Dominican Day 30

March 31, 2015

WEATHER: It’s been raining for most of the day. Pincho’s wish is still coming true. When I reminded him of his wish this morning he said, “We really need the rain. Now is a very busy time for us. A lot of people use the main roads to start the festivities. Thirteen people died in Puerto Plata from car accidents.” Rain scares people away here so I guess Pincho has some reasoning. I think it’s also supposed to rain tomorrow. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m still overcoming a stomach flu or if it’s the weather but I feel dizzy.

MOSQUITO BITE COUNT:
The ones on my feet have been itchy all day. I just got nice one on my ankle that makes me want to rip my skin off.

SHORT STORY:
Don’t really have much of a story to share. I’ve been up since 4:30 for no good reason and I’m tired. Several frustrating things have happened throughout the day, which have just made matters worse.

We had 3 groups of volunteers today for a total of 9 people not including myself. It was interesting chatting with everyone, hearing about where they were from and what they did for a living. A couple from Jerusalem was spending time in the Dominican for their pre-honeymoon after having spent 10 days in Cuba. Another volunteer from the States chatted up a storm with me about the work he’s done in change management and his interest in UX Design. Regardless of our diversity, one thing drew us all together – our interest in participating in Dove activities.

I managed to find some Easter craft ideas and successfully had the volunteers help the kids do the crafts at stations I prepared. I was pretty hectic though. In spite of the rainy weather, we had 30 kids in the morning and more than double that in the afternoon. I managed to tuck myself away into the office in an attempt to start working on the lesson planning for April.

At the end of the day, we rounded up the volunteers in the van. I was expecting the van to be packed to the brim so I stuck myself between Pincho and Teresa in the front seat. Pincho then leaned over and in a very soft and serious voice said, “Quest, can you do me a really huge favour?” I moved over slightly thinking that he was insinuating I was in the way of the throttle. “Sure no problem. Am I in your way?” I questioned. “No. If you could do me this favour I’d really appreciate it …” he responded. I nodded encouraging him to ask away, thinking that he perhaps he wanted to ask to borrow money. “Please don’t leave,” he said with a smile. Highlight of my day!

TODAY’S CHALLENGES:
• Billy’s tantrums. He had one in the morning that I was happy to hide away from in my room. Then he had one in the afternoon while he and Freddie were sitting across the street in the park. Her face was coloured with frustration, helplessness, and sadness. I felt bad for her but the fact that I could hear him loudly from across the street while I was trying to work made me really want to lose my cool. I think I also silently had a tantrum. Every time this happens my feelings about not ever wanting to have kids are affirmed.

• When I asked this morning what time Pincho would be picking us up the response was, “I don’t know.” Great! I had no idea how much time I would have to get ready. On top of that, there was no way for me, as far as I know, to get the answer myself. I aimed to be ready by 9 just to be safe and stuffed oatmeal and coffee down my throat. That turned out to be not such a good idea considering my stomach hasn’t been happy with me lately.

• I know I was complaining about the heat but I really can’t handle this rain. It makes me feel extremely lazy and the loud sound of the downpour woke me up at 4:30. The rain really does make things less enjoyable as I can’t take leisurely walks in the evening.

• I didn’t know I’d be going to Aguas Negras today. This is a very poor neighbourhood covered in muck and dirt. The water the kids play and bathe in is filthy and polluted. It’s no wonder it’s called Aguas Negras (Black Waters). Had I know we’d be going there I would have wore proper shoes. My feet are covered in mud and grime from stale garbage.

• I’m supposed to have 8 lessons and 16 activities around respect completed by tomorrow. Ummm …. I haven’t even finished the first lesson. I feel sooooooo tired. I’m faced with the difficult decision of spending my last workday with the kids or locking myself in the office to finish the lesson planning.

THINGS I LEARNED TODAY:
• Depending where you are in the DR, beans are known as habichuelas and not frijoles. Por que?? Just another example of the slang dialect that Dominicans use. No wonder I’ve had such a hard time with my Spanish here.
• Residents of Aguas Negras can fill large tanks of water, the size of the water jugs seen in offices, for $25 at the water truck. This truck visits once a week and for those who can afford it, they have water for cooking and the luxury of a weekly shower. Those who come to the truck without jugs will need to pay an extra fee to buy one, of course.

WHAT I’M GRATEFUL FOR:
• Pincho’s requested favor

• One of the volunteers was very fluent in Spanish. She was a tremendous help for our English class in the afternoon

• Brad’s frequent updates about his trip. It’s good to know that even though we’re so far apart and in spite of all the technical troubles, he’s always so willing to connect with me to offer me words of love and encouragement

• I’m so grateful that I was able to shake of the dread of leaving Teresa. This feeling had been looming over me during Sunday and Monday. I’ve realized and come to terms with the fact that as much as I can help here, I’m also needed back home. Every time Teresita and I come up with an idea that we know can’t be done before I leave, she always says, “No problem. Next time! We’ll have a whole agenda for you when you return.” It’s kind of sweet to see how convinced she is that I’ll return again someday.

• That I Teresa is very happy to receive all of my leftover stuff. Today I gave her all of the toilet paper I bought. I told her that I’ll be bringing the leftover produce, rice, and pasta that I have as well. It feels so good to be able to share these things with her.

• We went to Aguas Negras today and I actually got to go into some of the homes. It was nice to explore around. Brad and I had gotten a quick tour last time we were here in November but today was far more comprehensive.

• Tio Pan. I picked up 2 brownies and 10 macrons as a pick me up for me and Freddie.

• That I finally got a Dove t-shirt. I thought to ask Liz for one today. Would have been nice to have one earlier for the times I did all that painting and gluing with the kids. Still haven’t gotten the glue off my black top.The t-shirt I did get is pretty small but at least I have one. I’ll just not wash or dry it, ever!

MY PRAYER:
Father, keep me strong, emotionally strong as I progress through the next few days. I seek your wisdom in helping me make good decisions about how I use the time that I have left here. Thanks.

QUESTIONS:
• Any suggestions for activities on respect?
• Spend my last day with the kids or plan lessons? The one with the most votes will win.

 

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