Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is spent with family.  However, my family is very far away this year.  I was blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my Doulos family at a giant Thanksgiving Dinner.  Over 100 people- teachers, staff, and their families- went to the school for dinner. 

We had the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even a green bean casserole.  We also had a non-traditional roasted pig.  Everyone had to bring a dish with them (side dish or dessert).  The Dominicans brought typical Dominican food- rice, beans, yuca, etc. 

With such a variety of choices besides what I am used to for Thanksgiving and being separated away from my family, it didn't feel like Thanksgiving to me.  So, I decided to cook my own traditional Thanksgiving Dinner the next day- the same as I would have had if I was in my house in Ohio.

Since turkey is very expensive here and impossible to find in town (you have to drive into the city to buy it), I decided to make chicken instead.  Besides, I like chicken better than turkey anyway!  I made homemade stuffing just like we make at home.  My little chicken came out very good.

Now it was time to make the side dishes.  Mashed potatoes and corn are easy.  Sweet potatoes, however, are a little harder.  I went to the veggie market and bought a few sweet potatoes, or the closest thing they have to sweet potatoes.  When I bought them they were caked with dirt.  After I scrubbed them off, I discovered that the skins were bright purple!

When I cut them up, they were white on the inside.  Now, I know for most people- especially here- that wouldn't be a problem.  But for me, SWEET POTATOES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ORANGE!!  So, I cut them up and boiled them like mashed potatoes, but while they were boiling, I added red and yellow food coloring and turned them orange!

After it was all cooked, I was able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner- Ohio style! (Notice the orange sweet potatoes on the right side- covered with marshmellows!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some things that have happened since the last time I posted...

I know, I am a horrible blogger.  I do not blog very often.  The reason for this is that most of what I want to say gets said in an weekly email that I mail out to everyone who has requested frequent updates about my ministry here in the Dominican Republic.  If you would like to receive these emails, please leave me a message here or at my email, include your email address and I will add you to the list.

A lot has happened since the last time I updated my blog.  I am going to attempt to tell some of it with pictures...

Every other Friday at Doulos, the school has an event called Revolution.  The students get out of class 40 minutes early and get to attend a fun assembly full of games, contests, music, dancing, and sometimes a Biblical life lesson.  As you can see, the staff get involved with Revolution just as much as the students do!

Every time it rains moderately or more, we lose water at our house.  The water is turned off by the city to keep the debris from the river from clogging the water filtration system.  When the water comes on, depending on how long it was off, our water can often be various colors of yellow or brown with a sometimes nasty smell.  This was our water one day- yellow brown and smelling like rotten eggs!  No, we do not drink this, but we do pour this into our water filter to drink.  We also have to wash our dishes, do laundry, and shower in this water.  Yuck!!

Our neighbor had gotten a new little puppy that quickly became a good friend of Petra's.  His name was Rocky.  While he doesn't look it in the picture, he was much smaller than Petra.  Unfortunately, he got out of his front gate and was hit by a car and died.  Even though Petra only knew him for about 3 weeks, I think she misses him.

Here in Jarabacoa, the cemetery does not bury people; they have above ground vault tombs that are stacked on top of each other.  When a person dies, the family "rents" the tomb for a certain period of time.  When that time is over, the dead person is removed or "evicted" and a new dead person is put there.  This coffin looks old, like the person died a long time ago.  However, they were still evicted from their "final" resting place and their coffin placed in the trash (the body was removed... I think!)

One of the major recent changes in my life here was the purchase of a vehicle- a 1999 Chevy Blazer.  This was a gift from God.  I had been needing a vehicle in order to do some of the ministry work I have been trying to do, and God provided this for me.  What a blessing it is to be able to get to places that I have not been able to get to independently.  I am now a part time taxi driver (pro bono) for various missionaries and have also put the vehicle to work in the various ministries I am working in.  God is Good!

Packages from home are always a welcome treat, especially when it includes homemade cookies from Mom!  Mail comes every other Wednesday for us.  It is always a lot of fun to get letters, cards, and packages.  As you can see, cookies can travel amazingly well!

Since I now have my car, I have begun working at Centro Especial Genesis.  This is the only Special Education school in this area.  While it is a special education school, they unfortunately do not have anyone working there who has actually been trained in special ed.  I will be working with some of the teachers, helping train them in how to best teach children with special needs.  I am also evaluating some of the students so that the teachers can know their strengths and weaknesses and know how best to teach them.

A part of WyldLife is a small group Bible study called Campaigners that meets every 2 weeks to dive deeper into the Bible and learn more about Jesus and how God wants us to live.  Rachel, my co-leader and I decided to have a fun get-together with our Campaigners group for dinner and tie dying in preparation for one of our WyldLife Club meetings.  The kids had a blast- most of them had never tie dyed before!  Even petra had a blast having new people around and amazingly she did not get tie dyed!!

This past week was a milestone in Petra's life.  She lost her first baby tooth.  Her new tooth is already starting to come in, but here is Petra showing off her new hole where a tooth used to be!

Every now and then, a group of people like to get out of town and head into the city for a little taste of home.  This past weekend, a group of 11 of us drove into Santiago to go to T.G.I.Fridays.  It was wonderful having a little American food from a real American restaurant.  The food titles on the menu were even in English!

After dinner at Friday's, we headed over to the bowling alley for a game of bowling.  Bowling is the same here as it is in the States, except for the occasional 3rd turn in a frame that you get when the lane doesn't reset!

This is about all for right now.  I will try to post more, but I cannot make any promises.  If you want weekly updates, sign up for the weekly "Picture of the Week" email.  You will not be disappointed!