Today we all woke up to the news that the electricity in the parish center had gone out. Shortly thereafter, we lost our water as well. Fortunately, we were still able to run the camp for the children of the parish this morning. The first day of camp was a success and we all had fun! We had four groups of children rotating through four 40-minute sessions: dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, and sports.
In my group, the dance group, my morning started out a bit rough – during a break, a little girl came right up to me and asked me why I couldn’t dance. I felt pretty self-conscious after that, but I regained confidence throughout the morning, and enjoyed myself all in all. Roy, one of the Dominican teens helping us, is hilarious and a great dancer. He has several years of experience working in this camp, and working with him is going smoothly.
Another highlight of the day was that after dinner, several of us went to play volleyball with some of the Dominican teens. They are competitive but like to laugh and joke often. We played for well over an hour before heading back to the parish compound to prepare for camp tomorrow and get ready for bed.
All in all, I am really happy to be here at last. I had planned to go on this mission trip last year, but it was cancelled due to the Zika outbreak, and my group went to Dayton, OH instead. This trip is similar to the Dayton trip in that we are working with children, but otherwise the experiences are quite different. Here I feel more integrated into the community because I am interacting not only with children, but also with the parish teens. I love being able to socialize with them during our free time. This trip is focused on being with people far more than on accomplishing a task. In Dayton, a big part of our job was to paint a hallway in the school where we were working. Our time was divided between working with children and painting, and there was less opportunity to interact with people in the community. Another major difference is our way of life – here we cannot count on having electricity, and we will probably be without water for the next three days.
On both mission trips I have been on, I have loved the sense of community within the groups I have been a part of, as well as forming relationships with those we meet. On that note, I would like to introduce you to my friend Frankie, a dog that lives in the parish compound. He broke some limbs and his jaw in a car accident, so he lurches around everywhere drooling. (Frankie is short for Frankenstein, one of the teens told me.) Despite his initially frightening appearance, he is sweet and loves to cuddle. I’m having a great time with him – and all my other new friends of course!