Last week, one of our professors from Bethel came down and we had a ministry class at the base. It was nice to see the other students so much again. And we had an awesome snack every day! However, I’m beginning to wish I didn’t have all of the sugar … I have to run a lot more to work it off than I used to!
Friday night, Dennisse and I spent the night in Hato Viejo with two of our friends (also Bethel students). It was the birthday of one of our Dominican friends, so we spent the afternoon with her, eating cake and catching up. Dennisse and I also visited our first family for a little while. After an awesome supper of Dominican style spaghetti, we gave each other facemasks and then made a fun little music video (while we were wearing our facemasks). It started to get late, so the mom of the house came into the bedroom to tell us we needed to be a little bit quieter. She wasn’t expecting to see four snow white faces. After her little scream, she hid her face and tried not to laugh too hard at us, but we didn’t mind because we were already laughing pretty hard at ourselves. We eventually washed our faces off and started a movie. Our hosts fell asleep before we did, so Dennisse and I decided to turn the movie off and try to get some sleep. We failed in the last endeavor. Three of us were in one bed and Dennisse and I were trying to share one tiny blanket. She got it for the first half of the night, which meant that I didn’t sleep much for several hours. Eventually, she somehow figured out that Kirstin was wrapped up in a huge blanket all by herself, so Dennisse took some of hers and gave me the other blanket. It was a fun time. But seriously, it really was. We laughed a lot and got to be American girls for a night.
The next morning, after having leftover birthday cake for breakfast, we walked to the base and headed out for our excursion. We hiked up a river for three hours. I’m using the word “hiked” very broadly here. We did a lot of slipping on big rocks, swimming against the current, staggering through the middle of the river, clinging to big rocks with the tips of our fingers so we wouldn’t get pulled away. The boys also did a lot of pulling girls to safety. We eventually got to the waterfall we were supposed to see only to find out that there really wasn’t a place to sit or do anything by it. We decided to turn around and go back to a sunny spot for lunch. Luckily, we had packed our lunches in plastic bags; they were the only things in our backpacks that weren’t soaked. We made it back down the river in an hour and a half, half the time it took us to reach the waterfall. It’s amazing what traveling with the current can do. I don’t think anybody walked away from this excursion without at least one cut and one bruise. Personally, I have more cuts that I can count and two huge bruises. Another girl and I found out that if you brush up against a particular plant, it will leave little slivers in your skin that are really hard to pull out. Luckily, they didn’t hurt too much.
The church here in Mata Gorda is a lot different than La Vid, the one I went to in Hato Viejo. As I understand it, the church has had some disagreements among its members and the groups they work with. As a result, the congregation now consists of about seven adults and twenty kids (all under the age of eleven). Our pastor is currently in Africa, doing mission work. We’ve had guest speakers every Sunday I’ve been here. I think the pastor and his family will be moving to Africa within the next year to be full time missionaries. When that happens, I have a feeling the church will die out, which is very sad because they have an awesome children’s ministry going on in this community.
We didn’t have school on Monday because of some national holiday. Dennisse and I decided to run to our friends’ house in the next town. As we were running, it started to pour down rain. After about an hour, it hadn’t really let up, so we decided to just head home. It only took us about five minutes to be completely drenched. The people in our town had a good time laughing at us gringas running in the rain. It rained for the rest of the day, so we didn’t do much … we had hot chocolate, slept, ate, played Nintendo with our little brothers, had more hot chocolate, and then went to bed.
This week at the school has been a lot of fun for me. Katie, the teacher I’m working with, put me in charge of three different subjects for each week. I like having something to plan for and something definite to do while I’m in the class. This was my first Friday actually being at the school (I spent last Saturday at the base for the ministry class and the Saturday before that at the clinic with Dennisse). Fridays are gym days … after the devotion/singing time, we took a walk through the neighborhood and then had our snack. After recess, we made finger puppets. The kids loved them.