Friday, August 02, 2013

What happened down there? Days 6 and 7

We can't save the DR but we can come and love on them and pray for them.  And we can go home changed and continue to pray for them and get others to help.
Thursday was a bit of a let down after such an incredible day the day before.  The day started with practice with the boys at yet a third location.  We played catch and they ran sprint races.  Eventually the boys did some fielding work and Francis and I sat to the side and watched.  I started thinking about my life back home as I could see the return looming on the close horizon.  Francis has lived in the United States so he understood what I was talking about as I expressed my frustration about my materialistic life in the states.

My friend Francis
I started thinking about how my biggest dilemma the week before going to the DR was that my fancy car broke down.  I had the cash to pay for the repairs and I didn't break down in such a way that I was unable to get the car to the shop.  My frustration was that I took a moment to pause about this - with a full refrigerator, more clothes than I need and a nice nest egg.  I got frustrated and I vented for a long time to Francis.  He was sympathetic but also didn't let me off easily.  I appreciated that conversation immensely.

At the end of practice before we went to lunch one of the boys, Jonathan, and one of our security staff, Rambo, had a "rap off".  It was awesome.  I have no idea what they were going back and forth about but it was very clear when one or the other would land an insult the boys appreciated.  It was hilarious, and it was all a show for us.

It was Angel's (another one of our interpreters) birthday that day so we put together a little cake and learned Happy Birthday in Spanish.  It was quiet a sound.  I was reminded of "make a joyful noise unto the Lord".  Angel loved it.

That afternoon we went back to Los Robles.  That was the day we played Macklemore on the bus (dancing on the bus) and when my mitt was so lovingly broken in during our game (Glove Story).   The little girls there taught me some Spanish - they demonstrated and taught me the words for eyes, ears, mouth, nose, teeth, etc.  I love that they wanted to show me the basics and while I'm still horrid at Spanish, those are words I won't forget.

In exchange I taught the kids the running man.

The kids also became fascinated by the muscles I have in my arms.  I don't think of myself as very ripped but the little girls kept asking me to flex and when they would see my biceps they would poke at them and grin.  It was odd to me that my muscles were at all fascinating but I suppose since I am a well feed (overly so) American, the way my body is built is very different than a malnourished woman in a batey.  It broke my heart that the muscles I have were surprising to them but I am very happy to say the COTN program is helping those girls get healthy as they grow up.

This was also the first time I noticed telltale signs of undernourishment with orange hairlines and distended bellies.  I know they were there all along but I also think God really opened my eyes to them this day.  I decided I didn't want to go home.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Friday we only had the morning with the boys because we had to get back to Santo Domingo for our flight the next day.  It was with heavy hearts that we went to practice and finished building the batting cage.  The boys had to use a machete to cut off branches from the tree and we ran into a couple of snags with the poles but the cage was mostly completed before we left.  

Dionny and Dave working on the cage

Up goes the cage

Angel and Susan

All of us with the team

Andry playing 3rd base

Carlos running into 3rd.  Nice base they are playing with huh?

Before heading out of Barahona we stopped by the COTN offices and dropped off the Smilepacks our group had collected and the undies the other group collected.  It was great to see such a big pile of things to leave behind.  Thank you to all who contributed!!!

Other than some great conversation with Kyle, Ben and Joanna on the way to Santo Domingo the absolute highlight of the day was having the opportunity to tell my boys I was going to be their sponsor.  Each one of them responded in the way I would have expected given their personalities but being able to tell them that I was going to be praying for them and that I cared about them was awesome.  I wouldn't have swapped those moments for any other moment during the week.

We left Casa Bethesda with many tears and hugs goodbye and drove the approximately four hours to Santo Domingo where we did some shopping (I got cigars - rum was purchased at the airport) and got to do some sightseeing.  Santo Domingo is actually a really neat city.  I'm really excited to spend a full week there in October.  It was the first city in the Americas, where Christopher Columbus landed and the first civilization began.  We saw the first church, the first cathedral, the first road, Christopher Columbus' house (where he never lived but his son did) and some other beautiful architecture. 

Christopher Columbus
Town Hall
First Cathedral

First Cathedral

First Cathedral

Ben was tired so Willy lent a willing back

The white building across the river is the first church
Men playing Dominoes in the square

Town Hall Square

Cheers Joanna!!!
That night we had dinner at a restaurant which was delicious and we had the opportunity to dance.  Joanna and Kyle stole the show as far American dancers were concerned but I danced with Willy until I couldn't anymore because I was laughing too hard and he was frustrated with me.

We spent that night in a hotel (with Western toilets - yay for flushing toilet paper!!!).  That night Willy, Ben, Kyle, Joanna, Joel and I played cards and smoked some of our cigars and drank some of the rum purchased that day out by the pool.  It was a bittersweet evening.  While it was a lot of fun and memories were solidified the flight the next day was on my mind.

That night I slept poorly for the first time on the trip, despite the comfortable bed and consistent air conditioning.  I spent much of the night thinking about what I had experienced and wishing for my hard bed at Casa Bethesda.  I had no idea the events of the next day would be as impactful as any other.

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