After the sun had risen over the Caribbean Sea, Dottie and I set out for or second run on the Malecón. We stopped again at the outdoor gym; however, we were still sore from yesterday, so we didn’t stay quite as long. The equipment there is so cool and they rely mostly on calisthenics (body weight exercises). They are all painted light blue and las instrucciones are in español, but there are also pictures to help know how to use the machines.
Later, after a filling and balanced breakfast, we were ready to go to Hector’s church! We took the van to his house and he drove the rest of the way until we arrived at La Iglesia Central Asamblea de Dios (The Central Church of the Assembly of God), where service was on the third floor, in room four. Before going all the way upstairs, we met some deaf people in the church who eventually ensured that those of us that did not previously have name signs received name signs! While Dr. Rust mentioned this would probably happen today, it was such an honor, as our name signs are personal and come with a great story.
This is the outside of the church building.
This was the main sanctuary of the church, but our room was upstairs! It was neat to see all the flags and the phrase on the wall that reads “United in the same Spirit.”
Listas para la iglesia!
Before Hector spoke to the congregation, Belkis, Dr. Rust, and Dottie were able to share personal stories the group, and two of the women sang while signing. It was beautiful! After Hector gave his lesson, I was able to sing while one of the women (who knows Spanish, English, and LESDOM) interpreted a song in Spanish to LESOM and sang “Gloria en lo alto” with me when I forgot the words.
Hector’s lesson was from S. Lucas (Luke) 19:1-10, which is la historia de Zaqueo y Jesucristo in which Zacchaeus could not see Jesus, so he climbed a tree to see. When Jesus called Zaqueo down, they went to his house, where Zaqueo was changed when he heard the Word of God, so he decided to give his money away (the whole chapter is at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19&version=NIV). Hector shared with us the importance of letting go of things that distract us from Jesus (por ejemplo, money).
Hector teaching us during church.
A foto del grupo was definitely called for, so many were taken among rounds of trading cameras and saying “¡Una más!” and “One more!”
Our McDaniel Team
Morning’s Group Photo
Next, our faithful driver, friend, and now pastor Hector drove us to the Sambril Mall, where we went to a food court for lunch and then had time to walk about and see the shops. For lunch, Laura, Brielle, and I once again sought out cuisine from an establishment we do not have at home. We decided on Cubanísimo, for we were convinced after meeting a man whose family owns the restaurant! It was also a place approved by Hector. All of our plates included rice and beans, either chicken or pork. In addition, Laura and I were so excited to have plátanos (plantains). They were soft, sweet, and sliced lengthwise (as opposed to thin, fried, and also tasty tostones). While we did not have Bon for another meal, Ali and Alecia decided to swap a more traditional almuerzo for Bon’s yummy yogurt. For dessert, Laura, Brielle, Dottie, and Belkis had gelato!
This was one of my favorite meals!
After the Sambril Mall, we were then invited into Hector and Belkis’ beautiful casa, where we saw Toby, their puppy. There were colorful paintings on the wall that reminded us of those we saw yesterday in la Zona Colonial. It was so kind of Hector and Belkis to let is see their home; the hospitality we have received (from Hector, Belkis, Juana, Eric, and the Escuela Nacional de Sordos Mudos en San Cristobal) has been so welcoming.
I have been taking notes of phrases I have seen, whether they are as graffiti, purposefully painted on a building, on a windshield, etc. One that I would like to share today is:
“Educar es amar” which means “To educate is to love”. (It was part of an emblem on a school near Hector’s house.) I really think the phrase “Educar es amar” applies to our trip, for we have not only been given the opportunity to educate and teach deaf students about fossils and dinosaurs, and expand their vocabulary, but we have been given a multitude of opportunities to love, especially to love the students with whom we haved worked and with whom we will work. This concept of being here to spread love was even something Hector mentioned at church this morning!
After a brief rest, we met in the lobby again to go to a deaf club, located next to the Escuela Nacional (where we will teach on Thursday). There is a pool table, a television, and lots of chairs to encourage personas sordas of all ages to spend time together and have conversations.
Unos amigos playing pool.
We learned that Hector was el presidente del club at one point! Our friend Alan was there, and discussed history of the country as well as some current topics in the deaf community here. Por supuesto (of course), we took a foto del grupo at the end of our afternoon at the deaf club.
El foto del grupo!
Afterwards, we parked the van at the hotel and walked to Pizzarelli for pizza. During meals is definitely one of the places I like to learn new signs. Tonight I learned the signs for king, queen, prince, and princess, and was able to practice signs as well. I would like to thank Dr. Rust, and Dottie, and all the girls, especially Laura, for helping me when I am lost and constantly helping me improve my signing!
We were able to finish all three pizzas;
these long days make us hungry! We walked back to the hotel, past a busy plaza with many families. Some children were riding bikes and we even saw a family on roller blades. In contrast to these families exercising, I do not think I will be running the Malecón tomorrow, for we have a big day ahead of us with an early start! Gracias por leer! Mucho amor de Santo Domingo.Nuestra cena de pizza! (Tenemos mucha hambre en esta foto)