Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 5: Our Day to Rest

We had our morning breakfast and packed our backpacks for a day of fun. EVERYONE is a little on edge. We are all pretty tired so we are looking forward to a day of fun! 

Yes Katie sleeps the minute we get in the bus! 

AJ threw up before we could get to the Catamaran. I'm glad I was on the other bus! 

We rode the buses about 45 minutes to La Romano. We boarded a catamaran and went about 30 minutes out to a reef where we snorkeled and swam. Then we rode a dingy over to Catalina Island a private island (private to the snorkeling companies) where we spent the day. 

How cute is this little man? His dad was our guide for the day. 

The weather was perfect! Slightly overcast and breezy! The kids could walk around, lay in the sun, shop with the vendors, dance, get a massage, play volleyball etc. They prepared lunch for us. We sat on picnic tables and had a few raccoon friends come visit! They were more like pets! 

We loaded up the dingys to catch the catamaran and boat back to shore. The Captain cranked up the music and got the kids to dance and sing. It was pretty entertaining. It looked like they had a great time!

We got back on our bus and headed back to the score complex. I've survived quite well without the diet cokes but I am now dying for one. I may drink a keg when I get home so Oney best have my fridge loaded! 

One quick note that I have forgotten to tell...brace yourself...Ally who NEVER DRINKS ANYTHING BUT WATER...has had a Coke EVERYDAY!!! She said water just wasn't getting her through the day! 

Another great day! So much more to tell and at least a thousand more pictures!!! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 4...Running with the Ball!

Started the day off without my diet coke. Ouch! Actually, I'm not sure how, but I've made it pretty good without. We loaded the buses and headed out on our mission. Lots of sleeping on the buses today. Quiet buses. Today we had the option of going wherever you wanted...bathhouse and house building or village children. It didn't matter boy or girl. ally and I went to the village with the kids. We visited another village near Los Fundos (maybe 2 miles away). Let me tell you-our seniors last year did a great job picking out village to "adopt". It is a perfect fit for our school. It was the smallest and poorest and "least glamorous " village. But boy is it perfect! Great, genuine, appreciative,happy, kind, people. I feel like because of the size we can really make a difference in Los Fundos. We felt outnumbered in this village we visited. The people didn't seem as nice. It didn't take us long to fall in love and claim Los Fundos as "ours". 

I'm going to be short on words today. No time to type-I'm using my phone so I'm slow-and I'm fizzling out on the energy. 

This is Alba-we are building her a new home. She is the sweetest grandmother. I took one of the parents who speaks fluent Spanish and asked if I could visit her house. She welcomed me with her hands on her heart, pointed to Heaven and a huge smile...

Like any welcoming Mother/Woman would do, she took us straight to her kitchen. It smelled amazing! She had a huge pot of rice and lentils. She insisted we try it. I begged and pleaded and said we just had lunch but she was so insistent. I looked at my translator , aka, Dr. Toby-I said-please tell her no. I can't. I could tell by her expressions and tone that I would really offend her if I didn't try it. Toby said-God will bless you. So -yep-I did. I ate off of her spoon and out of her pot. It was amazing! 

Then her spouse came in who was 76 and fit as a 30 year old. He says something really excitedly  and points to the pot on the stove. She walks over to a locked cabinet and gets a silver bowl out and fils it with boiled yucca roots. Google that to see exactly what they are...I can't use my data or get it to load from here. 

So ...what did we do? We ate them of course! It was basically like a boiled potato! Not bad at all...some salt pepper and butter and I would have eaten the entire plate! As we were eating one of the kids walked by and saw us through a hole in the wall and ran and grabbed our videographer Ethan and he came and filmed the rest of the story! I can't wait to see my expressions! At this point, Dr Toby and I passed the plate back and forth insisting on the other to finish it! 

This is a plate of yucca before it was cooked. It took hours with a machete to get it ready to cook. So it was a real gift. 


I could say much more. Like how Alba got her best silver dish out of a locked cabinet for us to eat on or how she went and got her two best chairs for us to sit in or how she tried to place a freshly washed piece of clothing on my chair because she was afraid it wasn't clean enough. This is all sort of like Gods grace...we don't deserve it but he has given it to us! She gave us -total strangers-her best! She wasn't worried if we ate all of her food-she would have given it to us and known that the Lord would provide for her and her family. We at home would have been worried about giving all of our "favorite hot meal" away and having to miss a meal. Talk about perspective. 

Ally has been named...Big Al the Builder and Dr Ally ...

One of the biggest lessons learned all can teach so much more with actions rather than words. Whatever we did-they did-kids and adults. We couldn't always communicate with words-but we could with actions. What does that teach us? To lead by example-a good example. Someone is always watching. 
What do you do when you run out of activities? Grab a box of medical gloves, blow them up and draw faces on them! They loved it! They love everything and anything! 

I feel so bad for the teenagers. Teenagers are already so awkward and uncomfortable. The little kids don't have any trouble with us. You can see the pain in the teens eyes-guys and girls. It was harder to work with /on them. But they need Gods love more than anything. 

Nino, Marlenis, Aliza, Alaindro, Nicole 

This is our bus driver and one of the strongest make leaders/families in the church. My favorite! These families crave "fotos"...they don't have any pictures of themselves! I am having my pictures printed and shipped back to them!!!! I just wish I could see their faces when they get the package! Wow! 

Ally and I stayed all afternoon at the house when a bus went back early. We were in charge of sunscreen, water, Chapstick, first aid, holding ladders, cleaning up, snacks, etc! 

Our "finished product"! We needed a few more materials that we couldn't get in time. So Nate the SCORE pastor will finish Monday. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 3...Building Houses and Faith

Started the day off with toast and a diet coke! Packed our backpacks and prepared to hit the road to Los Fundos with a busy agenda today. Katie "prays" (sleeps) on the bus every chance she gets! 

Because of the amount of work we have taken on and lack of time, our leaders decided to split our group into boys and girls. Boys would get the construction organized and started and girls would entertain children, paint faces, polish nails, play, do a Bible activity, etc. 

When we arrived at the village today, all of the kids were so excited to see us again! All smiles and giggles. So much energy and sheer happiness. Surprisingly, I remembered lots of their names. Many of them had on the same outfits they had on yesterday. But they are very clean, and do not smell or feel dirty at all. I am very impressed with their hygiene considering their conditions. They are really smart...better communicators than we energetic and excited...Ally had planned a "Faith Bracelet" activity. They loved it! We made bracelets with them all and then the translator helped Ally give a little Bible lesson to go along with it. They "got it"...they are very familiar with the Bible...songs...stories...symbolisms. They all participated and answered questions! 

We met for lunch. Regrouped and hit it hard again. After lunch, the girls painted a house! 

When that was finished, we sort of all congregated at the house site and worked together on building the house for a bit. There were really too many of us in one small area so we took one bus back to the complex a little early and some stayed and worked. Ally and I hopped on that bus. I had a major headache I'm sure from caffeine deprivation as well as heat. I couldn't shake it so I later down for a bit and skipped dinner. All of the kids are feeling one has gotten sick. We have been preaching the sunscreen, hand washing, drinking lots of bagged water, etc. I think they are all doing great. I am so proud of all of them and their hard work. 

I feel sure no one will have trouble sleeping tonight. I know I won't. 
I am SO PROUD of Ally. She has really let her guard down, stepped out of her "comfort zone", been enthusiastic, hardworking, a leader, etc. We are being blessed everyday with this experience. We are getting way more than we are giving. 

Good night!