Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer 2011 - Light and Darkness

Finally! Electricity! We were without it since last Monday morning until we arrived at the beach yesterday. Apparently someone cut a wire while doing construction. The neighbors on our street got together and fixed it and we had a few hours of fan on Wed night. Just enough to tease us. I'm sure the "fix" is Dominican style and we may all blow up next week:) happy.

When I am THAT hot, it is so hard to even think. I wanted to read but I couldn't. All I could think of was "I'm so hot. Please let me sleep so I won't feel the heat". I see the women crouching over an open flame and a boiling pot, cooking their one meal of the day and I don't know how they do it. There is no glass on the windows here and everyone sits outside talking until late at night...and I understand why. It is too hot to go inside and lie sweating in the bed where there is no breeze. So you might as well be hanging with the peeps in the neighborhood and solving the problems of the world. It's good therapy. Even the dogs have loud heated discussions in the middle of the night.

We are at the beach right now. This is how God confuses us. He places this extreme poverty and suffering on this beautiful tropical island and you don't know whether to laugh or cry. To exclaim at the beauty or cry out at the ugliness. Today I am in awe at the breeze from the sea, the turquoise color of the water, REAL ORCHIDS growing on the trunks of the palm trees (will take pics for you), tropical colors everywhere. (I was reminded briefly of where I was as a rat ran thru the dining room - twice - last night!). This island is filled with such beauty and signs of God's love for us. I imagine Eden to be something like this (without the rats).

And then we are assaulted with the other side of this beautiful island. The barrios and bateys filled with people who cannot find work, who live in shacks where the water runs in every time it rains, where the children are covered with sores that are covered with flies and there is limited healthcare. Where they forgot to turn on the water to the community for a week and they walk for blocks carrying buckets of water from the one pump. Where the garbage has piled up for a month and now they are burning it and the black smoke fills the air with particles of melted plastic and Styrofoam. (The dying animals have consumed everything that is edible off of the garbage piles). Where you have to watch to not trip over the skinny, stumbling animals who do not even have the strength to bark or meow. Where I am daily confronted with someone saying "Please, Cindy, help us make more dolls or jewelry so we can make some money. There is nothing else for us to do". And I lie awake at night thinking about how I can sell more dolls, more jewelry.

The ugly, the beautiful. The dark, the light. The grieving, the celebrations. The laughter, the tears. every day is filled with some of both. Every person is filled with both gifts and shadows. It is life and God is present in all of it. We embrace it all and share the planet with these people in the darkness. Our light is dimmed because of their darkness. And our joy is multiplied when they smile.

I leave you with joyful moments in the dark Batey--2 beautiful young girls, Juana is 12, Milagros is 13-they have made their first sock dolls as apprentices. They are the next generation. (And they did an awesome job - they were so proud!) . The dolls even have arms and eyes!

Tuesday we will have a big Fiesta in the St. Luke Center for all the 5 yr old children who are "graduating" from the Healthy Children (Ninos Sanos) Program. Their mothers consistently brought them for "well child" checks and invested n the health of their children. (This is the program we work
with in the summer with the Canadian group). We will have cake and soda for the party (Not healthy, but it is a celebration!!) and they will receive certificates and be called up to get it, each one receiving big applause. (Will send pics!)

Thank you for your support for these people. For not forgetting them. For keeping them in your prayers and for working for peace, justice and love for all wherever you are.

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