Thursday, August 2, 2012

TD.12 (A Summary, Part One)

As many of you know, I just got back very early yesterday morning from a ten-day mission trip to the island of Dominica.  When you spend ten very busy days with almost thirty other people immersed in a third-world island country - no cell phone, internet, computer, television, air conditioning, or hot water; plenty of bugs, sweat, heat, strange foods, new people, new lingo (but thankfully still English) - it takes time to adjust to your life. A simple example is the fact that I'm writing this post in August wearing long socks, a wool head wrap, and a hoodie because the air conditioning is freezing my nose off.

All that to say: I'll try my best to share my experience with my lovely readers, but you really had to be there.


Throughout my trip, I kept a detailed journal with multiple entries a day, as well as accumulated nearly 400 photos.  (I'll be shortening and paraphrasing so these posts don't take up a whole month.)  It's only fitting to begin at the beginning...

my journal before the trip

July 23
5:07 PM  Waiting for a very late final flight in the airport in Antigua.

7:10 PM  Our plane finally leaves just to turn around and come back due to technical difficulties.  So I decide to do something on my bucket list and people-watch in an airport.

10:45 PM  We arrive!

July 24
8:22 AM  Details about the camp, the view, and how much I love the island.

10:37 AM  "Already I've watched a native crack a coconut, tried and gagged on coconut water, and tried and spit out coconut meat.  Oh, not to mention climbed up and down a major hill too many times and eaten - and spit out - what I later discovered was a very unripe mango.  Tasted like a cross between tree bark and paper. :S"

7:00 PM  The campers arrive; teams are assigned.  There are three teams, White Hawks, Green Sisserous, and Gold Jackos.  I'm on green team.  The Sisserou is the national bird of Dominica, a parrot found only on the island.  Jackos are another local parrot that are found in several nearby islands.

7:56 PM  Notes from evening service about the importance of the Bible.

July 25
8:15 AM  Thoughts on Dominicans drinking a hot cocoa type of drink with breakfast.

2:15 PM  Details about the food, which is tuna for breakfast and a very different version of chicken and dumplings for lunch.  Notes about the camp games and postponed girls' hike, as well as the fact that the water tanks ran out so there's no water for showers, sinks, and toilets.

7:15 PM  "The guys just got back from bathing in the river.  We've figured out how to fill and flush the toilets manually so I haven't had to 'pee in the bush.'  The chapel dress code will be everyday wear tonight and then all the girls will drive to the Corneliuses' house for showers.
Every girls' cabin has had some sort of nuisance.  I found a spider bigger than a quarter on a bedpost when we first arrived.  That night one cabin had an enormous moth that eventually flew into a fan and got cut in half.  At some point the third cabin dealt with a large roach."  Talk about photos of geckos, getting used to bugs flying into your hair, and how much Dominican boys love candy.

7:25 PM  Notes on how Dominicans call flip-flops 'slippers,' and how Adina and I want to be pen pals.

8:05 PM  Notes from evening service about the game that is life.

July 26
7:52 AM  "Last night was great.  After evening services Adina, Danielle, Joy, Katie, Ashlee, and I rode to the Corneliuses' house in the back of the truck.  We said hi to people we passed and sang 'In the Jungle.'  Then, when we were taking showers, first the breaker for the lights then the shower faucet broke during Joy's turn.
Adina and I were going to see the sunrise today but we set the alarm too early and it went off at four, waking the whole cabin while I fumbled to turn it off in the black darkness.  Katie, Adina, and I walked up to the bathrooms in the dark and admired the amazing starry sky before going back to bed.  Tomorrow we'll set the alarm at five-thirty and try again." Notes about the food, which included mac-n-cheese, cheese sandwiches made with mayo and mustard, and corned beef sandwiches.

8:09 AM  "Kurwington, a boy from our brother cabin, has a major crush on Danielle.  He drew her a big flower on one side of a paper and a heart with their names on the other.  Then on another paper he drew a heart covered in ivy vines.  He's really good at drawing.
Ricky is another little boy in our brother cabin.  He's deaf and has his teacher, Axel, here as an interpreter.  It's really cool to watch them 'talk.'  He's a funny kid.  He likes to call people fat, except Lauren and Logan who he called skinny as a paper.
We're having bread, oatmeal, and Dominica cocoa for breakfast.  It looks good.
Delrun, a boy from another cabin, just had Ricky pass a 'love note' to Audra.  All these notes are funny."

8:39 AM  My poor opinion of Dominican cocoa and my high opinion of sign language and its beauty.

8:45 AM  Notes about my brother and how he's a great volunteer.

11:22 AM  While waiting for Christian Life Session (CLS) to start, I talk about the games we played that morning, the crazy bug bites everybody's getting, the funny smell that's starting to build up in the cabins, and the lack of rain to refill the water tanks.

11:35 AM  Notes from CLS about purity and impurity in our culture and mindset.

8:05 PM  Notes from evening service about friendship and choosing the right friends.

9:05 PM  "Today was another perfect day.  During free time the guys went on a hike and I enjoyed working in the Canteen snack shack.  Then it rained!  Only for a little while, but it was a great downpour.  I ran around and was soaked to the bone.  Katie worried about my getting ill and Eddie told me to get my umbrella, but Danielle and I enjoyed it immensely.  Everyone could see it coming over the ocean and some of us cheered and did happy dances.
After that the girls went to the river to wash, which was also an amazing experience.  I mean, other than the fact that I was stupid and wore cheap flip-flops, one of which broke, and took my evening service clothes to put on.  Dressing in a skirt while standing barefoot on slippery rocks and ankle-deep in a river is a challenge.
Really though, I loved it.  I actually think bathtubs might be a little overrated.
My only complaint for this entire trip is the bug bites, which I would've gotten at the Wilds camp anyway.
I can't wait to see the sunrise with Adina tomorrow."

9:32 PM  I try starfruit, guava, Dominican pineapple and Dominican bananas while the Dominican boys use my camera.  I only like the pineapple but can now say I've tried them!  Thoughts on the natives and how I simply have to return to the island someday.

10:39 PM  Adina and I swap addresses.

To Be Continued...

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