Three college students came to our door tonight, asking to speak to me. Our power was out, so we stood together on the darkened front porch. “We haven’t done anything with your kids yet!” Casandra complained. “We’ve only been here two days!” I countered. “We’ve been busy with the music workshop and VBS!”
Andy (AKA “my favorite”) explained, “Profe Rita, your groups are the ones we interact the most with. When we know you are coming, we know we will have a good time with your students, because you let us hang out with them.” Casandra jumped in again, “This is our vacation, but we have to stay on campus this year. We want to do something fun!”
I assured the young people that we had not forgotten them and sent them home without a concrete answer to their pleas. What I couldn’t tell them is that the Las Palmas and ICC administrators and I had been emailing back and forth for months to plan something special for the older kids. The students were right: my trips emphasize getting to know the people here and we seek to collaborate as much as possible with them in our work and activities. However, we take two tourist days by ourselves, which has always felt contrary to my philosophy. So this year we decided to give up our beach day and instead take all of the kids from houses 6 and 8—who range from age 16 to college age—with us on an outing to some waterfalls.
Once the young people went home, I got the OK from Director Samilin to let the kids in on our plans. We then went en masse to serenade each house and invite them to the outing. Most of the girls were out, but we found the boys at home and they invited us in to sing with them before heading back home for worship and story time.
The kids were tired and didn’t take long to get themselves to bed. The musicians put in another full day at the workshop today. They play from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 and have a two-hour lunch break. Then they are back at it from 3:00 to 7:00 or later. The school where they practice is not far from our house, so we are able to hear the progress they are making. Tomorrow night is the concert! They are sounding a lot more optimistic about how it will turn out.
The painting crew has continued at a blistering pace and Mike has commented several times that this is a hard-working group. The sanctuary is finished and the exterior will get its second coat tomorrow. Some of the Las Palmas young men worked on the sidewalk today, with Mike and Paul helping haul materials. Younger boys cleaned up the church yard and it is looking very nice.
We had only twenty children for VBS, compared to nearly double that on Monday. The elementary school principal who helps us explained that other activities had pulled some of the kids away, so we aren’t sure if we will be back to the big group tomorrow. Although we missed the children who didn’t come today, the group was easier to work with. Even craft time went reasonably smoothly today! We think we are getting better at this and are ready for the big group again tomorrow, should everyone show up.
The house is quiet and the crickets are chirping. I guess that means it is time for me to wish you a good night, even though I know it will be morning before I trek to the administrator’s home to use her internet to send this. I promise to post some pictures soon!
Much love from the Dominican Republic,