I arrived safely! Luckily, when I showed up to the Pittsburgh airport (at 3:30 am) there were 35 others in neon orange shirts that say “Meeting God in Missions”… Shirts that they had to change out of before customs since missionary groups are often targeted by officials. Once in the Dominican, we had to weave through a mob of taxi drivers before locating two others in the Orange shirts. We all crammed onto a small bus and two hours later arrived at the MGM Compound near Hato Mayor where we were greeted by swarms of mosquitos and a very dirty Pastor Rick (director of MGM).
Our daily schedule:
6:00 Wake up! (I am staying in a dormitory with 60 people packed into tight rows of bunk beds so there is no need to set an alarm.)
6:45 Worship (Good Little Giants, a Christian band, leads us in songs and then Pastor Paul gives a lesson for the day)
8:00 Breakfast! (Usually eggs and oatmeal)
9:00 Leave for the Bateyes (We travel in cattle trucks anywhere from 10 to 80 minutes to reach the Bateyes which are often deep in the sugar cane fields and only assessable by a dirt road.)
Once we arrive in the Batey we split up between medical, children’s ministry, and prayer walk. Medical is always located in the church. We typically have 3-4 doctors, 2-3 nurses or EMTs (me) doing triage and taking vitals, 3-4 translators (translating both Spanish and Creole) and 10 additional helpers who help run our “pharmacy” and organize the villagers. We usually treat 150-200 people a day with only taking a short break for lunch. Needless to say, it is exhausting work!
~3:30 Return to MGM Compound
5:30 Dinner!! (Varies each night but often a meat, rice, bread and fried plantains)
7:00 Depart for church (Those who want to leave to go to a local worship service in town. Dominican services are often very loud and very long with a lot of singing, dancing and shouting!)
11:00 Lights out (I usually fall asleep closer to 9:30/10:00.)
Lastly, thank you to the Middlebury Community Engagement CCCS grant for funding part of my trip!
More to come soon! (Also please excuse any typos. I am writing this from an iPad amongst a lot of craziness!)