Tuesday, April 24, 2007

2 twin boys for 240 eggs

So, Tuesday night I boiled 240 eggs. Yes, that's right two hundred and forty eggs! I didn't think that was physically possible to do in one evening, but apparently it is. Let me explain how it all came about.

Wednesday after class, Alexia and I headed to Santiago to take care of the twins Jacob and Isaac (pictured). The family that has been caring for them are in the states for a little while to raise more financial support, so many of us have been put on babysitting duty. We are here throughout the weekend, relieving Jennie and Miguel who have been here the past week.

I thought that we wouldn't be able to have class on Thursday or the beginning of next week, but Cristina offered to teach the class on her own. I asked if she was up for teaching multiple class days on her own with anywhere from 50-80 kids each day, she was.

So Tuesday night after getting back from class, I prepared lesson plans for the following week, got supplies together, counted out enough liters of milk (36) and children's vitamins, and boiled 8 flats of eggs (240), enough to last for the next day plus the days Cristina would be on her own.

It was a long night, but it all got done. I am in Santiago still watching the boys. They are learning sign language because Isaac is partially deaf, in addition to the English, Spanish, and Creole spoken in the home. Needless to say, they are very cultured!

I am anxious to see how classes turned out for Cristina. I think she can handle it though. She might even have her own classes next year with an aid, so this is a very good trial run.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

it's a boy!

There is a young couple in Chichigua, Francisco and Mary Jo, who had a baby on Monday. Francisco, otherwise known as Kiko, called me Monday morning to see if I could pick them up and take them to the hospital. (On Mondays I am in the other village, Pancho Mateo). It just so happened that Monday we could not take the car (it has its problems…) and so took public transportation. I was sad that I couldn’t help them out in that way.

That afternoon Alexia met me in Pancho Mateo and told me that she saw the two of them, plus their new baby boy in Chichigua after her class. That night we gathered together a few baby clothes, some baby shampoo, and a couple other things to take the next day.

Cristina and I were able to see him Tuesday morning when we went in to teach. His name is Frankely and he is precious. This is there second child. Their first son, Francisco (Jr.), will turn 2 in a couple of months.

knowledge puffs

Yesterday Alexia and I went into town in Puerto Plata and walked around some to get out of the house. We walked into a big clothing store, and immediately after walking in a man approached us and started asking us questions in English. I answered back to him in Spanish, until he asked if I spoke English. He was a Dominican, but had lived in New York (who wanted to impress us with his English knowledge, among other things). His father was the owner of the store, and had a few other stores as well.

He found out that we were Christians and then asked us what we thought of the Holy Spirit. We were a little thrown by him asking such a question just inside the entrance of a clothing store. I responded by saying, “God, part of the Holy Trinity”, and Alexia said the same. This man then went off for several minutes quoting off sections from concordances that he owned which describe the Holy Spirit. I stared at him, pondering why he was informing us of things these. When he was done, I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I said, “Amen.”

Directly after, he proceeded to quote off scripture that talked about the Spirit. When he finished he asked what we thought about his knowledge of this information, and asked how we thought he had done in presenting this information to us. Yes, he really asked us this. As we still stood just inside the entrance, I answered by saying, “I think knowledge puffs up.”

This did not even silence him. He responded by saying, “Oh, you want to take that route,” and then went on to quote off scripture from Proverbs about knowledge. I couldn’t believe it. His only purpose in telling us all these things was for us to be impressed with what he knew. After he finished and informed us where that passage was from, Alexia and I stood without response. The man then told us if we needed help finding anything in the store to ask for him and we went our separate ways.

I was impressed of the knowledge that he did know and the amount of scripture he had memorized, especially compared to the little that I know (it kind of put me to shame). But then I just had to think, how can someone know so much, but still have no depth to his knowledge? Why are we a society that speaks words just so others can hear us say them? Why can we not love with action and truth?

I think over the past year or so, my favorite scripture has become 1 John 3:18, which says, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” Meaning with action we are called to love and not by our words. I don’t know if anyone can ever prefect this, but wouldn’t it be beautiful if we all tried.

Friday, April 13, 2007


This evening I go to my computer and pull up the astros home page and click on gameday, the link that gives me stats of the ongoing game. After the page loads, it shows top of the 3rd inning with Carlos Lee at the plate, 1 ball. The screen then proceeds to say:

in play, run(s)

Carlos Lee hits a grand slam to center field. Brad Ausmus scores. Morgan Ensberg scores. Lance Berkman scores.


Lee homers 3 times, Oswalt pitches his 100th victory.

gotta love it!

thoughts for the day

Today in Chichigua this morning I had my eye on a little boy named Felipe, he is about eight. We had a quiz on chapters 11-15 of James y el melocotón gigante. I had 5 questions written on the board. Most kids can’t write well, so the majority of them just wrote down the answers. Felipe wrote both the questions and answers out. The last 10 minutes of class while the kids were reading, Felipe was still sitting there writing out the words that I had written. Sometimes he can be a handful, shaking his little booty (no joke) as if music were playing in our little classroom, or picking fights with the other boys in class. Not today.

Felipe is also my favorite to watch when passing out food at the end of class. Regardless of his behavior that day, when I say to be quiet he sits there as still as he possibly can eying all the food that he is about to receive. When I say his name to come up, in victory he shows a million dollar smile. Holding out his hand his receives a vitamin, a hard boiled egg, a piece of bread, and a banana, his cup is then filled with milk. He doesn’t bother going outside back to his house, but finds a bench in the room, sits down and prepares his lunch. He carefully peals away the eggshell and splits the egg in pieces. Tearing his bread open, he places the egg inside to make a sandwich, looks at it in all its glory and has the entire thing downed in about three bites. He does this every class, and every class I watch him.

After class is over is see Felipe’s sister Yaina sitting on the ground. She is nine years old and held to the necessity of a wheelchair. Yaina has cerebral palsy. Hence, I think it is weird that I see her on the ground with her wheelchair on the ledge behind her. I walk over and pick her up, setting her in my lap as I sit down. The area spells abnormally strong of urine, and I realize, as she is in my lap, that Yaina’s dress is completely soaked. Still, I hold her in my arms and talk to her. I ask Cristina to bring over an egg from what we have leftover, peel it, and give it to Yaina and watch her eat it. With a big smile full of egg pieces, I put her up back in her chair and say goodbye. I notice that my pants are wet and when I get in the car, realize that it was in fact urine.

On the way to Pancho Mateo from Chichigua for my afternoon class, Cristina and I drive through Montellano. We see a large truck with Guardia (DR military) passing out bags of food to all the people nearby. They don’t even have to leave the truck. Men, women, and children alike have their arms in the air reaching for the next bag to be tossed out. Cristina tells me that the current President is passing out food in hopes of being reelected for another term. Katy told me about this sort of thing once before. (Katy is a parent that lives in Pancho Mateo). She says that this happens often in Pancho Mateo. People come in who are running for some sort of office to the poor areas and promise that they will bring water into the villages. It is all talk though, I do not know when these candidates said these things, but Pancho Mateo still does not have any sort of running water. We drive on by, watching the excitement of the women with bags in hand as we pass.

Monday, April 09, 2007

back in the saddle again

Today was our first day back in class after having the week of Semana Santa off. Cristina spent a few days in the capital visiting family and didn't get back until this evening, so I was alone in the classroom today. It was great to see the kids, I think a lot of them were not expecting class today (the public schools also had today off) and were excited to see me.

It was definitely obvious that all the kids had had a break from school. They were crazy! Although I only had 55 kids today, it seemed like so much more. I did have some helpers though throughout the day, which was great. Some of my older girls played Cristina's part. Joselina, also known as Belleza, also known as Keith's girlfriend while he was here, helped keep the kids calm in the first two classes, pass out papers and markers and glue, and then passed out vitamins at the end of the class. She even said "abre la boquita" and placed on in each child's mouth. My last class was my youngest class today. By that time, everyone had figured out that I was back and had nearly 30 little kiddos.

I tried playing the games and doing the art projects (designed specifically for them), but in such a small confined room and with so many little ones we had to cut it short. Greymy, Lisi, and the twins helped in this class. It is a really cool concept to me how kids like to mimic what you do. You know, like a little boy that wants to help his dad mow the lawn. These girls love helping me in class, telling all the "kids" to sit and be still and help passing out the food or whatever other thing there is.

Before we left today, Lisi wrote on the white board, "Camila es como la madre de Lisi." (Camille is like Lisi's mom). I felt really good, and then I asked her what her mom thought about that. She said nada, nothing.

I guess regardless of the crazy kids and the often times uncontrollable classes, it is good to be back in the saddle again.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Update on Katy

Katy's surgery was a success! She is in the hospital recovering, and will probably be there until the middle of the week. The doctors found a cyst attached to her pancreas, "it's not a TUMOR!" They, however, could not remove it. Instead, they put a hole in her intestine so that it could suck the cyst in and eventually it will pass naturally through her system. I am not a doctor, apparently this works?! The downside is that in order for her intestine to heal properly, Katy can not eat or drink anything. The healing process will take (has taken) several days though, that means no eating for this little girl.

I have seen her 3 different times in the hospital now, and she is definitely improving. Attached is a picture 2 days after surgery (Friday) while Katy was in intensive care. We went in today though and she was a bit more lively and more responsive- singing and playing instruments that I brought. A special thanks to my sister Rachel for the things I was able to use to keep Katy entertained, and to Royce for some of the instruments he left behind. (When Google will let me post a video I will).