5 to 6 hours of power

The power has been extremely bad lately..... here's a few excerpts from an article in yesterday's local newspaper. ..............
The 18-hour blackouts are punishing the country, making everyone uncomfortable. The business community says it can't take it anymore, and in the streets, some people get angry when asked about the situation. There are reports of blackouts lasting for up to 18 hours from the capital to the greater part of the Cibao. Owners of mini-markets, supermarkets, cafeterias and butcher shops all say that their products go bad as a result of the blackouts, because they do not have emergency generators. Sales are down as well as people don't want to buy warm beverages.


A Little Stateside Vacation

During the past two weeks I've seen a bit of Vancouver B.C. (what a beautiful city!), gone berry picking, gone on a 6 hour train ride, had some great meals, visited family in Portland, gone on a backpacking trip to Burnt lake, had one fundraising gathering, gone shopping, and ...... I'm sure I'm forgetting something great...... hmm..... been able to relax and catch up on sleep!

Here's a few pictures from our backpacking trip.
View of Mt. Hood from Burnt Lake in the evening.

Wendy and I after we packed up from our camping spot at Burnt Lake. We still can't figure out why our bags were so big and so heavy being that we packed the very minimal.

View of Mt. Hood from Zig Zag Mountain. Such an amazing view!


Fimo Fun

I’ve been experimenting with the idea of making and selling jewelry as a way to get more of an income. Here’s a little description of how I make it.
First I make a basic drawing of what I want to make, pick out all the needed colors of Fimo clay, and soften it by hand.
Then I make the clay into different shapes needed to make flowers, grass, trees, etc.
And start putting all the pieces together like a big 3-D, cylinder shaped puzzle.
I rarely do the whole design in one day, as it can take up to 30 hours, but add to the design little by little.
Until finally it’s all put together!
Then I carefully role it down aiming to lose as little as possible on the ends. Once the ends are cut off I’m left with a cane of Fimo clay that has the same design all the way from front to back.

Then I slice the Fimo cane, cook it in the oven, drill a hole in each piece, sand it, buff it, cover it with a special varnish, then wrap sterling silver wire around it and put it on a silver chain. (Or glue the piece onto a magnet for the refrigerator).

I presently have about 14 different designs, mostly mountain scenes and floral designs. I also make them into earrings, bracelets, and more.

Barrio realities

The other day a 12 year old girl was visiting me while I was doing my first ever batiking project (involves dying fabric and using wax to make designs). When she left my cell phone was gone. Being that I knew she’d taken it Bau and I went to find her and hopefully it before it got sold or something like that. Now in all my (almost) 8 years in this country I haven’t had many things stolen. I generally feel that the barrio is a very safe place and feel that people are generally very good hearted, especially if they feel you’re doing good things in their community. Yet at the same time I know stealing can be a temptation for anybody, so it didn’t really shock me. We walked around half the barrio and couldn’t find her, but we did talk to an ex-gang leader who said he’d talk to his friends and see if anyone had bought it from her or anything like that. Then I headed back to my house alone and happened to pass by her. I talked to her for a bit, asked for my cell phone and stuff like that. Then a little bit later Bau went and talked to her and got my cell phone back.

I’m happy that I got my cell phone back but even if it hadn’t I’m kind of glad this happened. I hear lots rumors about some of the young girls in the barrio but lots of times I don’t believe them, I like believing those things aren’t true. Yet I can’t ignore the realities youth face in the barrio; tempted to use drugs, to sleep around, to steal, etc. It was a good reminder that I need to spend more time with people….. with young girls encouraging them in Christ, with their mom’s encouraging them in the Lord and encouraging to love their daughters, and with other believers encouraging them to reach out to the youth and those around them.

More Light in the Barrio

Bau came over the other day and told me that he just got free light bulbs….. it seemed strange but a few minutes later a few guys dressed in red and yellow showed up at my door with a little later and lots of light bulbs. They took out all my light bulbs, smashed them and traded them for more efficient energy saving light bulbs. They went to every house in the barrio doing the same. I didn’t think much of it until that evening when the street power came on after being off most of the day and all of a sudden our barrio was much brighter than I’d ever seen it. These new light bulbs are great, energy saving and very bright! Unfortunately though since that time the amount of street power we’ve been receiving has been very little. I guess there’s a new person in charge of electricity in La Vega, he’s the one who had the idea to give away the new light bulbs. That was a good idea, but it also seems like he’s decided to only turn on our street power a few hours a day now. During the past week we’ve been lucky to get 8 hours of electricity during a 24 hour period, and there’s rarely get enough at one time to make the refrigerators cold or to charge inverters fully.


A little Vacation

I just got back from the quickest trip to the states I’ve ever gone on. (Actually I’ve been back for over a week now but just got around to writing about it). I went to Surfside, South Carolina for 5 days, including the two full days of travel. “Why?” you might ask. Well, you see, I have some friends there who wanted to give me a little break…. So they flew me over, put me up in their lovely guest room, took me shopping, took me to a bunch of parties with lots of food, and fed me lots of good stuff. Thanks to the McQuiddy’s for their generosity.
A popular Marshy hang-out spot with lots of restaurants, live bands, and a veiw of Myrtle Beach.
Barb McQuiddy with her daughter and grandbaby.

My last morning there I packed up, left their house by 4:45am, flew to Atlanta where I got some tasty airport food (I went for Multigrain bagels and Seattle’s Best coffee), then off to Santo Domingo, DR. I was met by Darin, Jennifer and Baby Mia …. Great company for the long trip home. Little did any of us know that our 3 hour trip home would become an 8 hour trip home. Yeah, that’s right, the jeep broke down right next to a gas station. After two hours of about 14 Dominican guys trying to fix things we decided to have a tow truck friend pick us up. So a few hours later after trying to get out of paying lots of money to all the people that supposedly worked very hard trying to fix the jeep, the tow truck picked us up and I got to ride back to La Vega in the jeep, on top of a flat bed truck. I felt like I was in a boat which made me a little queasy, and the flashing light from the top of the two truck only made it a bit worse…. So I put the seat back and kept my eyes closed and made it back to La Vega about 11pm without losing my lunch. Definitely something I won’t forget.


A great day in Cabarrete

When I need a day away one of my favorite places to go in this country is Cabarrete. It’s a small beach town about 2 ½ hours away, with lots of good restaurants, a fairly quiet beach, and a nice French bakery that makes the best whole wheat bread in the Dominican Republic. I went there for a day a few weeks ago and now that I’m feeling a bit stressed with all the short term mission teams it’s nice to just reminisce a bit. These pictures are calming.


The lovely Travesia

I was just going through some photos I've taken over the past few weeks and was reminded of how much I love the Travesia. Though the hike is always incredibly hard I’m never disappointed when I make it to the top. The view is beautiful, the people are so hospitable and loving, the kids never stop giving me hugs, there’s always fresh coffee that was grown there, handpicked, roasted and ground by hand, and so much more.


The pole in front of my door

I now have a giant cement pole just 7 feet in front of my door. I argued with the engineers in charge of fixing the electricity in the barrio in hopes of getting them to place it to the side of my house….. but they only moved the hole three inches to the right. I am glad that the ten foot hole is gone after I almost fell into it a number of times, but it’s going to take me a long time to get used to this 100 ft. monstrosity.


Was it really a tornado?

I’m not sure if any of you have heard, but a tornado went through La Vega yesterday. Here’s an article from today’s newspaper telling about the storm.

Tornadoes hit three provinces
At least one death was reported and several people were wounded as tornadoes struck La Vega, Santiago and San Pedro de Macoris yesterday afternoon. The Dominican Republic does not have a tornado warning system because they are such a rare occurrence. The only reported fatality, Mercedes Torres, 62, died while being treated for her injuries after being crushed and trapped by a collapsing wall in her home. Four others were slightly injured by the storm that hit La Vega at 2:40 in the afternoon with high winds, hailstones and heavy rain. In Villa Gonzalez, Santiago and San Pedro de Macoris, the strong winds tore roofing materials off several houses. Reports also filtered in from San Francisco de Macoris telling of more dwellings damaged. Luis Luna Paulino, the chief of the Dominican Civil Defense told El Nuevo Diario reporters that, so far, only one fatality has been reported.

I was to be at the coast when the Tornado hit, soaking up the sun and watching the group I was with play in the waves. I never ever would have guessed that back in La Vega my friends were getting pelted with large hailstones inside their homes, that Obed and Rosmary’s entire roof got torn off their house (the third floor of the building complex I live in), that half of the schools’ third floor roof blew off, or that other friend’s lost their roofs as well. I still can’t imagine it all happening even though I’ve seen the after effects. Please pray for those who lost their roofs, homes, and valuables that their needs will be provided for. And praise God with us that He kept so many people safe. Here’s a picture of Obed and Rosmary’s house….. as you can see the roof came completely off. Rosmary and Zion were in the house when it happened and were fortunately able to get over to their neighbors house safely. Here's a picture of the railing the tin roofing knocked over as it blew off before landing on the community center and walkway below it.
If you look closely at the TEARS school you can see where the roofing is now nonexistent.


Free Salami Anyone?

Elections are just a month away so the candidates are getting busy trying to win the hearts of the people. The political party presently in power (PLD) sent trucks full of food to all the barrios in La Vega this morning. People were lined up to get bags full of things like rice, oil, sugar, and seasonings hours before the truck actually arrived in their barrio.
Then in the afternoon a competing candidate (of PRSC) stirred up quite a commotion in our barrio, landing in the field behind my house in his private helicopter, and handing out such things as hats, mosquito nets, baby baskets, and salami. After throwing salami at a number of people and fights started to break out he slowly headed out of the barrio with a caravan of trucks on to other areas of La Vega.


Ode to Photo Class

About 6 of us from the barrio had the opportunity to learn how to take good pictures and go on some fun photography adventures during that past four month thanks to Darin Dueck. Thought I’d put a few of my photos here to share with all of you.

Photo Class, Photo Class, what can I say

Late afternoon is my favorite time of dayTo take pictures of people,Injustice,
And those who pray
I didn’t win the alphabet scavenger hunt, but that’s ok
At least I got to take cool pictures of people like Fey.


a little bit of soccer

One of my favorite things to do each week is play a little bit of soccer with the teenage girls Obed just started a team for. Though some of my friends in England nicknamed me Maddog for my aggressive soccer skills I’m humbled to say that I’m right at the same level of all these young first time players. It’s fun though to get out on the field, be a little crazy and do my best to get the girls excited about playing sports. After the first practice all the girls came over to my house so I could show them how I make Fimo necklaces, which then turned into a planning meeting for a slumber party they were going to have at my house. We decided to wait till the summer to do the slumber party but did have a fun pizza party instead. Please pray for Obed as he continues to work hard to use these soccer teams as a way to share the gospel with people throughout the barrio, and for me that God will use the relationships I’m forming with these girls for His glory.


Sweet Beans!

The week before Easter is a very special week here, known as Holy Week. Everyone gets the week off from school and almost everyone gets a break from work; a great time to hang out with friends, go on trips, and make Habichuelas con Dulce (Sweet Beans). Our new friends in Los Pomos invited me over on Viernes Santo (Good Friday) so that they could teach me how to make this special dish. They cook the beans with cinnamon until they're soft, then they blend the beans, and continue to cook the bean mixture with evaporated milk, sugar, cloves, and raisons. At the end they put vanilla cookies on top and eat it both warm and chilled. I must admit that it's taken me 7 years to get used to this dessert, but I really enjoyed the huge bowl full that this family gave me. Idekel joined me on this little journey too and ate Sweet Beans until he could hardly move.


Pizza for Everybody

I just learned how to make pizza 3 weeks ago and it seems to have made life a little bit more fun than normal. In that short time I've already had three different pizza parties, and made it for myself and my neighbors over 5 times. I think some people around here are starting to wonder if that's all I eat.
The first pizza party was with the teenage girls on the soccer team Obed just started... it was a wild dinner party with 16 people in my little house, food everywhere, a crazy funny cartoon movie, and lots of noise. The greatest part was how impressed the girls were by how the dough rose, and then how proud they were that they made pizzas.

The second pizza part was with a smaller crowd, just eight friends from the church, but we had so many visitors coming in and out of my house that night that it felt like I had over 20 dinner guests. Again we had a lot of fun making pizza, as well as playing games and joking around.

And the most recent pizza party was tonight over at Bau and Adrianas house. So much fun.... playing around with the dough, people trying to throw it in the air like seen on TV, running to and from my house so we could use two ovens at the same time, a scary movie and lots of chitchat.
I'm glad pizza making has been such a big hit. If you have any other recipes ideas that would be fun for dinner parties, please send them my way.