WOW. It has been an incredibly crazy past month. As you all know, I was in Mexico (and if you didn't know, I would be very curious to know just how and why you came to be reading this blog...) for 5 months and had a very interesting, challenging, but overall wonderful experience. However, when I returned for Christmas, the parents of the other volunteer decided that it was not safe for her to return. As a result, I was unable to return. It was extremely disappointing to leave behind all those I had gotten to know, but safety-wise, it was probably for the best. And as He does, the good Lord provided.
Kristen (the volunteer I was with in Mexico), her dad is a campus minister at a college in New Paltz, NY and he had very strong connections here in Jarabocoa. He brings a group of students here every year for a mission trip. So he was able to set it up where Kristen and I could come here to volunteer. For the past few years, he has been working closely with a woman, Marina Delgado, who has so generously offered to be our host mother while we are here. Kristen and I live in the downstairs "apartment" of Marina and her husband, Ralphael's house. The Delgados have been wonderful to us. Not only have they opened up their home, but they have made a point of introducing us to their family and friends, along with making sure Kristen and I have everything we need. Not only do Marina and Ralphael have two teenage daughters of their own (so they are used to having young people around), the Delgados lived in the US for 18 years until they returned in 2004 (which means they can speak English very well!). So, overall, the entire process of getting settled here has gone very smoothly, which has been a huge relief for me. After Mexico, where we lived with three nuns who were older, completely unaccustomed to living with lay people, and never before really known any Americans, it is nice to come home after a long day of work and be able to relax in our own space.
So...within just 5 weeks of learning I wouldn't be returning to Mexico, here I am in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. My head is still spinning from all the changes which have taken place and I am still trying to wrap my mind around all the changes that have taken place. It is hard to believe that I have been here for 11 days now!
A HUGE THANKS FOR ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE MADE THIS EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE FOR ME!
Stay tuned for an update later this week where I will explain all about the place where I will be doing the majority of my volunteer work!