The Rest of My Dominican Republic Story

Part one of my DR mission-cation story tells the story how my husband and I, Team Paying it Forward and Servant’s Heart Ministries (SHM) helped build a house.

I shared photos and thoughts how the physical work progressed- how our goal was accomplished!

In this post my lens is focused on other activities squeezed into our week.

orientation tour with SHM’s local team

PHOTO BY TEAM LEADER, TAMMY

I’m sharing here but a thumbnail view. But as our van driver responded to people waving in front of their houses or walking down the streets, the relationship of the mission with the community was obvious and inspiring! As team members in the van – that often bottomed-out!, it felt good to be partnered with SHM.

  • community centre for kids and adultssafe gathering spot for group activities; internet access for homework and communication; kitchen area where they make wonderful Santo Domingo coffee! At the centre I delivered a hockey bag stuffed with used ball equipment, thanks to my Lunenburg community! Kids were at school so didn’t play ball – good thing, it’s been a long time since I put on a mitt and got in the game!
ENERGETIC, ORGANIZED, CREATIVE LEADERS READY TO LAUGH AND HUG
  • Danica’s Dream Pregnancy Resource Centreresource centre helps young women (often alone, scared, perhaps subjected to an unwanted pregnancy) with an instructional program, knowledge and resources they need to succeed. Support stretches beyond the birth of their baby, providing a 2-year practical education, healthy lifestyle program. The centre also offers education and events for teen-age girls: hygiene, self-worth, life skills.
JENNIE AND TAMMY IN STOREROOM: ITEMS DONATED FOR BABIES UP TO 2 YRS.
HAPPY MOM, HAPPY STORY, LITTLE ONE RECOVERING WELL FROM SURGERY

We poked our heads into a room with Moms and babes: “Buenos Dios” and waving hello. Too short a visit for my baby-loving husband!

I returned to the centre a few days later to talk with their leader, Jennie; to learn about the centre’s programs and leave educational tools and feminine hygiene kits designed by Days For Girls organization.

I recently discovered Days4Girls . Inspired by its mission to help women and girls around the globe live with dignity every day of the month – I’ve become an advocate in sharing their work. Check their website – if interested in learning more reach out to them or me! ketoews@gmail.com.

  • Hugs for Kids – School an action-packed stop – children ‘swamped us’ with hugs, laughter, energy to play. I found it refreshing these kids weren’t asking for or expecting treats from the foreigners– they wanted piggy-back rides, to jump a rope or kick a ball.
PHOTO BY TEAM MEMBER STEVE

bonus blessings

  1. I love hospitality; cooking and eating together – in a kitchen, around a table – this time in a backyard next to a house being built, chickens on the run, cauldron-sized pots balanced over open fires, hand-demo instructions. A wonderful cooking camaraderie and shared experience with team members, Minerva, and her sister who’d travelled to come help: together serving those we care for by providing one of their basic needs. For the record this was the most flavourful meal I had the whole week!
MINERVA, FIRST-CLASS CHEF AND LADY OF THE NEW HOUSE
5-STAR RATING ON THIS BLEND FOR CHICKEN
REAL MEN HELP COOKI’VE NEVER SEEN THAT MUCH RICE IN A POT

2. I love watching baseball. Years ago my husband and I vacationed in the Dominican; a highlight was watching a game where some of the players were DR major league stars.

Crazy-fun, although got a little tense until we figured out the yelling in Español and many fists shaken in our direction was because we were cheering for the ‘wrong’ team in our section of the stadium. All was well after we switched allegiance!

This time a Dominican-Canadian slow pitch ball tournament was happening right across the street from our lodging. Not nearly as serious!

What great fun watching and cheering for whatever team we wanted to. Met Montreal ball-players in the stands waiting to play – whose game ultimately got bumped so many times, that sadly we weren’t able to watch them on the field.

3. I love going to church where worship music and the message exudes life, action and Joy! Exactly what we found at an evening service where our shuttle driver and his wife attend. The language was different, the songs were different, but the Spirit felt the same. Awesome.

After the minister finished speaking we stayed to hear women just back from a spiritual retreat share their testimonies. We understood few of the details, but a message was expressed from their hearts, through tears and hugs with a sense of peace: relationship with God and people had been restored. Is this not a message and need for all people in all cultures.

4. I love nature, palm trees on the Caribbean Ocean. SHM doesn’t have a facility for hosting teams: participants pay for their travel and accommodations. Ours was lovely….pools, buffets, clean rooms with air conditioners and showers to clean off construction dirt….the luxurious daily contrasts between those we went to serve and our privileged world. I found it hard, processing the disparity questions, daily jostling between these two worlds. I still do.

PHOTO BY TEAM MEMBER STEVE

This wraps it up. Would I do another mission-cation? Absolutely, in some form, somewhere. Would I encourage you or others to do one? Only if it is calling your name or heart, in this stage of your life – and if you’re undecided? Just stay open.

I do urge us all to help others feel better in their lives – be that a kind word, sponsoring a child, shuttle service for medical appointments, praying, defending someone’s name, supporting a fund-raiser, writing letters.

I hope you enjoyed these highlights of my trip. Would love to read your comments, hear your travel stories.

Love and Gratitude,

Karen

P.S. Want to work together discovering your next step for vibrant living? Contact me here for a free short chat.

2 Comments on “The Rest of My Dominican Republic Story

  1. I love your well-balanced attitude that is yet personal and passionate.

    Like

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