Tuesday, July 24, 2007

evelyn and maria

Last night I found out that the husband of a dear friend in Chichigua passed away. The woman is named Evelyn, she shares her name with my sister. Evelyn is a mother of four; all of children come to my class in Chichigua.

She works in a salon in a tourist beach town nearby, and so is able to support her family. I had never met her husband because he was always working when I was there teaching. Evelyn also attends Alexia’s English class regularly and the two of them have established a great friendship.

We went to her house today to visit her. She was inside on her bed just sitting there. When she saw us, she said in English, “my husband is dead.” It broke my heart.

The last time I had gone to Chichigua prior to today was Sunday for church. A woman named Maria who I know pretty well pulled me aside to tell me that her husband let her. He packed up all his clothes and left, leaving her with nothing really because she does not have a job and therefore no money.

Maria is sometimes a little out of it and I don’t think enjoys her life very much. She has AIDS (but will not admit to it) and is always sick and weak. Please pray for these two women and the direction that life is taking them.

dancing tops

Several weeks ago I went to Tamarindo, where the guys are working at the land. I was watching the kids play with tops. Do you remember those tops that spin? They had these plastic tops with a piece of string wrapped up around it, then they would place the top on top of an empty water bottle, pull the string down and lift the bottle up. The top would jump out and spin around on the ground.

What I thought was interesting about it was that whenever someone was about to release the top, all the kids would shout out “make it dance! Make it dance!” I have never thought of a top dancing, just spinning, and so I smiled when I heard that expression for the top.

I called out to them to see who wanted to dance like the top, so when the little boy Reyni made the top “dance,” we all started dancing with it. There were about eight kids and then myself spinning around and around like the top, dancing. I loved it!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


On Tuesday of this past week, I spent the day in Pancho Mateo with Rebecca, Leticia, Alexia, Rose, and her kids. We didn't have class that day, so I was able to walk around and spend some time with the people that lived there. Jennie had mentioned a couple days before that there was an old Haitian man living in his own waste, deteriorating away, unable to do anything on his own. On Monday, Rebecca and Brad went with Jennie to his home and brought some pampers, protein powder to make drinks, and a foam cushion and bed frame because he had been sleeping on an old mattress on the floor. His name is Dominic, and he has a younger brother that lives near him but does nothing to help him.

I wanted to take advantage of the free day I had to go and meet him. Rebecca and I walked through a very narrow area in Pancho Mateo where he lives, walking between small houses made of pieces of tin that seemed to give off heat like nothing else. Rebbecca brought sheets for his bed and a set of clothes. We had to ask a child to show us where his house was because there was so much winding in and out of narrow pathways that it was hard to remember the way.

We arrived at his house, a tiny shack made of tin that made up one part of a long row of small tin houses. The door was open and I walked in. His house was split in half, you walk in to a small area and then immediately have to turn to go into the second room which was just big enough for a bed. The only light was coming from the front door, so the back room hardly gets light at all.

I walked in, and turned to look into the back room. It was so dark that I couldn't see anything, I thought that no one was there. Then I slowly started to see the outline of a small, dark figure hunched over at the foot of the bed. I was startled that there was in fact someone there. I walked in and saw an old man seated basically in fetal position, his body all contorted. He was just skin and bones and he had no clothes on.

The small room smelled awful and then I noticed that the newly delivered bed as well as the newly cleaned floor had large amounts of poop sitting in areas near Dominic. What the interns had cleaned only the day before was already back to how it was. Jennie had warned the interns what to expect before going on Monday, but when I went in that day I did not think that it could affect me in the way that it did.

We went and looked for his brother who Jennie had given the diapers and protein powder to. I then found a neighbor who helped translate because he spoke Creole much better than he did Spanish so it was hard to communicate. After much struggle, the brother and neighbor, along with myself and Rebecca, were able to put his diaper on. I gave him his protein drink that Rebecca had made and he drank it all down so quickly.

After we had done everything I stood there looking at him, wondering if he felt humiliated and hopeless because he was completely exposed as we all tried to put his diaper on, the whole time his brother yelling at him for not cooperating. My eyes filled with tears and I could not stop. His family and friends and neighbors were not doing anything for him, and he just sits day after day in his own filth.

I have been back twice since that day, and both times Dominic has been without a diaper, sitting on the floor in his own waste, and each time I have sought out a neighbor to help get him back onto the bed with a clean pamper on.

My heart breaks every time I see him and in his unchanging condition.

summary of the past couple weeks

The week after my family came to visit, another group from the Austin Stone came. We divided them up into three smaller groups. One group worked at the land in Tamarindo, continuing making progress with the education center, another group did English camp with Alexia, and the final group was with me in the kids classes. Some of my really good friends came on this trip, so it was so good to see them here, and we were able to spend a little time catching up in the evenings which was great. There was so much progress made while they were here. Much work was done at the land, getting it one step closer to being ready by the fall, and many of the group members really connected with some of the kiddos.

The following week was a little more low key. Two teachers that worked with Makarios last year, Brian and Bethany, were in town for several weeks. We teamed together and taught classes in Pancho Mateo and Chichigua on Monday and Wednesday. Thursday Leticia and I did a lot of organizing and cleaning up in the house, and later I tried to sit down and figure out which kids would come in the fall to the classes at the education center (which is not an easy task). (Look for another blog soon to come about what happened Tuesday of this week.)

Thursday night Alexia, Leticia, and I went and met up with Rose and her kids at the beach and stayed the night with them there. It was great to relax some, as well as do some brainstorming for the next group that is coming.

On a sad note, three more of the interns have come and gone. Barrett, Drew, and Holly who have all been here for quite some time help. The picture below is one last group photo prior to their leaving.