Well I am on day three down here in the Dominican Republic and somehow my body is still functioning. I won’t lie … I am not someone that partakes in much physical labor. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it … well ok, I don’t, but I am loving every second of it down here. 🙂
Today we were up early and headed back to the school in Herrera to do some painting. Our little 12 person team painted four classrooms and the kitchen! The walls were quite dirty to begin with but once we were finished everything looked fresh and new! If only we could see the looks on the students faces when they return to the newly painted walls. I am sure they’ll enjoy it since they are some of the most appreciative people I’ve ever met.
After we finished with our painting we stopped back at the hotel for a very quick shower and then had dinner at a Dominican buffet. I didn’t know what to expect but let me tell you … the food is excellent! If you are like me you probably thought the food would be hot and spicy. Well I was wrong and so are you! 🙂 Dominican food isn’t very hot or spicy, it’s simply delicious!
Following our dinner we headed over to another Christian school which is very close to the Sanisi House, a children’s HIV / AIDS home, where we’ll be spending tomorrow. The school is where they hold their church service on Wednesday evening and the children from the Ramar house (where we spent Monday) and the children from the Sanisi House attend. Although I couldn’t understand one word, I was amazed at how engaged the children were and how strong their faith was.
On Monday when we first arrived at the Ramar House I must admit I was a little uncomfortable. We served dinner to all these young men who ranged in age from 10 – 18 years old. I stood a little away from the table and wondered what I should do.
1. We didn’t speak the same language.
2. I simply didn’t know what to say.
Once we finished dinner some of the kids took time to share their stories. It was sad and amazing all in one. These kids mostly came from the streets, didn’t have any parents, and yet they had huge smiles and a tremendous belief in themselves and God. Wow!!
As they were wrapping up they challenged us to a basketball game. The second we walked on the court there was an instant connection. The first game they won by a basket. We dominated the second and third games to hold on to the title. 🙂
The neat thing was that as soon as the game began there was no longer a language barrier. I am not saying all of a sudden I understood Spanish, or they understood English. I am saying the universal language of sports and competition kicked in. They were talking trash, and I was talking trash right back. Neither of us could understand the words but the typical trash talking gestures transcended the language barrier. We got the point.
When we left to head back to the hotel I asked if we’d be seeing them again. I was told that we might not. I immediately felt a knot in the pit of my stomach because I was seriously going to miss those boys! Although we only hung out for a few hours there was a connection made.
Well tonight when we attended the church ceremony the boys were there! I was told they were going to be and I was looking forward to seeing them again. I took some great pictures with them and got to tell them how nice it was to see them. I also promised them I’d be back and told them they better practice. 🙂
I am looking forward to our day tomorrow but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going into it with a heavy heart. All the kids we’ll be seeing tomorrow have AIDS, and although they aren’t visibly sick, I’ll know in the back of my mind that their days are numbered. I can only hope that through enough prayer and good thoughts that something will happen to save them. It’ll be tough, but I am hoping to help bring a smile to those sweet little kids. I am sure I’ll have plenty to write about tomorrow evening.
I have uploaded quite a few new pictures from today, and even uploaded some videos to my facebook page. Although videos and pictures can never clearly show you what it is like here, the videos should give you a littler clearer perspective. Check them out and I’ll talk to you again tomorrow!