What’s up friends and fam. It’s Julia writing to you today. I am currently sitting outside and it is 8:26 pm. We have Ben, Connor, Jacob, Drew, Christian, Addy, Grace, Tiff, and I playing a game of baseball around a picnic table with a broom stick. Things couldn’t be any better. Tiff just got hit in the face, but all is good because the ball is simply a bundle of cloth! Ben just destroyed second base (the trash can). As I have been writing this blog around 9 other guys decided to join this picnic table baseball game. The Caribbean has perfect night wether to hang out all together outside. Everyone who is not playing baseball is either relaxing in their hammocks or playing cards. Being out of the winter weather is a true blessing.
During the day I am at the women’s social work site. The morning consists of a child developmental program. Kids from the surrounding community around 2 – 3 years old come to the building each morning. We play games with them and feed them breakfast. It is an awesome opportunity for toddlers to develop simple skills in listening and obeying. Some of the kids have very little to no supervision at home. One little boy in particular has no one to watch him during the day while both his parents are working. He spends his day wandering around the streets alone. The site gives him an opportunity to eat breakfast and learn behavioral skills he needs for school. Right before lunch we walk the kids back to their homes. It is really cool to see where each of the kids live. Their community is a diverse group of homes. Some have solid roofs and tile floors while others are almost completely open with tin siding and dirt floors. Walking through the community is definitely a highlight for me each day.
After lunch we usually have an activity with high school or middle school girls. On Wednesdays highshool girls are provided an English lesson. On Thursday there is a mini bible study and fun activity for middle school girls. Yesterday the activity was baking empeñatas. I had never made these before but the girls were stoked to teach me. First, the dough was peeled into thin circles while the ham and cheese was graded. We then placed ham and cheese on the inside and folded the dough over. The girls showed me how to properly seal the dough with a fork and deep fry them. They were so good and I will totally try and make them again one day.
Over the past couple days I have been super blessed to see a part of the Dominican’s vibrant culture. The people here really value community. Whether I am walking around the community my site is located in, or going on a run just outside the base, people are quick to wave and say hello. Moms and kids are constantly running in and out of different homes barefoot. Today I saw a bunch of fathers working together to create piping for a water system. I am so thankful to be here and spend about a week living among and learning from the locals here.