Its August which means two things....1.The Dominican is CRAZY hot and HUMID 2.Mission teams are here from England, building homes....! Now in England its not ever crazy hot or humid, even though English people like to moan about the weather, their idea of hot is nothing close to the DR's idea of hot! We have all been working really hard in the hot sun, sweating like pigs! There have been some stinky stinky bus rides back to the hotel after construction sessions!!
Since June I've been working with teams solidly, building basic housing for those living in shacks. Giving people a home is an amazing thing, and house dedication day makes all the hot construction well worth the effort, even though construction is not something that I get overly excited by anymore! The end justifies the means, and on Monday we are giving two more families new homes. So far this summer the organisation I am here with has given 4 homes, with another 4 about to be handed over in the next 3 weeks.
Every mission team is different and has a different character to it. Each group of people notice new and different things - everyone has a different perspective on what they see and experience here, even though most teams are doing similar activities. It excites me to see teams really trying to understand the situation that people here are living in, trying to understand why it is hard for many Haitian people to find work in the Dominican, trying to understand a little of the daily struggles that thousands of people here face. Its so different to British life and culture and it takes a while to even begin to understand life here. Ive been here 3 1/2 years and still dont claim to understand!
What excites me is when people on teams ask questions, to try and gain understanding, instead of making assumptions. We see people sitting around and our first assumption might be that people are lazy and cant be bothered to go to work... when we ask questions we begin to discover why people arent working - without the legal documention required it is almost impossible to find fairly paid employment. Transport to get out of the villages we work in costs at least an hours wage, if not more.
My hope is that we all continue to ask questions, and to learn and discover more and more. Understanding leads to compassion, empathy and action.
The current mission ream have 4 more days here with us, they are a fantastic group, full of questions and willing to serve and get involved. We almost managed to wear them out yesterday, with two days of full-on construction... today they are recovering! Im recoving too...! Then I have 5 day and the next team arrives for two weeks! Summer is busy, busy, busy, but worth the exhaustion!!
Im hoping that the next batch of 28 birth certificates will be ready to distribute, along with the 6 passports being ready to collect next week too... ! Seeing the fruit of ones labor is SUCH FUN!