hardly look at the menu without someone asking for help ordering. She earned jewels in her crown that night for sure. The patience and kindness she had was remarkable. She is the one in the middle with her cheeks poofed out.
The funny thing was, the name of the restaurant was “Harry’s.” Harry’s. In Santo Domingo. Does anyone else find it funny that their restaurant had an American name? Ok I guess it’s just me then. I asked Josh to take this picture to capture the name of the place:
Josh and I went shopping for a few minutes to find a special, Dominian Republic authentic, birthday gift for Jackson. Across the street from our hotel was a shop perfect for what we needed.
Do understand that I love my husband dearly. But when you’re tired, ready to be home and a night’s sleep is the only thing that separates you and your husband wants to bang on your son’s birthday gift…I thought I might have to bury both of them in the sea before bedtime. Just saying! From the above picture, you can see at least one of them made it home. 😉 I love you Josh. Rest your soul. Just kidding, just kidding. Nobody call the cops. He’s fine.
Oh, before leaving the children’s home, I met with one of the missionaries and purchased two small tree of life charms from her. She is in charge of selling items the kids make to help cover costs of the facility. I definitely knew I wanted to support them in some way so that’s how I did that. I had planned to sit with the kids again to make magazine beads that I would make a necklace with as my take home souvenir. Things didn’t work out that way so I brought the charms home and made my own necklace.
My hope is that, now that the kids know how to make the beads, they can make something similar for their support table. Variety is good! And my heart would be so happy to know that I was able to contribute to the children’s home in a bigger way than just visiting for a week. That would make it all worth it.
I think that’s it. Sorry for the winded post but I had to get all of the last details in before I forgot them. I know several of you have said how you have looked forward to my posts while I was gone so I didn’t want to leave you hanging.
I love you all and appreciate your prayer and financial support to make this trip possible. I appreciate you all more than I can express. I will post at another time my “take aways” from this trip. When it’s up I will probably come back to this post and link it up. If you see a link, lucky you! If you don’t, keep checking back!