Broken Hearts and Broken Toes
I'm back from an exhausting weekend in Santo Domingo! It was quite interesting, so I will try to sum up the weekend:
Friday morning at ICC, we got there and they said they had 6 kids for us to see. My first thought was, "so it could be anywhere from 4-10. I was right! We saw 8 kids that morning! It was very exciting and also a little heartbreaking!
One of the children that Spring and I saw was this sweet little girl who was 8 years old. She had multiple problems and was heavily medicated due to seizures. She was unresponsive except to her mother's voice and face and had no volitional movement. Mom pulled me aside to talk to me a little and explained that the doctors have told her that she wasn't supposed to live past 7 years old. She said that they are just waiting for her to go and that they are ready for her to go at any day. She said that if God wants to take her home, that they are okay with that. It was so sad, and I started crying because she started crying (Schafer-Hovland trait). I talked to her about the fact that they are doing such a great job with her and that they are doing everything that they can for her right now and that if God wants her to live and progress developmentally, then she will.
Then her dad started asking if there was anything they could do different or better and if she would ever get better. We answered in much the same way, stating that it is in God's hands but that they are doing a fantastic job with her now. We'll call this incident broken heart #1.
Then, we came back and ate lunch and got on the bus to Santo Domingo. We ate dinner (which by the way was some of the best food I have had in a looooooooooong time- don't get me wrong- the food at ILAC is good, but this food was FANTASTIC!)
I was eating some chocolate cake with my friend Dana in the plaza where Christopher Columbus' family lived (that's right- you read that right!) when these two shoeshine boys came up to us and just started hanging out with us. Their names are Randi and Luis. They were teaching us spanish words for objects around us and we were saying the English word. They were so much fun! We stared talking about our birthdays, and the one little boy said he didn't know when his birthday was. This made me really sad :o(
They said that they live on the streets of Santo Domingo. They were so full of life and had such a great time just being kids, but they were living in a horrible situation. I asked if they slept well at night, and they said no, but showed me how they pull their arms into their shirts and pull their shirt over their head to get some rest. Luis said his parents both died years ago and Randi said he has a sister, but would not answer questions about his parents. Dana and I tried to show them love and compassion all evening as we hung out. They really enjoyed being there with us (the 'be with' factor). Then, they started saying they were hungry, so we had them shine our shoes for 20 pesos (60 cents) which they said, "for you, it is cheap!" So they shined my keens!!! They look so great now!!! During the shoeshine they created quite a scene by putting on a complete show! It was amazing and they worked so hard! Then we danced, laughed and played into the dark night. Later on, a cop chased them off, thinking they were bothering us, but this was no bother- it was one of the richest experiences of the trip. We'll call this incident Broken Heart #2.
Later that night, in our hostel, some girls came home late and called up for me to unlock the door. I unlocked the door, started jogging up the tile steps, and POP! my foot jammed into the step and I'm pretty sure I broke it! Awesome! Don't fear- I buddy taped it to the one next to it for safe keeping.
Saturday morning, we took a tour of the city and saw many awesome things. It's interesting to be a part of the Christopher Columbus body thing becuase Santo Domingo claims to have his body in a tomb here. Spain claims the same thing. :o) Then we did some shopping and I bought a larimar necklace. It's a stone discovered only in the DR in the 70s. It's beautiful. We ate dinner out (second best meal in a long time), ran in the rain, had coffee by the plaza, and went to bed!
Now I'm back at ILAC preparing for a crazy busy week. We have a big presentation here for 50 people and there are three of us in charge (YIKES)- me included. Tuesday, we visit a monastery and hike to a waterfall. Pretty exciting week! Friday I leave for the beach, and next Wednesday I fly back home (even though I don't get into Omaha until Thursday).
That's my schedule! Please let me know how you all are!
Much love to you all!