Thursday, November 29, 2007

coffee farm


I almost forgot to tell y'all about our Thanksgiving. Last Thursday we were all in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and trying to make our house seem more like being home. We made a turkey and dressing, potatoes, green bean casserole, pecan pie, the works!

It was the five of us that live at the Makarios house (me, Robin, Cara, Kate, and Sharla plus the twins of course), Weston, Jennie, Miguel, Miguel's nephew Blady (who they have been taking care of), Ben White who came up from Santiago, Cristina who works with us at the school with her husband and children. So we had a full house!

Though, I must admit, nothing like being at home with family because when we all get together for holidays the number is closer to 50!

Here we are all sitting down together in the picture above and below is a picture of Cristina's family: Junior, Cristina, Armando, Ruth, and Claudio.

The rest of the weekend was really enjoyable too. We went to Jarabacoa which is in the mountains and stayed with a couple named Chad and Krista and their two girls.

Chad and Krista started a school in Jarabacoa and they also have a coffee farm. The coffee that is grown on it is what is used at the coffee shop Dominican Joe in Austin, TX that Sharla opened last year. It was really cool to see that property and all that was on it. We were also able to see some actual work on the coffee that was pretty cool too.

Below are some pictures from the weekend.

christmas time

Every winter here in the DR (or for at least the ones that I have been here) local vendors have stands selling grapes, apples, and nuts. The fruit and nuts dangle from the tops of the stands, filling the area with completely with their colors and fragrances. I like to call them Christmas stands. They are everywhere, but only during the weeks leading up to Christmas and look beautiful at night.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


After our back to back groups, we were able to go to the beach for a little relaxation. Our first group (the medical one) paid for us to stay at the beach in a hotel, we traveled there with the second group and they decided to stay there too. IT WAS SO WONDERFUL. We were all ecstatic about the hotel, and the opportunity to spend some time at the beach.

The day was so nice, that all of us decided to splurge and pay for the second night. There is something so rejuvenating about the beach that I can't explain. We all had a fabulous weekend, doing nothing really, and it was great. We all stayed Thursday and Friday night. When Saturday came around, I wasn't ready to leave and neither was Kate. The two of us ended up staying until Sunday. I guess you sometimes just have those kind of weekends. It was really nice and very much what we needed, though I think both of us could have stayed there for another week!


While this Westlake group was here, they painted the alphabet on the classroom walls, other need to know information on the classroom tables, a mural on one of the walls, the name on the outside of the building, and so much more.

Shelves were also built and grass was laid in the back to provide a better area for the PE classes.

The kids walked in the next day mesmerized by all the things that they saw.

Pictured is the school with "Makarios" painted on the front.

an early christmas

The following week after the group of medical staff came a group from Westlake in Austin. They have brought several groups down during the time that I have been in country, and therefore many have been able to see so many things about this country and what it is that we do.

The night that they traveled to the north coast and met up with us, they showered us with gifts for the Makarios house. They brought down sets of plates and bowls and glasses, which match! They brought down foam and material to make cushions to sit on when we have a full house, games and movies and TV shows on DVD’s (including the first two seasons of The Office, I was ecstatic!) Not only did they bring things down for the house, but personal things as well. We each received food that we missed from the states, luxury toiletries, and other fun things.

They used the pieces of foam they brought down (which will eventually be cushions) to build a Christmas tree in our living room. It was so special, so special to receive some comforts of home, especially being so close to the holidays. I’m pretty sure that all of us at some point laughed, cried, were in shock and in awe.

It was not just the gifts, but we really enjoyed their company, their service to us, and their friendship throughout their whole stay here and were so grateful for everything.

(Pictured above is our Christmas on November 5th).

diori's abscess

During the last week of October, we had a group of nurses come down. They checked out a few of our students and were able to provide medicine and other treatments for the kids that needed it. During their time here they also taught the Makarios staff specific medical and first aid information and tactics. This includes things from how to treat a burn to seizures to infections. They spent their last day with us teaching us this basic must know information before their beach day.

The very next day when we were at the school, we found a large abscess on one of the neighborhood kids who is always hanging around the school, Diori. Though this medical group had already left Puerto Plata, we were able to help Diori because just the day before they taught us the exact procedures for getting rid of an abscess.

An abscess looks like a giant pimple on the skin. It's middle is filled with puss and debris and apparently is very painful. It cannot be cured by antibiotics alone, but must be opened and drained.

The following video is of me and Elizabeth popping his abscess. Just to warn y’all, it is a little gross so watch at your own risk. I just wanted to share with y’all though the neat story of being able to use what we had learned from this group just the day before.

And, I will have y’all know that Diori’s arm is no longer big and swollen and is healing rather nicely. Elizabeth and I have given each other several high fives since that day.

On a side note, for those of you that have been here and know Diori, he is now enrolled in our classes and comes every afternoon to our program. On another side note, there was a little girl the very next day who abscess I was able to pop.

Ok, I am having video trouble. Here is a picture for now, and hopefully I can get the video posted soon.

Friday, November 02, 2007

night in the hospital

The night before Halloween, I took Robin to the doctor because she had been feeling pretty ill for the past week. She had already made two other trips the week before but had never really recovered. When we were there the doctor said that she would have to stay the night at the hospital with an IV because she was dehydrated. The thought of staying overnight in a hospital in a third world country sounded anything but appealing to her, so I decided to stay the night with Robin.

We went back to the house and grabbed a pillow and some DVDs and headed back to the hospital that Tuesday evening. There were no basic rooms available, our options were the emergency room or a suite. Robin opted for the suite and we made our way to the room. It was actually really nice. She had her own private bathroom, there was even a couch for me to sleep on instead of a chair.

We had a fun and memorable time bonding in the Dominican hospital. I carried Robin's IV around if ever she needed to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. We joked about where we were and what we were doing. It was actually quite comfortable, with the exception of course of Robin being sick.

In the morning I headed off to the villages, but returned in the afternoon. She was finally able to leave that evening around 7pm. A funny thing though that happened was that they wouldn't take out her IV until she had paid her doctor's bills. So, I went down and paid and then the nurse came in and removed the IV from Robin's arm. We headed back to the house and she was so thankful to have her own bed and things near her.

Her health is still in the process of recovery, but I trust that she is almost there. After some more rest over the weekend, she should be good to go come Monday.