viernes, 17 de febrero de 2017

10 Years Gone By So Fast!




You may or may not have noticed a Peter Pan theme in this blog. I am quoting the family section of the blog: 

"Someone once referred to me as ´the real life Wendy´ because I flew away to a distant island and began caring for a group of ´lost boys´ who desperately needed a mother.. or a motherly big sister at the very least. Well, if I am the real life Wendy, then Jeres is the real life Peter Pan. And our story is one where Wendy did not return to live with her parents in the civilized world but instead she stayed in a land full of pirates and fairy like characters and truly partnered for the long run with Peter.. with the lost boys by their sides. It's a highly unlikely life that seems to bother some and intrigue others. But despite inexplicable challenges, I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else."



With that being said, one day Jeres played the perfect song and I automatically knew that it must be used for Project Esperanza's 10 year anniversary video. Here it is! I hope you enjoy! 

As we celebrate 10 years here in Puerto Plata, our biggest needs are as follows: 

  1. Get ALL of our students sponsored. The number now is around 225. We have 113 sponsored. We have issues with leaky roofs, sporadic water, lack of fans, chain link walls where solid walls are needed, lack of books and materials, lack of school secretaries and psychologists that hinder our ability to obtain our own accreditation… all of which could be addressed if we had ALL of our students sponsored! 
  2. Finish paying off the loan that helped us to finish purchasing the school in Padre Granero. ($64,860)
  3. Finish paying for the group home land that we have already built on, but still owe a bit of money. ($3,000)

We make monthly payments on 2 and 3 so anyone becoming a monthly sponsor helps out with those. In conclusion, you can help us meet these needs immediately in one of the following ways:



Shoe Shine Boys by Wendy Joseph


Thank you so much for your participation in one or more of these ways. It’s been an amazing 10 years. Here’s to 10 more! 


“Bondye pa janm komanse pou li pa fini.” Translation: “God doesn’t start anything that he doesn’t finish.”

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Trip to VT

Here are a few pictures from my trip to Virginia Tech (Jan. 31 to Feb. 2nd). Thanks a ton to VT Social Entrepreneurship department for sponsoring the visit and especially Reed Kennedy for setting it all up! 

Luncheon with Innovate students.

Before the Wed. evening talk at Pamplin 1045

Signing the board at the Innovate Venture Lab.

Speaking at Burnt Factory Church on Thurs. evening in Winchester before flying out of D.C. Fri. morning.
Even got to spend some time with family! (At cousin Leah Marabella's house in Winchester)
Letter from kids.

The last thing is a letter the kids gave me before I left with a picture of a plane and me standing in the doorway, about to go down the ladder... or maybe after having gone up the ladder... At the bottom in Spanish it says, "Mom, have a good trip. I love you a lot. Thanks for everything. Many kisses. Many, many kisses. I love you, Ilayas, Maraya, Yenilove, y Wevli."

Everything was in one piece for the most part when I got back!

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2017

What Was So Crazy About It?



I said in my last postThis year ended with SO MUCH CRAZINESS. More than ever. And for the first time I can remember in my entire life, I have finger nails! The craziness must have knocked the nerves completely out of me." Here is some explanation.


E-mail to Kristin:


Okay, how am I and everything with PE? This fall has been full of one thing after another. I feel like plagues have been casted. First the nausea from being pregnant made me feel very slowed down...not that that's a plague but I just counted the days to get through it, and then the rain was a huge challenge. I had never seen anything like that. You might know we constructed and moved in April, but we have no running water, no fridge, no washing machine so it's just really hard. But before the rain started, I could at least park my car right by our house on most days. As you know, Viola passed away. When it did rain, the road was too slippery to get up, but most days I could make it up. But once the flooding started, a creek grew where I used to pass. There is no bridge, so I have to park the car far and walk with the kids, crossing the creek, they get muddy every day going to school and we have to carry them across the creek. Until we recently got the battery in the car in a theft free position, we had to enter the car battery and then put it back every night and morning so it didn't get stolen. So all of that has been a huge challenge. 
I'm attaching pictures of gigantic bugs we have killed in the night
next to my foot for measure. Not to mention the office where most of PE stuff is got completely flooded and we lost lots of stuff. The school was a bit of a mess and still is in one room we haven't even ventured to yet but so much wet soccer stuff and English camp stuff in there. :(

I've had a ring worm battle on my left hand since August. It's itching me as we speak. It's mostly gone but if I don't apply cinnamin oil to certain parts every day it always tries to grow back. 
And theeeennn we all got lice. I had never had lice before in my
life. This was another huge battle, especially without a washing machine. The boys shaved their heads and the girls treated... and today in Muñoz we were moving the school from one place to another and women wanted to do our hair... Maraya, Yenilove and I. I warned that we might have lice but they all didn't care and they all said they did not have lice so I think we may be done! But we'll probably treat it one more time still. But my head still is pretty


constantly itchy..probably from all of the bites as this went on for a few weeks.


So my first thought as to how I am is... ITCHY! Haha, I fell asleep super early tonight and now just woke up in the middle of the night and I'm so itchy. But PE is doing well. Jeres has really stepped up into his role I would say, helping out a lot and being authoritative where he needs to be, but not crazy. :) I mean a little crazy with the boys when needed. But controlled. Today we moved
See my car on the other side?
and he and Willy helped all day long. Chinaider is doing pretty well.. he just has issues where he can't live here with the boys as he has come of age and has a hard time respecting that they haven't yet, and he still comes and does things he shouldn't do to them sometimes. But he does a lot of work for the art shop.. he's always coming up with new designs and making his rent money with making products. He just does not like to have a boss and have a regular job. He got one installing windows and I was so happy for him.. they even gave him lunch every day in addition to some pay.. and he quit because he didn't like the way
From there we still have to walk past that house and up a hill to get home.
someone talked to him.

I feel like a lot has come into place with good directors in both schools finally and fairly consistent teacher pay, more experienced teachers, etc. I'm attaching an oficio about the PG school to the Ministry of Education if you are interested in reading. It mentions our 2008 visit to the Ministry in the capital. :) You can read the letterhead part first and then the attachment.
Rolling river by our house and group home during flood.



More 2016 craziness can be summarized by a December 24th Facebook post:



Last night I ran to get a few things and my brakes were not working right. I kept putting th ecar in neutral in order to be able to brake and went slow. Nonetheless, I ran into the back of someone at a stoplight. There was barely any damage, but the other driver demanded that I fix his car right then and there. I pleaded that we go to the police dept. that deals with traffic accidents and he degraded me and said many lies
All my seats look like this.

such as that they would arrest me for driving pregnant. Jeres came and tried to drive the car home, but the guy blocked it with his jeep so that he couldn't back out. We eventually left as it was raining, late, kids were out, etc. I didn't think he would do anything violent. He was wearing his La Sirena uniform and the car was parked in front of the Dominican Watchman office that is open all night. I didn't take out the battery because it is secure to the point that I don't have to take it out at night anymore. I went back at 6am and found that he had dismantled the battery securing thing and taken the battery. Then, as I mulled over the situation and tried to figure out what to do, I realized that he had slit all four tires. So I'm here at the police station. We'll see what happens. Merry Christmas everyone!



December 27th: So he gave back the gas tank, spare tire, battery, and gave me money for new tires, then they let him go. It all happened fast and when we went and put on the new tires, realized the seat belt he slashed, he slashed all of the seats, and took rear view and side view mirror. So we have to go back to the police...



December 28th: Court date on Monday.



February 7th: Did I never report that the court date went well.. he was an hour late but showed up.. and gave me the majority of the money quoted to finish fixing the car. 

What wasn't crazy? Did I mention when our electric line got stolen? That may have bridged into 2017. Oh well. Life is boring otherwise, right!? 

Thank you, Gloria!



lunes, 6 de febrero de 2017

End of 2016 Post



A little over a month later I am finally posting this: 
Ilayas at Adeline and Ose's wedding in December

It’s 3am, December 31, 2016. Tomorrow we will bring in the New Year, 2017! We’re at the volunteer house. Jeres is running the disco. Not sure if he’ll be done in an hour or three hours. It’s dangerous for him to go across town in the middle of the night with a lot of money, so we are staying here during these very busy nights. Ivenson is here too. Junior is staying in the batey tonight with his hair bleached blonde. Carlo is at his aunt’s. Jean Dona is at his family’s in Haiti during break. Sony and Willy are the only ones at the house tonight. Lorenzo has gone back to Haiti, hopefully to stay. So we have a spot or two we’ll be looking to fill in the New Year. 


I am not sleepy. I was just working on the 10 year anniversary slide show. How perfect is the song that will go with it.This year has been unbelievable. We finished paying for the Padre Granero building. We built on the group home land and moved in. We had sooo many volunteers. Kati was here making things so much better for the majority of the year. Jeres had legitimate work almost the whole year and he has started leading praise and prayer sessions with the kids on a regular basis. And at the very end, we moved into a new spot in Muñoz. I am so excited for this Christmas celebration to end so we can set up the art shop in the new location with the parking lot and start reaching out to excursion guides. There are already two who have asked me to seek them out when it’s ready. And also, I finished law school! 
 
New Muñoz school

I have been waiting for this move to move so many things around… one being the two tetherball poles we have had at my house for months. They have now gone to their rightful schools! The new location in Muñoz is surrounded by chain link fence so that’s perfect. 


Thank you, Lord. Thank you for this year. Tomorrow will also mark exactly one year of Wevli living with us. Five years for Junior (give or take a few weeks). Four years for Yenilove (give or take a few weeks). How blessed we are to have them in our family, in addition to those from our own flesh. How amazing God is to have gotten Junior through. He now seems to have a solid head on his shoulders. He now does not leave me in a constant fear that he will go down the wrong path. He has hated me at least half the time and I, him, but I think we have made it to the other side of a very big and scary storm. All praises to you, Lord. May his life bring glory to your name. 


This year ended with SO MUCH CRAZINESS. More than ever. And for the first time I can remember in my entire life, I have finger nails! The craziness must have knocked the nerves completely out of me. I only remember ever experiencing a few days with one long nail that I couldn’t help but to bite off in the end. But now I have two hands full of long nails… that really must be saying something. 


As I lay here typing I hear the rain falling. There is still so much rain but not as much as in October and November. My stomach is literally jolting as this baby boy jumps around inside. I´m finishing up with 24 weeks. I’ll tell about the craziness and start with an e-mail to Kristin where I summarized it all. But let me also say, I’m a Juris Doctor!!!!! I did it!!! What a crazy, crazy fool I was to have taken that on. Oh how I had no time to care for myself in any way. Oh how I lost sleep and cried over time spent away from my babies. But it’s over. I did it. And no one and nothing can take it away from me. Thank you, Lord, for getting me through. May all praises go to you. May it all be for your kingdom and glory.   
Happy New Year!

sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2016

(Biological) Baby #3 Announcement


In a few days.. I'll be done with law school! Finishing up with my last few assignments. I always need some new interest to give me breaks and entertain me. Luckily, my friend Aimee recently told me about a new movie called LOVING about an interracial couple in Virginia that changed the laws concerning interracial marriages in the U.S. Being here in the D.R. I miss new movies and such. What an awesome case to read about during my final days of law school. Makes me proud to be a Virginian. Not because of the history of racism there, but because of the strong, fighting lovers in the state. 🙂
 
And speaking of interracial couples, this one is expecting (biological) baby #3 (a boy) in April! Here's a pic on hand that happens to show us, the growing belly, and me being very tired! Just a few more days until I'm a J.D.

 

This was a Facebook announcement. My mom commented that that was the worst photo of me she has ever seen and I said that I didn't really have any other ones with Jeres and I but here is a recent one a volunteer just sent me: 




And here is a picture of those puppies we took in who are growing up! 


jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2016

Good-Bye My Sweet Viola


When I moved here to the DR from the US almost 9 years ago, I didn´t actually come alone. Someone else came with me who never left my side (except for 8 months in 2010 when she was stolen.. then we found her and stole her back.. hence the "Dog Thieves" portion of the book I published). I got Viola at the end of my freshman year at VT at a free spay and neuter clinic in Viola, TN. I went with a cage and prayed for God to give me a dog that would show others his love. She was people shy, sensitive and we both learned to toughen up and defend ourselves by living with traumatized kids with hard hearts. 

Over the years we have stuck it through together and seen many hearts soften and change. Over the past few months she grayed and began walking gingerly. Yesterday we found her peacefully at rest in our neighbor´s yard. I am thankful that she never seemed to get sick or suffer.. just breathed her last after a long and full life. She would´ve turned 13 in March/April. Rest in peace my sweet girl. You will always be my number one canine.

New Little Guy: Wevli

Here are a few FB posts that will explain:

October 12, 2015

In June I posted that Wendy Campbell took in Baby Wevli at a clinic put on by Helping Hands at the school in Padre Granero when she saw he was near death. She has nursed him back to health. At one year old he weighed 6 lbs. just before his 1st birthday (his hospital paper shows he was 4.5 lbs. at birth), and he now weighs 18 lbs at 1 year, 3 months. Thank God for you and your decision to act, Wendy.

6 lbs. at 1 year.

 
Gaining weight quickly with Wendy Campbell who nursed him back to health.


July 4, 2016

This is our new little guy, Wevli. Today is his second birthday. I posted before about my friend Wendy who took him in a year ago and nursed him back to health from near starvation. He has been with us for six months now and is such a joy. Happy birthday, Wevli!!

Dressed up by Jeres.

Maraya, Jeres, Wevli, Yenilove (in our past rental house)

Napping at Villa Carolina