|Some, but not all of us, after church one Sunday in July. From the left: Chinaider, Carlo, Jean Dona, Sony, Ilayas and Maraya, me and Wevli, Yenilove, and Ivenson. Jeres took the picture and the car is his friend Loudie's car.|
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
(Hillsong video below)
(Hillsong video below)
This morning I am crying tears of joy and peace. It's 5:45 am. Yesterday morning the director of my kids' school sort of chastized me for getting there late. It wasn't a big deal for the little kids, but Eriverto who is in high school is not let in after a certain point. "You're going to need to get up earlier" he said. I didn't say this, but the light bulbs in this house don't illuminate it very much. The sky lights do. But if it's dark outside, I don't think I can get the kids up. We get up as soon as it's light. I have to shake and hit Maraya every morning as it is in a fully illuminated room. I told him that the real challenge is that we don't have water. I also told him that we have a van that goes from Los Dominguez to Munoz every morning at 7:40 and Eriverto can jump on that.
Yesterday morning the water truck did not come at 7 as he said he would but I heard one beeping nearby. I ran down one road thinking I was going the right way and then heard him down another road, which I then ran to. And it's true I woke up later. I have a 9pm bedtime goal this year but the boys disrupt it a lot. Loren got back from Haiti at about 11pm last night and I couldn't get them to settle down. They talked loudly in the yard until 1pm or so. The kids slept through it, but I didn't. Then Jeres and I talked until probably 3am since we never really have any other time to talk. So I did wake up a little late.
This morning as I write this it's pouring down rain. Thanks to Nelson the crazy who busted my windows, my car will be soaked and we will all go to school wet. Because it was raining last night, I had to park the car on the street, a bit far from our house. Getting the kids from the house to the car and vice versa in the rain and mud is another ordeal. But it's true: waking up earlier makes all of that easier. It was just a little embarrassing to have the talking to, especially regarding a boy who we give a ride to school but is not actually my responsibility. I love giving kids scholarships, but I do not love when the parents think that because you are finding the funds to pay for the schooling, that the child has become your responsibility. I have conversations like this often, and am waiting for Adeline, Eriverto's mom, to get back from her month (so far) in Haiti that was supposed to be a week to have one with her for sure!
Anyway, enough complaining and sharing frustrations. Why am I crying tears of joy? Okay, leading up to the answer will have a few more frustrations and complaints, but ends with success and praise. The frustrations and complaints put the success and praise into perspective.
Yesterday I took my Remedies final exam. Last Thursday I took my Community Property and Wills and Trusts finals. I am done with my core classes for the 4th and final year of law school!!!! Now I will start an Education Law elective where everything is open book it seems. The final does not have to be taken at a set time but I can take it whenever I get to it before November 25th. I will also start a pass/fail BAR prep course. And then I'm DONE!!!!! JD in the house! (almost, almost)
So that is probably something leading up to the tears of joy. But here is the icing on the cake. Yesterday morning when I woke up the boys (Ezayi had goiter surgery and is taking it easy for a few weeks) I saw my broom laying in front of Junior's room broken. EVERY TIME I get a new broom for MY house, one of them takes it and breaks it or loses it seeminly immediately. And here is proof. We had just one broom and one mop for the two houses. Why? Because I knew as soon as I got another, they would only take mine and they would last less time. It must be something in the mentality. "Oh, there are two so I can go wash a moto down the road with this one... and never bring it back". I got so sick of not being able to clean that I believe it was four days ago that I brought home a new broom and mop. They were not brand new but I took them from the volunteer house and decided to get new ones for the volunteer house when the next volunteers come, since it is empty for a bit. Kati left on August 25th.
I quickly wrote "Catalina" on both the mop and broom and every day checked to make sure they were in OUR house. After three days, the broom was missing. It was evening when I noticed this. I called down to the boys, "Who has my brooom? Please bring me my broom." However, I did not physically go down and look. The next morning as I went to wake them up, you know what I found. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!?!?! I didn't know it was Junior at first and just started yelling asking which idiot broke my broom, banging on their three doors and telling them to open them. If they had opened them, I probably would have gone in and started hitting their ankles with the broken piece that said my name if they had opened the doors. I don't like to call them idiots but it reminded me of a high school English teacher. That year the class had many crazy boys. She was a very sweet lady but they would not settle down and listen for the life of her. I remember he calling them stupid idiots in a calm and rational voice and them cracking up at the fact.
They didn't open their doors. I heard Jean Dona say, "Something that doesn't even barely cost any money.." I went to his door and asked Lorenzo to open it for me. Lorenzo didn't want to. He said he didn't have clothes on and couldn't find the key to his locker to put clothes on. I told him that I realized he was probably trying to hide Loren. Loren should not have slept there but I figured he did since I heard them talking until 1am. Why Loren shouldn't have slept there (Loren and Lorenzo are twin brothers) is another story.
I said I didn't need to come in. I needed to see Jean Dona. Just send Jean Dona out. After I mouthed off for a bit, Jean Dona eventually came to the door with a smirk on his face. Loren squeezed out in the same clothes he arrived in last night and said, "Hit them with the stick," and then went on his way. I asked Jean Dona what he had said. He said he didn't say anything. I told him what I had heard him say. He said he didn't say that and he wouldn't say something like that. I told him that I knew the person who broke the stick was an idiot, but I didn't think that he was too to think that I should buy something only for them to break it immediately. He said no, he would not say that.
I went to my house and got trash bags. I returned and mouthed off about how dirty the yard was. Trash everywhere. Some came out and helped cleaning immediately. Chinaider popped out of the same room where Jean Dona and Lorenzo sleep to help. I had forgotten that he had slept there. He moved out of his apartment because it was apparently a criminal place that the police were frequenting. He was saving up to rent a new place close to us. However, his money is not yet complete. He was staying with a friend but his friend's wife came back from Haiti and they kicked him out. I didn't want him to stay as he is already independent and didn't want it to turn into anything long term, but I think it really will just be for a few days. I am holding onto his money for him so I know he is almost there and will give the money directly to the landlord.
Anyway, I discovered that it was Junior who did it. He had also thrown a shelf on the ground outside because he was cleaning inside the day before. I told him he has to buy a new broom and he mouthed off in return. He and Sony never opened their door and did not help clean. In our new house we have just two tiny bedrooms so Junior sleeps in the boys' house whereas he lived in our house for years. Carlo was very distraught over a stomach ache and as I ran around finding the water truck about 15 minutes later, I got some pills for him for the stomach ache. He ended up not going to school because of it.
How would you feel if your new broom was broken immediately like that? How in the world did he break it? HOW!?!?! He's a bit boisterous..but really? Anyway, things like that are frustrating. So that leads me to this morning and the tears of joy and peace. Last night I didn't feel well. A few kept coming to my window with requests for things. I kept telling them I was already sleeping and couldn't get up. Jean Dona got very upset about this. He is a bit impatient. He is the smallest and youngest in the group. But he is a real handful. He has quite a "street kid" personality. We have had to save him from several people trying to hurt him because he has broken their things and I think I wrote about him biting another kid's ear... but he is pretty darn cute, I will say.
When the boys older than him are going somewhere like a concert on the Malecon (boardwalk) that they went to on Sunday, they come to tell me that they were not going with Jean Dona. If he goes, it is not them who goes with him. They see he is preparing himself. They actually told me that it looked like Chinaider would be going with him as they were together. I said okay, thanks for telling me. They know that if they go out with him, I'll blame them for influencing him, etc. They asked to be able to stay out until 11pm whereas the normal curfew is 10pm. On this occasion it was Lorenzo and Sony informing me that they were not going out with Jean Dona and asking if they could stay out until 11.
|Photo from Sunday evening posted on FB on Monday. "I didn't go out with Jean Dona. Jean Dona is the little one with the black hat. Chinaider in blue next to him with white shorts. Sony and Lorenzo are in there too.|
So yesterday I saw Jean Dona and Chinaider walking together as we arrived home. My thoughts were.. is Chinaider being a good influence or not? They both helped us carry in Wevli and Maraya when we had to park the car on the road in the rain. There's just a curtain on our bedroom. I brought the kids in and was drying them off. We were about to change into dry clothes when Jean Dona popped his head in. Of course I was initially a little annoyed at the lack of privacy and wanted to remind him to not do that but he proudly held out a plastic coke bottle with a huge grin on his face. It had a small amount of red seeds in it. I moved closer to him, looked, and exclaimed, "Grenn legliz!" That means "church seeds" or "rosario seeds" which is what we use a lot in the art shop to make jewelry. But they weren't the normal church seeds. They were not oval but a bit odd shaped, bright red, and did not have the black dot. These were a different type of church seed that I had told Chinaider I learned existed here, but no one had found them yet, and I had hoped to find them so we could make jewelry with them too. I had shown him a picture weeks before. So when I saw that they were these seeds, I got even more excited!
Jean Dona beamed. He told me how far he and Chinaider had gone very far to get them. He then pulled out a Gatorade bottle that was completely full! I got even more excited! They said they were going to sell them. I told them to sell them to me. (Obviously that was their plan.) I told him that we were going to change our clothes and he popped his head out of the room.
I later told them I thought 2 for one peso was a fair price. I was comparing it to how much buying beads costs. They started counting. As they got to several hundred, I realized that we needed to make sure we could put holes in the seeds and talked to them about that. So we're still working on that but in conclusion, Chinaider was being a good influence!
This morning I woke up around 5am and realized that I had not brought my car battery inside last night. Here, people steal car batteries out of cars in the night, so if it's not really secure in your car, you have to take it inside in the night. When I park the car in front of my house, I don't have to worry about this. But when I leave it on the street, I do. The last time I left my car on the road due to rain, I accidentally left my keys in the car. In the morning, they were not there. One of the boys actually held them the entire day and even tried to say that someone had found them down the road and was asking for a reward for them, which I knew was a lie. I knew I had left them in the ignition as I have done many times before. How else would I have turned off the car? I accused him of lying. He then brought me the keys. But that's just an example of things that can happen with this bunch.
So this morning when I realized I hadn't entered the car battery, I ran to go look. I thought negatively, "They could've helped me and brought in the battery but they would probably rather steal it and sell it instead." If it's there, I'll have the mechanic make the thing to secure it today, I promised myself. I got to the car and tried to turn on the lights. They would not turn on. I lifted the hood, took a look, and it was not there. I ran back to our house and asked Jeres if he or anyone else had brought it in. Looked around and did not see it. I thought, if it's not there, I will have to accuse Chinaider because he just started staying here again. But maybe someone stored it in their room for me. I went to the room I knew Chinaider was sleeping in and called him. He must not have been sleeping. He answered me right away. "Did you bring my car battery inside last night?"
"Yes," he answered.
"Oh, thank you Chinaider," I said with great relief. He told me it was in the room and asked if I needed it. I said not yet. I thanked him again. I just felt so relieved and thankful for him. My negative thoughts were turned around. I came inside and got on Facebook to see what was up. I saw a friend had posted a song by Hillsong that I hadn't heard before called Oceans.
I listened and the tears started flowing. Tears of joy and tears of peace.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand
And I will call upon your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours and you are mine.
It's 6:45am now. I ran and got the boys up at 6:30. Now I need to get my kids going. Hopefully we aren't late today. May we and you have a good one with many blessings.