One word, culture shock! Today was absolutely crazy and awe inspiring. It all started out at 3am when I woke up and realized that today was the day I was going to the Dominican Republic. My friend Melina shared in my excitement during that early point in the morning because she had been sleeping over. I feel like this day has been years in the making and it’s an amazing feeling to actually be here in the Dominican Republic! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. That morning, I was filled with a peace that I couldn’t explain. I got off to the airport with no trouble at all. In fact, on the plane I had the best seating arrangements: my mentor( Mama K), and my really good friend( Julie). It was a smooth flight, long, but good! It felt kind of long for a flight just because I was so excited to get there! As soon as the doors to the airplane opened, I was greeted with a fresh, fragrant scent( something like a greenhouse) and a temperature of 80 degrees. The customs went fast and soon we were on a bus to travel an hour to our compound.
The landscape was much different than I had expected. The forest is dense and made up of very interesting mesh of green and leafy plants dotted with yellow flowers, as well as Palm trees, and brush. As I looked out the window of our bus, I saw the most interesting dichotomy. For a split second, I would see brightly colored edifices with beautiful architecture, and another second later, I would see scantily built shacks. The poverty in Dominican Republic is similar to that in Pittsburgh, but more blatantly obvious to the human eye and more severe because it is a third world country. The rich and the poor so obviously living together was much different than Pittsburgh, where one has to look for the poor or go to a certain area for it to be obvious. But despite the poverty, the Dominican was very beautiful; not only the landscape, but also the culture.
After driving for a bit, we came to the building site for Pastor Tony’s church. There were some bricks laid, nothing fancy, but it was a start. After stopping at the construction zone, we went on to drive a few more miles to our beautiful compound. In the compound is two bunk houses-the pink one for the girls, and the blue one for the boys-, a large pavilion where we will eat breakfast every day, a basketball court, a small swimming pool, a chapel where most mornings we will have our morning devotional, and really lovely grounds to walk about.
Looking forward to sharing more with you tomorrow as I continue to grow closer to the Lord, lose my pride, and learn to how to get along with multiple personalities.
Dios te Bendiga!