17 March 2010 … R & R

Hola!

Today was the day to recoop from what we have been doing. The morning began with Hector and Belkis meeting us at the hotel around 9 am. We headed east towards Boca Chica, the closest beach area to Santo Domingo. I know from experience, once on the beach, you are approached by many vendors. This time, we drove to a resort hotel and purchased a day pass for the students. This pass entitled the students free use of the beach for the day that is in front of the hotel and free from solicitation. The pass also was inclusive meaning the students had use of the pool, the restaurant, and the snack bar. I guess it is similar to one of those all inclusive cruises where you can put your money away for it is already provided in the price. All of this for the price of $50, which you could easily spend if you lazed on a public beach, but without the hassle.

Once the students were situated, Belkis, Hector, and I drove out to Hato Mayer to visit a small Deaf school that is operated by the Assembly of God church. The Assembly of God denomination has been working to place Deaf churches and Deaf schools throughout the country so there are many of these tiny schools in the country side. This particular school in Hato Mayer (about 90 minutes northeast of Santo Domingo) is run by Dana, who hails from Spokane, Washington. Her second teacher is Vivian, a Canadian, and both are now roommates. The school is literally in a house and the back room is the bedroom for these ladies. Dana is near 70 and her husband resides in Spokane. Vivian is a widow, in her 50’s, and may be moving to El Seibo, another city a bit east of Hato Mayer, to start-up another school for the Deaf under the Assembly of God denomination.

When we arrived at the school, there was such joy in the teachers and the students eyes when they saw Belkis and Hector approaching the school gate. The front room was crowded. It housed not only the 15 out of 18 students present for the day, but the teachers and 9 college students from Liberty University! These college students did not know signs but they were in the area during their spring break on a mission trip. I had to immediately text Lauren, my oldest daughter, and Ben, her finance, for Ben is a graduate student at Liberty University. Imagine, Ben, I could have met you if you joined this team!! How strange would that be?

Dana provided lunch as Hector and I headed out to the store to purchase drinks for everyone staying for lunch. It was interesting to hear how Dana became involved in this project and she is excited about the progress that has been made to date. I can attest to her enthusiasm for the students were well-mannered, eager to learn, very communicative us, and seemed genuinely happy. I asked if the students were reading yet but they are not. Dana is using the Reading A-Z material and they are in the early phases of these levels with these students. She does not believe in the ‘write on the board and copy’ as a learning method for Deaf students and practices. The school at Sabana Perdida does not believe in this too but it is not always practiced. However, this is the type of learning instruction the students receive at the two national schools we will be visiting in Santiago and Santo Domingo.

While in the Hato Mayer area, you begin to see an increase in motorbikes and less cars. If this were a western town in the 1800’s, you probably would have seen horses hitched to posts everywhere. Instead, this is 2010 and in front of every store you see about 5 – 10 motorbikes parked. These machines are everywhere and the people drive them without rules. Yikes.

Our trip back to the beach to pick up the students included a stop at a local stand where Hector had me purchase the best goat cheese I have tasted to date … YUMMMMM! And, I do not even like cheese! I shared some with the students and they were not as excited as I was … lol. We found the students, somewhat more dark and more red than when we had left them. A trip to the local ice cream/yougart shop, BON, was in order and then the hotel.

For dinner, we walked to a local Chinese place and the menu was in Spanish, naturally. We asked for an English menu and the waitress brought us one. When we ordered, we pointed to the English menu but she had no idea of what we were ordering. Then we tried to find the same items on Spanish menu but the waitress could not read the Spanish menu either. We were all curious as to what our dishes would look like when our meals finally arrived … lol. As usual, we had an abundance of food on our plates but we were satisfied with our meal.

We have an early start tomorrow for we are heading 2 hours northwest to Santiago, where a national school for the Deaf is established. We will be teaching in the morning, visiting with Carlos, the main contact person for establishing Deaf schools and churches in the country under the Assembly of God organization, and then a teacher’s workshop in the afternoon. (As a side note, Carlos is Hector’s boss.)

Will see what tomorrow brings …. adios,

M

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One Response to “17 March 2010 … R & R”

  1. dottie Says:

    sounds like your week has been packed full of experiences. i’m glad things continue to go smoothly, thanks to jeremy and hector and the others who have befriended you. bet the students are learning more than they ever imagined! hope all goes well in the next couple days.

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