DR Day 3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
En route from Jarabacoa to Santo Domingo, DR

Three Trinity Moms Enjoying Pico Escondido

Yesterday ended with a hike to a waterfall, with huge boulders littered around.  The students, led by our intrepid Middle School boys, jumped from 20-25 feet up into the cold and roiling pool below.  We snapped some great pictures of the students in mid-air.  The weather was cloudy and even trying to rain, but it didn’t discourage the students from jumping.  I stayed on the other side with the students who chose to stay warm and dry.

We circled up after dinner to share with each other about our day.  And then we heard from the Camp Director, Roy, about the history of the camp and the current ministry.

Breakfast this morning at 7:30.  Not terribly early, except that we were dog-tired from two days of working with our backs and hands, and except that the Middle School boys took forever to quiet down and stop acting like ninnies.  (It was really quite funny, and it made me ever more thankful for our MS teachers, who thrive on guiding these students through their craziness.)

We worked the morning on the kitchen project and the workshop project.  Late in the morning, before we broke for lunch and clean-up, I stood on the gazebo that overlooked the road through the camp, where I could see four different crews working all over the camp (our two, plus two groups of college students from Michigan and Berry College).  It was deeply gratifying to see students working so hard, breaking their backs, and laughing about it. At any minute, some of them might start dancing in the middle of the road.  Turn around, and you’d see two girls managing a wheel-barrow of wet mortar up the hill from the mixer to the masons.  One of the highlights for me was when about a dozen of us guys, Trinity and Michigan students, all pulled together to lift a slab of concrete that must have been pushing half a ton.  Teamwork.

Carrying the BIG Rock

Somer and Rachel Helping Build the Wall (Mrs. V too)

Chad, Charlie, Will, Mr. McLeod, and I working together to roll a big rock down the hill

Jeanie and Milan Hauling mortar

Chad was the King of the Sledge Hammer

Students surprised themselves and us adults by their industry, perseverance, and grit.  Small girls shoveled dirt and rocks until their back hurt.  Sturdy boys swung pick-axes until their hands were blistered over.  Students who barely knew each other before the trip bent together to heave a large stone.  Middle school students who might have complained about the temperature on the airplane three days earlier worked until their T-shirts were soaked with sweat and stained with Dominican clay. 

And then there were the new acquaintances and friendships.  Dominican fist bumping American fist.  Ola’s all around.  Graham (no surprise) found a friend he remembered from last year, and then was joined at the hip with another new friend, the son of one of the Dominican YL maintenance staff.  There were a lot of hugs when we left the camp after lunch today. 

As I stood on the gazebo and looked down on the students working, I was impressed with how much work had been accomplished in two days.  I suppose that I had low expectations.  I’ve showed up for work projects before when the combination of our unskilled labor and poor organization meant for low productivity.  But my hat’s off to the maintenance staff at Pico Escondido.  They were ready for us.  They had real work for us to do.  Supplies were ready at hand.  Skilled laborers showed up on time and stayed late to get the work done.  And they guided us through interns and others to contribute meaningfully.  Today I looked down on the road where we had started digging the hard, rocky soil two days before: All the holes were complete, square and deep.  Rebar had been fashioned to sustain the pillars for each hole, and the Michigan team had already started pouring concrete in some of the holes.  This was all good work.  Like the Kingdom, it began small and with only a small seed.  And like the Kingdom, it was unfinished—and I was going to have to leave before it was done and pass it on to someone else.  But it was being built and our efforts had made a difference.  I hope the students have some sense of their part in this story; I think they do.

Josh and Jeanie with Kids and the Church in Santo Domingo
Sharing pictures and smiles outside the church


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