Dominican Day 24

March 25, 2015

WEATHER: It reached a high of 37 with the humidex. But I’m telling you it’s hotter than you could imagine. It’s been so hot that people have begun to fall ill and I noticed many laying in shaded areas to sleep away the heat. Rain has become a distant memory.

MOSQUITO BITE COUNT:
I received a few small bites while at the club this afternoon. This is a rare occurrence for me because they usually like to bite me at night when I’m home and usually while I’m sleeping because I’m most defenceless. My legs were just starting to look better!

SHORT STORY:
Teresa had the kids do an activity where the boys were required to write down their first name, last name, mother’s name, father’s name, and address. One boy proudly submitted his “completed” sheet to me for me to find that he was only able to fill in his first and last name. I pressed him asking for his father’s name. He told me he didn’t know. I thought he must have been joking around because he was eager to get a sticker. I pressed him again and he explained that he’s never known his father. Shoot!

“Okay, don’t worry. Let’s look at the next item,” I said with enthusiasm. I then asked him what his mother’s name was and again I received the same response. I asked him in Spanish if he has a mother and he shrugged his shoulders in response. So as not to upset him, I moved on to ask him what his address was and he told me he didn’t know where he lived.

During the break I told Teresa of the sad situation. She readily explained that, unfortunately, kids not knowing their father is a norm at the club. Some of the children have to endure ever changing fathers as their mothers move from one man to the next. Most of these women end up getting pregnant by several different men. What’s worse is that if anyone of these children ever get lost on the streets they won’t know how to navigate back to whatever they call home.

Mi. Corazon. Rompio.

TODAY’S CHALLENGES:
• Having a hard time falling back asleep as mentioned in an earlier post
• I woke up sans headache but my stomach was in knots. I had to make the undesirable (or maybe desirable) decision to stay home in the morning.
• My interaction with one of the little boys who explained that he doesn’t have a father. It’s common for men to take off here the moment they find out a girl is pregnant
• Trying to work with the little boys at the back of the class who couldn’t even spell their own names. I spent much time with these two boys today and by the end of it, they at least knew how to spell their first and last names. I hope that they continue to practice with the alphabet sheets I’ve given them. They need some hope.
• Since Freddie isn’t around and my lunch wasn’t planned I had to resort to the canned soup I had in the cupboard. It was absolutely disgusting! The salt content was way too high. I ended up mostly eating my tortilla and throwing the soup a way. What a sad event considering all of the hungry mouths here and that my stomach was already complaining.
• I was asked to help out with taxes again this evening. I’m going to try my very best but I think that after today it should be out of my hands.
• The extreme heat and me not feeling well had me very cranky with Brad this morning. Coincidentally, he also had taken the morning off because his stomach was unwell. Poor thing had to endure a few arrows shooting from my mouth.
• I think my armpits are burned. What a strange and uncomfortable place to have a sunburn! Antiperspirant … do I? …. Don’t I? …. It’s almost 40 degrees … but it stings so bad

THINGS I LEARNED TODAY:
• There’s a hair salon just around the corner from home. I’ve passed it so many times and haven’t noticed
• I thought this heat was bad, apparently in the summer season it’s unbearable
• The kids here are mostly fatherless. Perhaps some are even parentless. Thank goodness it isn’t as bad as what I experienced in Uganda where literally kids were raising their younger siblings.

WHAT I’M GRATEFUL FOR:
• Brad visiting my mom and my grandmother this week to check on them. I’ll never be able to fully express what this means to me
• My mom and Avo cooking for Brad and making sure he ate until he was beyond full. The true Portuguese way!
• The extra towel my tios gave me. That came in super handy since I hadn’t had any time to wash my clothes
• The boys this afternoon were unusually tame. Of course, there was the occasional shouting, but for the most part they were pretty good.
• The local ice cream shop. I got some ice cream for myself, Teresa, and Pincho for a job well done today!
• Being able to take the morning off to recoup from my sickness. I’m feeling much better now
• That I didn’t get ill from the soup
• Apparently, the boys that came in the morning were asking for me. That’s pretty sweet
• Teresa’s daughter is feeling better!
• I’m secretly grateful for the fact that my Flamenco lessons got pushed to Friday. It’ll give me more time to practice and prepare. I’ve been quite nervous about teaching dance since I’ve never done it before and I’m not close to being even an intermediate dancer.
• Brad being so patient and understanding. Seriously, these are his most amazing qualities and without them, I’m sure we’d fall apart. I can be really “spicy” and I’m very fortunate that he’s able to add some sweetness to soften things. Praise the Lord!
• My aunt who suggested that she call Brad to give him some context and possibly console him in the event that he was worried about me
• My mom who had tried reaching out in concern. I’ve reassured her that I’m okay.

MY PRAYER:
Father, thank you for helping me to realize some of the reasons you brought me here. I began to feel compassion for the kids today as I learned of their stories. I’ve also begun to realize that you must have brought me here to help Teresa. Which has been such a delight because she is oh so sweet! Please give me the wisdom and quick thinking I need tonight to help Alfredo with the taxes, something that’s so beyond me. Please also encourage and help me prepare my Flamenco lessons. I pray that I do a good job on Friday and that my lessons are well received.

QUESTIONS:
• Anything I can use on my pits to combat sting and stink at once? ☺

 

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