Flights back!

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So as Owen posted we are on flights back to the northwest. Madeya is staying in Santo Domingo for another month, so please continue to pray for her as she learns more Spanish and enjoys getting to learn even more about the culture of The Dominican Republic. Thank you so much for your prayers up to this point! Please continue to pray for our team as we process our trip and prepare to adjust back to life in America. Also pray for Shannon as she prepares for a trip to Guatemala with the nursing program later this summer in August. I (Lauren I.) am currently writing this from the Phoenix airport, while Shannon, Lauren F., and Rosemary are on a 6 and a half hour flight back from Miami to Seattle. We are excited to see family and friends and share many wonderful stories and quotes with you! Thanks for your time, thoughts, and prayers! 

Heading home soon

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Hello, friends!

After three weeks in the Dominican Republic, the team will return to the States Friday night.  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

Here’s flight information for those of you meeting students at the airport:

  • Lauren Frehner, Rosemary and Shannon return to Seattle at 12:15 AM on July 12 on American #1057.
  • Lauren Isham returns to Portland at 10:54 PM on July 11 on American #671.
  • Madeya will stay in DR for a month with the Hispaniola Language School.  She’ll return to Los Angeles on August 9 at 12:40 PM on American #299.

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and we’ll encourage them to keep meeting together to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account. 

You might appreciate this perspective on returning to America in a blog post from Emily Brown, a former SPRINTer who spent the past year in Zambia with the Mennonite Central Committee.  As Emily looks forward to her own return home she brings up a number of feelings that will also be relevant to SPRINTers in this season.  http://emilybrowntozambia.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-countdown-begins/

I’ve mailed team members a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you have time I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.  Take a look at some of those articles here: http://www.kristafoundation.org/index.cfm/page/the-global-citizen-journal-5/

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.

Owen Sallee

SPRINT Advisor

owen@spu.edu

More photos and an eventful weekend!

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So we finished up the week with files in Don Bosco, one of the batey communities. We were able to get quite a few done and felt like our Spanish has improved over time and working with people.

There are lots of animals present in the bateys, these ones were especially cute.

There are lots of animals present in the bateys, these ones were especially cute.

We had a trip northwest on Saturday to Enriquillo Lake and the Haitian border that took all day. We stoped at three different rivers and saw a lot of birds and iguanas around the lake. The dominicans we’ve been spending time with have told us a lot of the history between the two countries in addition to what we read in preparation for our trip.

At the Haitian border with some friends from COTN. There was a market in between the borders that had many goods for discounted prices not regulated by either government.

At the Haitian border with some friends from COTN. There was a market in between the borders that had many goods for discounted prices not regulated by either government.

While touring the lake we witnessed some old cave drawings on what used to be a coral reef. This coral shows how high the water of the lake was at one time.

While touring the lake we witnessed some old cave drawings on what used to be a coral reef. This coral shows how high the water of the lake was at one time.

This is a shot of Enriquillo Lake. Since the earthquake in 2011, the lake has started rising at an alarming rate.  This has displaced many people and disrupted agricultural sources of income, forcing people to relocate.

This is a shot of Enriquillo Lake. Since the earthquake in 2011, the lake has started rising at an alarming rate. This has displaced many people and disrupted agricultural sources of income, forcing people to relocate.

 

The Haitian flag and gate marking the border. There were Haitian trucks painted brightly that the Dominicans said you won't see anywhere in the DR.

The Haitian flag and gate marking the border. There were Haitian trucks painted brightly that the Dominicans said you won’t see anywhere in the DR.

Thanks for tracking our trip and for your continued prayer for our work this week! Tonight we are going to church in one of the bateys, Los Robles (which means the oaks), and then we’ll continue our work on health histories and teaching lessons. Look for more updates later this week! -Team DR

Day 5!

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These past 5 days in Barahona have been filled with so many new places and faces, seeing all the different bateys (there are 5) and meeting the people from those communities. Right now, it is hard for me to explain it all in words, it is a mix of so many things. It has been hard adjusting to everyone around me speaking spanish, in the Dominican Republic they speak SO FAST! I cannot keep up. As well, as getting used to what some friends at La Casa have called “Dominican Time”. Time moves a lot more slowly here, and it has been hard to know what to do with in between times. In the States we are so use to filling our free time with things to do or tasks accomplish. But in the DR, things happen when they happen, and its been a learning process getting used to being okay with just relaxing when waiting for lunch or when waiting to go out to the bateys. But besides that, I feel so thankful to be here, especially with my teammates who have been such a blessing to me. Continue to pray for me and my teammates, continue to pray for our host organization COTN, and especially continue to pray for the DR and the people of Barahona. Lastly to my friends and family in the States: I miss and love you all, see you in 2 weeks! – Lauren Frehner 

 

Hola! My time here in the Dominican Republic has been amazing! I have learned so much in just the few days that I have been here. The people here are so gracious whether it be in the bateys, in town, or at la casa. I have been so blessed to be here with the team and working with Children of the Nations in the bateys. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks to continue teaching and learning from the communities. -Rosemary Padilla

Hey friends and family! I’m so thankful for the time you’re taking to follow our trip’s blog. This time in the DR has been so great already; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the many people who help us out (our cooks, driver, host, “guardian” (security guard) and the office staff and translators). We’ve seen amazing things and witnessed the overwhelming love of God from our hosts. We’ve been fairly healthy and the food has been so good! It’s been helpful for us to journal and spend time together in the pool at the casa or just talking after our meals. I’m grateful for our opportunity to meet so many people and learn so much from the Dominican Culture. The bateys have been interesting and very educational about how Dominicans live. We has our first teaching experience yesterday in the poorest of the bateys and now have some strategies for next week. Please pray for our teaching, that it would be helpful and effective. We’re still working out the kinks of using a translator and bridging the language gap. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I’m excited that we’re still getting into our groove and still have almost two full weeks to keep refining our lessons. -Lauren Isham

iHola! Although we’ve only been in the Dominican Republic for five days, it seems like much longer. I am learning so much from the community and the people we have met so far- the generosity of our translators, drivers, and hosts is astounding.My Spanish is still not up to par, but smiles, jokes, and (as I’ve recently discovered) the popular Dominican game of dominos transcend all language barriers. I am beyond blessed to be in this beautiful place surrounded by kind, generous people, and I’m looking forward to teaching and learning alongside my teammates and the people of the bateys in the coming weeks. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts!   -Madeya Talmadge

Hola de Barahona, First of all, thank you for all of the prayers and thoughts! I think that we had a very smooth transition of coming into the DR because of them. The first couple of days were pretty relaxing and we were able to see 4 out of the 5 bateys as well as visit the beach! Yesterday was our first day of filling out health files for the children in Algodon as well as our first opportunity to teach about health based issues and their prevention within the batey. Much of this experience is even more of a learning experience for me in that the power of our teaching and its importance is going to come from God planting the information within those who are hearing it. Please pray for further humility in our team as well as God’s presence during the work we will be doing in the other bateys. We have met so many people here already and it has been so good to experience a much happier lifestyle here in the DR. I miss and love you all so much, but I will have many stories to tell once back in the States. Our next two weeks will fly by! – Shannon Campbell 

La Playa y los bateys!

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So since arriving we have seen a lot of things and found out more about what we will be doing. We’ve visited four of the five bateys and will be visiting the fifth one tomorrow. We had a meeting with the head nurse today and discussed what we will be teaching about in the coming weeks. We have a schedule including topics of preventing fungus, scabies, chickagunya virus, stomach bugs, and teaching nutrition to the students in COTN’s I Love Baseball program. We’re excited but nervous to be speaking in front of people about such important information. Yesterday we also went to one of the most scenic beaches in Barahona call San Rafael. We enjoyed playing in the waves and the river next to the beach. ImageThis is the view from one of the schools overlooking the batey called Pueblo Nuevo. We visited the schools in each batey and saw how COTN is at work in each community. ImageThis is a picture from San Rafael, the water was so warm compared to the Pacific that we are used to! Thank you for your continued prayer and support, tomorrow will be our first day teaching in the bateys, so please keep us in your thoughts. -Team DR 

Estamos Aqui!

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We’ve safely arrived in Barahona, after a flight to Santo Domingo that got in this morning. We enjoyed the drive to the casa and had a great dinner. Tomorrow we start touring the villages and getting a better understanding of what we’ll be doing. We are thankful for all the prayers for our travelling. We are tired from our delayed overnight flight, but excited for what tomorrow holds. -Team DR