Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The End and Beginning

About a year ago I was discovering that a place called Doulos existed and needed a high school social studies teacher.  Here and now I have been here for the better part of 9 months.  After that much time in a place you generally develop some rhythm to life, and my time here has been no different.  There are certain days I go to the gym, certain things I do when I get to school everyday, certain places I enjoy on the weekends, all of this creating somewhat of a comfort zone.  A large part of my routine is rooted in what is happening at school and until recently it had a wonderful rhythm about it.  In the last couple weeks leading up to our Expedition Night and even continuing through now things went a little haywire.  Life has still been good, it just has felt a little more reckless.  The combination of missing school a few days to do some school trips with the students got us a little off track but we returned and started to get back in the rhythm only for everything to be blown apart the next week.  Part of this was do to the fact I had some wonderful friends visit, which was a lot of fun and a blessing to have them here.  This was the first time I had taken any days off and I took 2 off for it.  Expedition Day/Night also causes everything to be stirred up.  We then returned to school this week for two days before having standardized testing for 3 days.  All of this has been fine and it has been good for the most part but I am ready to return to the rhythm of day to day life.  I know times like these work for a reason and are generally good to get us out of bad habit, but I am ready for consistency.
The students that I worked with on their project was the 10th grade class.  The result of it is an attempt at bettering their community here in Jarabacoa by empowering them through knowledge and showing them the Love of Christ.  If you want to see some of what they have been doing visit the Deja Una Marca Facebook friend page or fan page and connect to any of their other links from their.
Some fun pictures have been taken out of the whirlwind of activity the last few weeks, so here ya go.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Expeditions, Friends, and Mountains

This weekend Ven and Michal Smith came to visit Jarabacoa and we had the opportunity to do a lot of fun adventuring.  We wen to a couple local waterfalls, hung out at Spirit Mountain for a day/night, and did some adventuring on motorcycles.  It was a fun time here in town and they have since made it safely to the beach.
Tomorrow is Expedition Day/Night, and it will be a wild one.  Expedition night is culmination of work that different class have been doing and are now sharing with the community.  It can be really fun, but it can also be a bit stressful for some.  My class is in a really good place right now and I am excited to wrap up all we have been working towards.  The reward for me will be a trip to the beach to catch up with Ven and Michal.
Recently myself and a friend (Daniel Gutierrez) have been attacking the local mountains to get some elevation and miles under our legs for our attempt on Pico in a few weekends.  Its fun to see how your muscles react to increased exertion.  Things that once were really difficult and energy sapping now are relaxed and easy.
Watching the students' videos (mustaches are so yesterday).

Students working on Expedition stuff. 
 This is what a our current schedule has become.
 One of the trails up at Spirit Mountain.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Revolutionary Leaders Expedition!

This semester I have had the opportunity to lead an Expedition with the Sophomore class on Revolutionary Leaders.  We have looked at all sorts of leaders throughout the last couple hundred years and used the Sermon on the Mount to see who really is a "good" leader.  From Mao Zedong to Mother Theresa the students assessed all sorts of different leaders to see what it is like to be revolutionary leader in a Biblical way.
Over the last few weeks we have had some really neat opportunities to further that learning both with an Expert guest and with some field work.  Our guest which I think I have mentioned before was Shane Claiborne.  The conversation that we had with Shane revolved around the idea of what we could do to make positive/revolutionary changes within our community hear in Jarabacoa.  I think the thing that shocked the students and myself the most was how much he stressed internal change within our own lives before we can ever look to help anyone else.  The idea of taking the log out of your own eye before trying to take a splinter out of your neighbors eye.
The conversation with Shane was followed up by trips to New Hope Girls Academy and The Ark.  Both of these trips were based around the idea of seeing revolution in work and giving them our service however we can.  At New Hope we met the girls that were learning and living there and heard all about the ministry to one of the poorest barrios in the Dominican Republic.  The students also had the opportunity to serve by interviewing and translating their interviews so that the girls can communicate with New Hope donors in the States.  The last thing we saw at New Hope was their workshop where they make really cool bags and flip flops.  This workshop employs 7 women and allows them to provide for their families.  The trip to New Hope was a really cool experience.  The day after we went to New Hope we found ourselves at the Ark.  The Ark is a orphanage here in Jarabacoa.  The revolutionary thing about the Ark is that they have around 10 houses and in each house there is a set of parents that have their own kids.  This existing family becomes the family of the orphans that end up in the Ark.  A normal house their has a mother and father and around 10 kids living in it.  As much as I could talk about both of these experiences more, I hope the pictures do a better job.
Playing with the Girls at New Hope
 Joel and New Hope Girls
 The view from New Hope
 More playing at New Hope
 After the Interviews were done balloons came out of nowhere.
 The way up to New Hope
 Cleaning gutters at the Ark
 At the New Hope workshop
 Class pic at New Hope
 Raking Leaves at the Ark
 Moving cinder blocks at the Ark