Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Knowing My Role

Hi Friends!

Well, I have now been here in the DR for over two weeks. We have completed one full outreach of the Bethel Team and Providence College. I am starting to feel more comfortable and am more aware of my role as an intern. At the base, we are helping out with little things such as locking up stuff at night, orchestrating games (my favorite thing to do), preparing breakfast on some mornings, and just trying to help out the staff in any ways we can. Here is a picture of the other interns. It has seriously been such a blessing to work with these guys.

Beyond my responsibilities as an intern at the base, I still work at the Physical Therapy site with Amy Green. Amy is an occupational therapist but she also wears the hat of physical therapist for the kids. It has been fun as the week has progressed because she has given me more responsibility especially in the physical therapy realm. While she works with some kids inside doing occupational therapy stuff to improve fine motor skills, I work outside with kids to improve gross motor skills. It is actually really fun. I never realized how simple motions such as jumping with two feet or running could serve so many purposes. I have gained so much respect for therapists. Here is a picture of Amy and one of the girls that we see during the week called Rosa. Rosa has a cleft palate and is mostly deaf and blind due mostly due to malnutrition and neglect as a baby. It is sometimes difficult for me to not get angry at the parents. Maybe its a good thing that my Spanish is not good enough for me to speak my mind. No, but for real, its so discouraging to know that despite the work and love that Amy pours into these kids, they are getting zero follow-up at home.

Well, that's about all for now. I am actually pretty sick. I have had pretty bad diarrhea for the past couple of days. I thought at first it was just me reacting weirdly to the food here (which it does often). But, day and night of it is not normal. So yeah, pray that this will just pass because I really have not been able to leave my bed. It's annoying because this new group is really awesome. They are really active and it was fun playing games with them yesterday. However, today since all food/energy is depleted from my body I am not really able to do much. Well, adios mis amigos!!! Dios te bendiga! (God bless you)

Friday, May 9, 2008


Here are some pictures of some of the kids we have been hanging out with. :) From left to right are Vanessa, Leonela, Rances, Henny, y Franklin. In the right are two of the teachers at the school. I have so much respect for them. I don't think I could do this job for real. There will be more later. Pero, necisito dormir!

Finding a Christlike Attitude

I am struggling to find the right attitude with these kids. Like I mentioned before, I have been working with special needs kids. I am not sure what a Christ-like attitude looks like. It is hard for me to explain. But I am going to try so that if anyone has any advice, I would love to hear it. Okay, so here it goes. I don't know if it is okay to pity and feel sorry for these kids. At the same time, is it okay to laugh when they do funny things? For example, today a boy named Jeremy has legs that are somewhat inverted so he has a hard time walking. Anyway, he got going too fast running down a hill and wiped out. Is it okay that we laughed? They are just kids and we laugh when "normal" kids do funny things. I am trying to process all this and I have not really quite come to a great conclusion. I think its okay to laugh and just enjoy being with them.

Besides that, I am started to feel a little less overwhelmed. I still am unsure why God has placed me at the physical therapy site. I feel that my passions are sports and education so at first I was a little be frustrated that I wasn't at any of these sites. However, I am realizing that I still may be able to incorporate these at my site. I still feel pretty inadequate. One of the toughest parts is trying understand what these kids are saying. These kids already slur their words and do not speak clearly. It's hard enough trying to translate their Spanish. For example, today a boy took about ten minutes to explain a game to me. I sat there clueless until finally he tapped me and said, "topa" which means tag!

Well so far, a week has gone by and I am so glad I am staying here for 9 more weeks. I have already learned so much Spanish and I have many opportunities to continue practicing. I still need prayer for courage because I am still intimidated to practice with other adult Spanish speakers. It is easier to practice with kids. But I know the only way for me to really improve is to practice. Today, Amy gave us some more freedom. Knox and I were in charge of physical therapy with the kids and I really liked that. I feel like I am gaining the essential vocab needed at the site (follow me, don't hit me, come here, look here). Tomorrow we have our excursion day. I am going with a lot of the Bethel people to go white water rafting. Tough life I know. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Learning how to serve

Well, this is my first official blog. I am currently serving as an intern for a missions organization called Students International. I am based in Dominican Republic in a city known as Jarabacoa. I hope to use this "blog" as way to share about my experiences. Plus, if I can figure it out... I hope to put up pictures as well. So here it goes!!! :)

My experience so far has been pretty easy going, which was a nice break since the last few weeks of school were crazy. The other interns are amazing. We made a "rules" video yesterday. My first appearance in film. If I can figure it out, I may try to see if I can post it here. It's pretty funny. The Bethel team is here now and I really have had a blast hanging out with them. Tonight we learned the Meringue!!! For the rest of the summer, I am going to be working at the Physical Therapy site. It is at a school for special needs children. I am really excited to work to with Amy Green (the woman in charge of PT and OT). She told me my resposibility is going to be doing more of the physical therapy side of stuff. I did not really understand when she told me this. She explained that physical therapy is helping them get to where they are going and occupational therapy (OT) is helping them do things when they get there. So, by doing PT, I will be doing different active things such as throwing/catching balls, making up obstacle courses, in order to use different muscle groups. I really do not have any idea what I am doing. But thats okay. I am excited to learn something new.

I have been learning a lot about what it means to really serve. One of the leaders gave a talk this morning about being a servant. She mentioned something by John Hayes from the book Submerge. I am not sure if this is the exact quote but I will give it my best shot. Hayes went on a missions trip to India. He said that he went to India to encounter poverty and he encountered poor people instead. I have found that I am guilty of approaching missions with that same original mindset. It is not about making memories, taking pictures or even feeling sorry for the people here. Instead, it is about relationships. I need to come not with the mentality of trying to make a difference, but to just love people. I need to learn their story instead of trying to create my own adventurous story. Gosh, this gets me excited that God has given me this opportunity to be here. I have learned so much already. Well, tomorrow is our first official day at our work sites. Hooray!