Relaxing and Reflecting

Today is our last day in the Domincan Republic. We’re spending the weekend at Ranchos dos Rios in Jarabacoa debriefing and reflecting on the past week.

The past week has been full of people, food, adventure, and God. We have seen how God is using Students International to show love to the people in Jarabacoa. He is doing big things!

Tuesday, Wedenesday, and Thursday we all went to our sites like normal. Each site is a different experience and we all have our own stories to tell. At our sites we all have the opportunity to experience the DR culture and lifestyle. The people in Jarabacoa are very laidback, very warm, and very hospitable. It seemed as though everyone was friends with everyone. Everyone’s door is always open and it’s perfectly fine for anyone to walk in without an invitation. They are always greeted and welcomed.
The people in Jarabacoa also live very simply. The sites where we worked were in parts of the city that are very impoverished. They don’t have much, but they have everything they need. They’re content, work hard, and don’t ask for more. They grow and cook all their own food (and it is delicious). They wash their dishes with only the small light of a few candles. The kids know how to play outside with each other. They play every sport imaginable, climb anything they can get a grip on, play all kinds of card games or dominoes, and some of them are incredible with a hacky sack. They have so much fun with each other and they’re so happy. Amy, one of our team leaders, asked the question, “What is poverty?” These people have everything they need. They aren’t seeking for something newer, better, or faster. They’re content with what they have. They have friends and family. They have fun with each other and help each other. Their hearts are full.
Is that poverty?

Our sites closed for Good Friday and we spent that day doing some short hikes and visiting a couple waterfalls. We left Students International Saturday morning and the rest of the weekend we get to spend relaxing by the pool and getting some sunburn.

It’s different celebrating Easter in the DR. They celebrate the whole week (Semana Santo, which means Holy Week). Some schools aren’t in session and many people are off work. It’s interesting though because for some people this is a holiday that is used for drinking and partying. For others, they truly celebrate Christ’s death and His resurrection. At the education site in Mata Gorda, we provided coloring pages for the kids. One of the pictures was an Easter egg. The kids had no idea why they were coloring an egg. Eggs, bunnies, and candy aren’t part of the Easter celebration here. They celebrate what Easter is really about- Christ, His death, and His resurrection.

We have had an incredible time in Jarabacoa. These updates have only been able to provide a taste of what we’ve experienced. Look for pictures on Facebook and ask us about our experience and what we learned. We’d love to talk about it.

Thank you for your prayers! We ask for continued prayers as we pack up and head to the airport at 4am.

Happy Easter! He is risen!

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