Saturday, June 3, 2017

Back home safely

The TBC DR Mission Team has arrived safely back home.  We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for our work this week.  You will be hearing more about the trip during service in the coming weeks.

Friday, June 2, 2017

House Dedication, Final VBS and Medical....

Today was our last day working before we go home tomorrow. In the morning we went to La Lechosa and I worked with the dentist for the 4th day this week. Every other day there has been around 10-15 people to get teeth pulled but today there was only one person. This lady didn't actually need teeth pulled she had the teeth pulled previously but the person who did it left some roots and those were removed today. It just showed how much less people in the bateys how access to dental care compared to the people living in La Lechosa which is closer to the city. After lunch we went to Batey 106 and as soon as I got off the bus kids were jumping on me, holding my hand, asking my name, and playing with my hair. It really touched me to see them so happy and loving with how little they had. I helped with VBS and the kids got snacks when it ended. Two little girls left at the end of VBS with me and offered me some of their crackers and juice and it almost brought me to tears. Even though this was a treat to them they wanted to share that with me. I stayed so long hiking on the mountain with the kids and playing with them not wanting to leave that Jeremy had to carry me to the bus. Though it has been a tiring week I'm really sad we're leaving tomorrow and am already planning to come back next year.

-- Ashley King

Today I helped with VBS for the first (and last) time this week.  La Lechosa is a great place to come back to again and again.  The church looks great, and the school continues to grow.  We held VBS in a classroom in the school and saw english on the classroom board where Dominicans were learning english!  We had fun working with the kids and also helping with the clinic in the church.  After lunch we all went to Batey 106 for the finished house's dedication, visiting with the Batey kids, and recognizing all of the translators and construction workers.  It's been a great and productive trip and I look forward to coming home to family.

--Jeremy Kenny

What a week this has been!  I have worked in the "pharmacy" area of the medical clinic all week and we have stayed busy every day!  (It has also kept several of us busy each evening restocking medicines and counting pills for the next day!)  On Monday we saw 138 patients; Tuesday 125; Wednesday 78; Thursday 72; and today 57! The pharmacy work doesn't allow for nearly as much interaction with the local people as most other jobs, so my primary relationships this week have been with our other team members.  I have been so impressed with the diligence and dedication of the other people working in the pharmacy and medical clinic this week. While we don't dispense any dangerous narcotics, I still consider it a big responsibility to prepare and give people their medications.  We have to make sure it is the right medication, in the right dosage, with the correct instructions, and try to make everything clear enough that a mother with four children doesn't get mixed up about which child gets which medicine. Beginning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Glenn and Teresa helped in the pharmacy, did a fantastic job, and kept the mood fun, even when our backs were aching.  Then Jeremy Kenny worked with me on Thursday and he also kept it fun, and even made the counting and calculating seem easy (which I'm sure it was for him!)  Finally today, Ryan Adams worked in the pharmacy  and was very responsible, pleasant and a quick learner.  I also appreciated the knowledgeable and friendly local doctors who worked with us this week, as well as our kind and reliable interpreters.  We have also had excellent help from other team members with blood pressure, dental assisting and eyeglass fitting. I feel like God has really blessed the 470 patients who came through our clinics this week with such wonderful, compassionate people.  It has also been a blessing to me to work with them.

Julie Wills

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday in the Batayes

Today was a very active day for the Vacation Bible School team at the batey we were assigned to serve.  The children greeted us as we came off of the bus.  Several young people were eager to practice their English with us.  Today's Bible story was about Daniel in the Lion's Den.  The children were so excited they had trouble sitting still and listening, but the storyteller, Estela, was animated and engaging and even got the children to repeat details of the story back to her.  After the message was shared, the children were ready to make a lion puppet craft out of a small paper sack and coloring cut-outs. I noticed that some of the younger children did not appear to know how to color and our volunteers lovingly worked with them, along with their mothers and siblings. We had one girl with Downs Syndrome; she enjoyed coloring and frequently held up her puppet to show us her progress.  Vacation Bible School ended with a snack and free play.  This was a time for the children to share with us.  They danced, jumped rope, blew bubbles, and posed for countless pictures. I had the opportunity to hold a father's baby while the child slept. I got to paint many little girls' fingernails. I made a new young friend named Alan. He followed me around and gave me numerous hugs. My prayer tonight is that Alan will grow up worshipping God and will rely on Christ to guide and protect him.

-- Tammy Owens

This trip is almost coming to an end and I have enjoyed every second of it. Today I traveled back to batey 106, where I have been for the past 3 days. When we step off the bus we are immediately greeted by big hugs, smiles, and the shouts of our names, and it is the best feeling in the world. We continued to shovel gravel and rock to the side of the house and build up the part that has eroded away. As hard as the shoveling is, there is never a break, because as soon as you are done shoveling there is a kid on your back walking with you to get water. I also love working with the guys that live in that batey, because they never fail to yell at the kids when they are in their way. The kids at this batey also love to help shovel and haul rocks from the pile to the wheelbarrow. Today me and Ryan talked to Ishma again. He is a 19 year old at the batey, and he speaks fluent english. He is extremely smart, and he is studying to be a doctor in La Romana. We play basketball with him a lot, and we lose.....very badly. He and all the other kids at the batey are always so happy, even throughout their harsh conditions of living, and it puts a smile on anyone's face, no matter what kind of mood you're in that day. I can not wait to finish the last day strong but I know it is going to be sad to leave them.

-- Jacob Colson

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Day 4 is complete -- Storms and all

Well, we have officially closed day four of our adventure. Today we worked VBS in one of the batay's. We had to move VBS into the bus because of a thunderstorm that hit today. During VBS we told them the story of Jesus calming the storm, which after a while the storm was calmed. We then did arts and crafts with the kids after that. All of the kids were smiling when we handed them crayons to color their pictures. After VBS we began to bring out the jump ropes in the rain, and the kids were smiling from ear to ear. As we pulled out we almost got stuck in the mud because the ground was so wet from the thunderstorm, but we eventually got out.

-- Ryan Adams

After today, I have officially realized that I underestimated the amount of mud that can be produced in the span of a few days. Thunder storms and rain showers have been coming and going over the week, and today was no exception. We pulled up to batay and not long after the flood gates opened; this caused quite drastic change of plans as we decided to make the VBS a BBS (Bus Bible School). Though we had a slow start, we eventually got the ball rolling and everything went pretty smoothly. The children listened to the story of Jesus calming the storm, and they did a coloring activity along with it. When we felt that it was safe to leave the bus, we fed the children juice and crackers. Altogether, I would say that it was a pretty smooth day.

-- David Killian

Our water filter distribution this year is focused in Batey Santa Lucia.  This batey is close to an hour's drive due north of Casa Pastoral.  The best description of the area is "hill country" and it is truly beautiful. As of today we have installed 55 filters which is a slower pace than we have historically  been able to achieve. Pace picked up today and I expect it will be able increase our rate tomorrow.
Monday we started in the section of the batey that houses mostly newcomers and transients.  The poverty there was extreme.  Today, we moved to the larger, "permanent" resident section of the batey. Compared to other bateys I have visited, Santa Lucia is in the lower end of the poverty scale.  Furthermore, there is no established church on site and and I did not see evidence of a school.  Of more concern is the lack of a Good Samaritan Hospital Health Promotion Officer.  On previous visits, I have learned that this individual is very important to the success of clean water.   I have enjoyed having two grandsons with me on this trip.  Both have been able to work on the water teams.

-- Mike Killian