April 28, 2011

...Donations Recieved

A few days ago, April 26th, marked three months since Kristen and I arrived in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. It some ways it feels as though the time here has flown by, but it other ways, it feels as though I have been here for years. Its hard to believe that this time three months ago, I was settling in here with so many questions, no idea what these months could possibly bring. After my experience in Mexico, it seemed as though anything was possible. Coming here, I didn't know exactly how I would be spending my days or how I would be able to make it through financially. But thanks to the Good Lord above and all of my wonderful friends and family, everything has come together.  And here I am, over twelve weeks into the experience, stopping to take a moment and reflect on all that has happened during my time here.

But with unending thanks to many many people, I am able to be here in the Dominican Republic Without the generosity of people, it would not have been possible for me to be here. This is what my mind keeps returning to as I reflect on the past weeks-- the extreme generosity that has been shown by so many people--some of which I have never even met. I know that when these three months are over, and when I have completed a year of attempting to serve others in developing countries, what I think I'll remember most of all is the utter selflessness of people. Sometimes in people and places you'd least expect....

April 11, 2011

...Daunting Religious

Okay, I feel as though I should explain this title right off the bat. I thought having not written in awhile, I should take a moment to share another personal quirk of mine that seems to be taunting me throughout my days here. In all likelihood, its something that most people would take a moments pause to, but seems to wind up staring me in the face everywhere I go. Let me explain...and feel free to laugh, because in reality,once pointed out, its hilarious. Well, at least I think it is.
 The Dominican Republic is a very religious culture, a very Catholic culture (at least by appearances, while some of the underlying morals and values may seem contradicting. But that´s a whole other blog entry). As part of this culture, Catholicism is evident everywhere. Everyday entering downtown Jarabacoa, we pass a large painting of Jesus with his arms outstretched, pictures of religious are very prominent in public, and even more so, within every household.
The first time I entered a house here in Jarabocoa, I was greeted with this large poster of Jesus.

Ok, fine, like I said, most would think absolutely nothing this. But this poster was the main focus of the room where Kristen and I were sitting, and I felt the need to confess what was bothering me about this particular picture and what has bugged me for years about other pictures, paintings, and statues of Jesus, saints and other religious. I don´t why I randomly felt compelled to share this secret pet peeve of mine, but I turned to Kristen and did just that.
I suddenly blurted out "I know there´s symbolic meaning behind it, but how come in this picture of Jesus, and in so many images of saints, they are holding up two fingers? Why does it have to be those two--the two fingers I don´t have?! Why do they always do that? It´s like Jesus and all the religious are taunting me, silently saying `Look what I have...ha ha`!!!"
After staring at me for a moment, Kristen busted out laughing. And I did too. We had a good laugh and I got that thought off my chest.

But several days later, Kristen and I went with some of the workers of home visits. The first home we walked into:

 We were beside ourselves trying to keep in together for the several minutes were visiting the family. And then we went on to the next home, there was the picture again. And I kid you not, as we went into a good ten- twelve homes that afternoon, in EVERY one of the houses, there was that picture, often times poster sized, the dominant focus of the room, staring me in the face, Jesus following me with his eyes. Its become a running joke between me and Kristen, as we seem to see the picture everywhere we go.
Hope this has brought a little bit of laughter to your day (after being the confused white girl both here and in Mexico, I´m used to laughter at my expense). It certainly keeps me laughing!

...God is always watching!