Saturday, January 26, 2008

Answered Prayers

I’ve been getting numerous emails lately from friends, family, and Thornapple Community Church members telling me that I am in their thoughts and prayers. I want to thank everyone, because I think the prayers are being answered. I’m really starting to enjoy my job and my community. The people here are AMAZING. They have so much love for each other and life even though they have very little. It goes to show that money can’t buy happiness and we really don’t need material things. All you really need in life is a good sense of humor, some loud Bachata music, a good dance partner, and a lot of faith! :)
Christmas passed with not much of a celebration. I woke up depressed on Christmas Eve, because I missed home and the holiday traditions. We did have a big dinner, but we still didn’t sit down to eat together. Then I went to church service, but I missed the candlelight services in the states. Afterwards, we danced in the local colmado until midnight to celebrate. On Christmas, we didn’t do much of anything—just more dancing at night. New Years was much better. Many of the volunteers and I decided to spend a few days in Cabarete, a beach town on the north coast. It was so nice to be able to relax in luxury for a few days and the hot showers were incredible!
In a few weeks, I’m allowed to find my own place to live. But I think I’m just going to stay with my host family. I have really grown accustomed to my living situation and feel like a member of the family. Also, I have my own little casita (separate part of the house next to the kitchen), so it’s nice to have a little privacy every now and then. My best friend here is also my host sister, Leyda. She’s 24 and we talk and laugh about everything. We actually share the same birthday, which is Independence Day here (Feb 27). Very exciting! She has an adorable 16 month old daughter named Zyleca, who loves to dance already. Anallelis, 6, is my other host sister who loves to play Uno and follow me around everywhere. My Don Blanco and Doña Tonia are wonderful, too. They always make sure I’m well fed and comfortable. Blanco keeps telling me to find a compañero to keep me warm at night, to which I reply that all I need is my teddy bear. Everyone thinks I’m kidding when I tell them that it’s colder than a refrigerator in Michigan right now, and I now actually agree with them that 65 degrees is really cold. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for sending me a blanket!
As for my work, I just finished interviewing 120 women in the community door to door. Now I’m busy analyzing all the info and writing up a report. I have to give a presentation at 3 Month In-Service Training, which lasts for a week in mid-February. The report and presentation are in Spanish, so please wish me lots of luck. I’ve found many needs in my community, especially when it comes to child nutrition and women’s health. I’m also excited to start my Escojo youth group, where we discuss things like values, self-esteem, HIV/AIDS prevention, and safe sex practices.

Oh…and I finally found an Internet place that has computers with USB ports, so I posted a few pics on the flickr link. Feel free to check them out when you get a chance. I hope everyone had a happy new year, and as all the Dominicans say, “Vaya con Dios!” (Go with God!)


Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear everything is going so well for you!! I knew you would adjust just fine. You will have hard times, but I think the good ones and the good you are doing will outweigh them.
You're turing into a wuss!! 65 degrees cold!! lol
I hope your Spanish is going well and that's awesome that your host sister is so interested in learning English. That's also great that you have the choice to find somewhere new to live or to stay with the have had such good luck with your host families and I'm sure that's a blessing. I love ya lots and can't wait to hear from you again!!
Love Jamie

Anonymous said...

A Happy Belated Birthday!

We are glad to hear that things are going better for you!

Here's a positive least you missed 100 inches of snow that fell in GR this year!

Take care,

The Dosters