Once again, we woke up with the crows of the roosters. The first thing we did on today’s schedule was drive 45 minutes to Santo Domingo. Personally, I love the drives and think that many people agree. It’s not everyday that you get to drive along the coast and look at the ocean in a foreign country. Once we got to Santo Domingo, we went to the Straw Market. Clearly standing out from the locals, we were attacked by sellers as soon as we stepped foot off of our bus. We spent about an hour attempting to bargain our way through the shops (some bargaining better than others). After the market, Hector, our translator that’s been with us all week, showed us around Santo Domingo. We went to the chocolate museum and tried cocoa tea, cinnamon hot chocolate, pure cocoa, and a variety of Dominican chocolates! After we got our fill of free samples, we walked towards the older part of the city. We saw the first church of the New World, the Christopher Columbus statue, and other native monuments. It truly is a beautiful city.
After we ate lunch at Score, we went back to Pasitos de Jesus. It was even better this time because we had already met the girls and had relationships developed. I talked to a girl named Kambell for the majority of our time there. She is 19 and in medical school to become a doctor. I asked her why she wants to be a doctor and she said “because they give life and Jesus gives me life.” She’s the sweetest girl I’ve met and I wish I had more time with her! In order to pay for her textbooks, she sells bracelets and souvenirs to visitors who stop by the orphanage. She also told me that she learned English by using an app on her phone. That’s it! I am amazed by her perseverance and courage. All of the younger girls look up to Kambell as she very much runs the place.
Me, Brooklin, Audrey, Sami, Baylee, Bailey, Alicia, and Hayley put on a skit for the girls of Pasitos. Through humor, we pretended to have different roles and different careers. We explained how we all have obtainable dreams if we put our trust in God and work really hard. A lot of women get pushed aside in the Dominican. Nobody tells them their worth or empowers them to dream big. Hence, the great number of prostitution. At the end, we all gathered together and Cheyenne prayed us out, followed by a prayer by one of the older Pasitos girls. It was so incredible to be a part of two groups/cultures of women praying over one another.
We said our goodbyes and headed back to Score for dinner – taco night!! Everyone was excited for tonight. Not because of the tacos, but the conversations that was going to happen after. We gathered around the pool and reflected over the day. We continued to discuss our purpose for being here and how we have been impacted more than we ever imagined. Jacob talked about the impact of mission trips and why he chooses to come to Score as often as he can. He also reminded us that though we are 1,600 miles from home, to not neglect the reason we are here to impact one another on the team. The next 4 hours were sweet conversations of getting to know one another better, and getting to know Jesus better. Like I said last night, this is the church. This is what community is supposed to look like. I’m so thankful for the new relationships I’ve met in the Dominican, but I’m even more thankful for how my current relationships have grown.
Tomorrow morning we are waking up early to walk to the beach and see the sunrise!
Prayer: that our last day be filled with awe and wonder, that we fully embrace what’s left for us in the DR, and that we are sensitive to what God is saying at the handicap orphanage.