Twelve Days and Felipe the Fish
We only have twelve days left. Our flight is on the twelth day. Only two and a half days of class. Tomorrow is the last Oansa/Awana. Into all this we will fit a wedding, a beach day, a party with the girl teachers at our house, the final program on the last day of school, saying goodbye, and the last two days with all the other summer interns. I cannot believe that I´m going to leave.
Friday night we said goodbye to the work team that we grew to love while they were here and got on the bus on the windy mountain road to Jarabacoa. For the first time in this country I wished I had a jacket or a long sleeve shirt. The mountains feel cold compared to where we live. The night we got to see the other two interns from Wheaton who we had had orientation with all last semester. They arrived about a week prior to our visit and we got to tell them about how our time had been and hear their stories too. So good to see them.
Saturday we drove to the capital, toured the first cathedral in the new world, Fortaleza Ozama, and Diego Colombus´ house. This was our tourist time, we hadn´t really had any up to this point, so everyone had out their cameras. It felt like last summer in England to me, cathedrals and castles. However, this was definitely a Dominican experience because the lecture about the cathedral was about five minutes instead of 45. It was great. We also did a little tourist shopping. It was nice to see the other interns and to sleep with a fleece blanket in Jarabacoa. In Montellano, I use a sheet, and neither of the Rachels uses any blanket at all. Sunday we caught two buses back to Montellano. The team had already left, and our Dominican housemates came back later in the afternoon.
This week is a blur. My two favorite parts:
We got to go to the village on Tuesday afternoon for an hour and a half of so. We went with three of my fifth grade girls instead of one of the teachers. I got to go to their houses and meet their moms and siblings and I could tell it meant a lot to them that I was there. They all live close together, so we went from house to house, sat down for a while in each one, went to the next. We went to the house of one of the more difficult girls first. She just sat on the couch looking bashful and happy and when we walked to the next house she and I walked together. I put my arm around her and talked with her, it was a great moment of building trust and rapport with her, letting her know that I liked her. Sometimes it´s hard to convey that in the class when I have to tell her no. Another of my students in fifth grade, a boy, had eight or ten glass jars of beta fish outside his house and I stooped down to look at them and said, ´´ oh, I have two of these!! one´s red and named fuego (fire) and the other one is blue and named Posiedon´´ and I had to explain about the origen of that name. Also, they belong to my roommate at school. So the student gave me one of the fish for a gift!
´´Does it have a name?´´ They looked at me with confused faces, maybe they don´t name their fighting beta fish here. I suggested, ´´Like Juan, Felipe?´´ They laughed and all said ´´Felipe!´´ so the fish was named. I have to say, that was the most interesting ride back to town, in the way back of an old Ford van that rattles holding a mason jar with a beta fish named Felipe and trying to keep the water in the jar through the sugar cane road. Never going to forget that. They´ve asked me the past two days, how´s Felipe? and they laugh.
Second favorite: We´re having a program and all classes will present something for the others. On Tuesday the main teacher in my class asked me if I would write a poem for the fifth graders´ part of the program and bring it the next day. I told her I would try. I felt a little discouraged about it the night before because I was also preparing an involved activity for the next day that took up a lot of time. I got up early the next morning and worked on it, and was really pleased with it, gracias a Dios, as they say here. Each of the classes is supposed to use the theme from the summer ´´Yo veo Dios´´ I spy God. So the poem includes Psalm 19:1-2 that the kids have been memorizing this week and then talks about how we can see God in each of the subjects at school. The teachers in my class liked it, and at the end of the day the main teacher gave post it notes of one or two lines to seven of the kids to memorize. When they all got the notes, they read them outloud, just to see what they said, and hearing them read it was so cool. They didn´t know that I wrote it. When we have the program on Wednesday, I´m pretty sure I´m going to bawl. I don´t want to say goodbye.
As a team, we´ve been talking about going home a little bit, what´s it going to be like? would we ever come back? We´ve all become aware of different areas in our lives that either we want to change when we go back (or keep it the way it is now), or we´ve realized something´s important to us at home that we weren´t aware of before. I´m glad to be here with these girls, each of us is so different, we have every perspective on every issue or question, everyone thinks about it in a different way.
The time is flying by! Again, as always, thank you for prayers and encouragement. I´m so glad to share our life and ministry here with you. It´s been such a rich experience.
Till next week and the final update from this side,
Sarah and Co.