Anna+Ian in the DR: construction + Hoya de Bartola

Thursday, August 4, 2011 (siesta)

kids watching construction work

Yesterday we moved concrete blocks and buckets of mortar and soupy concrete. Generoso and Felix are the masons, and we kept them supplied (with help from Jeissy). Ian and I also met Pastor Luis in person for the first time — he came from La Mosca to spend the day with us. He is so full of joy and love. He and two of his sons, Luiscito and Dilson, helped us mix the mortar and concrete.

We're working on the brick wall surrounding the site of the in-progress parsonage. This will be a two family home, allowing the pastor, Elido (EL ido), and Jenn, our G.O. Ministries coordinator who serves at the church here in Hato del Yaque, to move to the neighborhood from Santiago. (This will also be a great situation for Jenn who is moving forward in the process of adopting a Haitian boy). I was so sore when I woke up this morning, but it's very rewarding work.

Right before lunch yesterday, we went to Hoya de Bartola a.k.a. The Hole, a trash dump neighborhood very similar to La Mosca.

another view of the river

It reminded me of some of the poorer parts of the Philippines.

superman sweeps the gutter

We went to the (newly finished) church and talked with Felix, the pastor (his son was playing with a Mater toy truck). Felix has been serving in The Hole for 10 years. He thanked us for sacrificing our time, and said because of groups like ours, the kids in this neighborhood — many of whom are ignored, abused, and abandoned by their families and community — have learned to trust adults again. Yesterday morning at our breakfast table, we had wondered what difference we can make in just a week. God gave us a powerful answer through Felix. After asking a few questions, lunch for the nutrition center was ready. We went downstairs to serve the kids. For most, it is their only meal of the day. Each plate is portioned, and they know what they're supposed to get.

they love photos

One girl "picked" me, and kept waving, hugging me, and smiling. After lunch we took a quick walk through the Hole, and she wanted to ride on my back. She wasn't small — maybe 10 years old? Ian gave a kid named Freddy a ride on his shoulders. When we got back on the bus, all the kids kept waving through the windows. Freddy ran after us, smiling and waving until he couldn't keep up. I never want to forget that face.

We came back, ate lunch, then worked more until it rained. Which meant showers for us. Much appreciated.

I also should note that the rest breaks run long. This morning, we played with the kids who showed up. Rosa did my hair, and Miguel and Riley played the game where you cover someone's eyes and make them guess who you are.

the hair styling begins

After dinner, we got our money (last night we gave Derek, with G.O., cash to exchange into pesos), then headed for ice cream at Helados Bon. It was so good! I got a cone with two scoops: macadamia nut and organic chocolate. Amazing.

macadamia nut + organic chocolate

Then we went back to Hato del Yaque and played games. I killed it with Monopoly Deal, thank to Park Place+Boardwalk and two consecutive rent cards.

This morning was full of more bricks and concrete. I even helped mix a batch. Fingers crossed I'll be ripped and tan by the time we go home. Hah! Worship clinic is going well. It's a nice soundtrack to our construction work. Can't wait to hear more from Ian.