Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We're Back

Kisha and I are back in the US. We've spent the last few days meeting with family & friends and unpacking our junk at Bryan & Crystal's place. Everybody has been wonderfully warm so far, and we hope to see everyone sooner than later. If you want to get together please Facebook one of us and we can set up a time and place.

It's cooler than we've had for 11 months, so we're still adjusting to climate. Kisha is currently taking a hot bath in an attempt to raise her body heat to a functional level, and I must admit that I'm colder than usual. The roads are unbelievably smooth, and the cars unbelievably nice. I have to be careful not to go too fast in these ideal driving conditions, though I wish more people would communicate through honking... it's simply the best way to get the job done :0)

There is food EVERYWHERE. Not just any food or a lot of food, but a good variety of healthy food can be found in most stores. It's like I've died and gone to nutrient heaven! Salad options, veggie options, and I even got hooked up with a VERY nice organic breakfast omelette from Beaverton's Farmer's Market. I confess I've had some meat since returning home, but finding veggies aplenty won't be too hard as we transition back to our nutritarian diet.

It has been both happy and sad coming back. It's nice to be back in the states, and it's been great to see the people I love and spend time with them. It's also a bit sad because of all the people we left, and we don't exactly have the future all planned out. I'm figuring out what the next step is for me in career and occupation. I am glad to be back in Portland for this refining process, and I'm sure I'll have need of the people who love me as I look for a sounding board. I cannot close my eyes and think my way to the next stage; I can only close my eyes and pray for the right people and opportunities to come in my life. I trust God will provide, and I am excited to see how He will do it this time.

My Grandad has seen his share of transitions and career changes. He's worked as a migrant farmer, farmer of other people's land, crop-duster, dairyman, and car wash owner. If the lord can bring him through, I guess I'll be alright :0)

This will be our last post for this blog. Our work with TEARS will continue, but we'll be posting those updates on Facebook. Since we're not living in the DR the title is now dated. Thank you for all the support for the last year!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Almost Gone

This will be my last post from Dominican soil for a while. In about 30 minutes our plane will lift off, and we're headed to customs in Miami. It's quite exciting to think that tonight I can eat at one of my usual favorite spots. Also on the list of awesome is seeing family, weather that is 30 degrees cooler, and being able to understand most people. I will once again be a random white guy in a crowd. Nice.

Our partnership with TEARS is far from over. We'll be representing all throughout North America to help maintain a personal connection with the churches & groups that participate in the ministry. Should be fun!

Monday, June 11, 2012

No Luz, No Agua, NO MAS!

Tomorrow we leave the Dominican Republic. Anyone who has ever moved (presumably most of you) knows that means today is very important. Since our ride to the airport will be picking us up at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow, we have to make sure we wrap everything up today. While this statement may not sound particularly exciting to my North American audience, I need to point out that it's easier said than done.

Three days ago the power went out. We didn't notice right away because of the back up batteries, but we noticed when the batteries died! Electricity is a convenience in many ways, but here there are some practical almost-necessities attached to electricity. It was a bummer to realize we wouldn't have internet or warm water, but it was INTOLERABLE to think the ceiling fans wouldn't work. We've re-entered the hot season in the DR, and even with the ceiling fan whirring away at top speed it can be hard to sleep.

Fortunately the power company actually responded to our request for repair. I suspect someone else on our block was bugging them non-stop to make sure it got fixed right away. We spent Saturday away from home with Alberto and his family, so we didn't have to sit around the house and sweat it out.

True to form Kisha and I woke up around 6 or 6:30 this morning. The big goal was to do the last load of laundry, clean the house (which means soap, water, and buckets), and empty and clean out the fridge. The only problem is that there's no water this morning. Methinks the guy who waters the garden left the hose on last night, and he emptied both the cistern and the tank above the house. Probably the public water system isn't working today, as well.

I say NO MAS! It's not supposed to be like this. Some stuff is just supposed to work, and when it doesn't work there should be an easy way to fix it. And if those first two things don't go as planned there should be someone I can call who can fix it the first time. I would be messed up about this, but I'm getting on a plane tomorrow, so I hardly see how it matters. I will miss the people (because our friends are AWESOME), but I won't miss the amenities!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Last Hurrahs, Swimming!

We have just one week left here on the island and so it is time that I am having my last hurrahs! On Sat. I went to Casa Club and had a great day swimming with the youth I have been spending a ton of time with over the last year. We were also celebrating the recovery of my good friend Yasoni! She had a terrible accident on her scooter and was unable to walk for a long time. She had 3 surgeries and by the grace of God is now able to walk and tomorrow will be returning to work! She has been a great blessing to me! It is great to have a girl friend who can listen and understand and then comfort and encourage me.

So to those who helped us have this special day thank you very much!

In the weeks to come we will be giving away many belongings and having at least one more special outing with the family who I spend most of my time with. Alberto, Milagros and their 3 kids will come with us to relax at Rancho Baiguate where we can swim, eat, play ping pong and billiards.

As we prepare for this transition there are a lot of emotions... I am excited to go home and scarred not knowing what will happen, will we find work? will I get to have my dog with me? Will I stay in touch with my friends in the DR will is all just fade away? Can I really be a good fundraiser and PR person for TEARS? Will I make a difference?

The one thing I know is that God has been very faithful!

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I know that waiting isn't supposed to kill anybody, but it might do away with my wife and I. We've mostly wrapped things up, and the only thing left is to clean out the apartment and put the final touches on packing. Not sure what we'll be doing with the next week, but I sure wish I had a good book.

We're in the last couple of days of school, but because of the awkward weirdness that comes from working towards two different diplomas, some of the kids grades had to be turned into the Dominican government 3 or 4 days ago. That means we've had a week where we can't take anything for grading. It's frustrating a boreing for teachers and students alike, as if we needed to feel more like we're playing education. Whatever. Two more days, and then a couple teacher days, and we can officially close this one out.

I'm tired. I knew I would be, and I usually am at the end of a school year, but I'm usually a different kind of tired. It's usually more like crazy busy tired rather than not having anything to do. It takes a lot of energy to do nothing.

The Good Lord is still with me, so that's something. Hug you all when I get back!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Just two days ago I was thinking to myself, wow I am feeling good and I haven't been sick for like 3 weeks. I hope I can stay healthy for the last 3 weeks of my time here...


Today I am not feeling very well and took a five hour nap.

I don't know why I got sick. It could be the not so wonderful diet I enjoyed while at the beach or the night of missed sleep in an uncomfortable hotel room, or the day I spent in the barrio yesterday. Who knows. I just want to finish strong.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Poverty surrounds me not just the I can't go out to the movies but the ALL we have to eat is rice or I wish we had rice kind of poverty. The water has not made it to my street so I can't flush the toilet. My kid isn't growing and there is no electricity, three to a be and 80 degrees at night with mosquitoes pecking at me hope I don't get dengue fever poverty. My only pass-time is gossip and anger and somehow I have $ to get drunk. This is the poverty that surrounds me. The streets flood and we all lock ourselves in for the night hoping for sun in the morning. Just this week I sat in a house where the grandma was/is doing her best to care for her grand kids while one of her daughters bickers and fights like an eleven year old only she is at least 30. The swatting and cursing becomes abusive after you pass a certain age and your victims remain younger and younger. 

But I see hope in a 15 year old's eyes. He is going to make it. Determination that he will not be a slave in poverty. Strength and tenderness, affection and love. He will over come and change the cycle. No aunt will ever hit his child while they sit playing at the table.