Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy 37th, I mean 36th Birthday, David

You know you are getting older when you can no longer remember what age you are turning.
This year David spent his birthday presenting a case at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.
So on Sunday when he returned the house was decorated, dinner was cooking, and the cake and candles were ready to go. I mentioned how he was turning 37 and he said that he was only 36.  I was certain that he was 37. I had bought a 3 and a 7 so there was no fudging one candle off the cake to hide my mistake. We laughed and decided that we would just have to get 2 years use out of them. 

Happy Birthday David! The love of my life!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

International Peace Gardens

While my dad was in town we drove up to the Canadian border to visit the International Peace Gardens.  It was a fun trip. The garden and monuments were beautiful.  The chapel was filled with quotes from people from all over the world. It was a very tranquil peaceful place.  I definitely want to go again and take David and the rest of the kids. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Santo Domingo Temple--DR day 6

The morning before we left we got a chance to visit the Santo Domingo Temple.  It was beautiful and peaceful and wonderful.  A great way to finish the  week.  We really enjoyed our time here.  David worked hard and did a lot of good.  As always it is so much fun to see a new place, meet new people, and experience a different culture. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hogar Mercedes de Jesus DR-Day 5

Today I visited a Catholic orphanage and school.
It is run by 3 sweet nuns who have dedicated their lives to providing a nice home, education, and upbringing to these children who have been abondoned.  It was clean, orderly, decorated, full of books and supplies.  The children were calm and happy.  I was able to spend a couple of  hours here reading to the children, playing Bingo, and eating lunch.  All the childrens beds were made, the rooms were picked up, they had 2 cute chihuahuas running around, the children were sitting nicely at their desks. At lunch they all ate together.  They wait for everyone to arrive, bless the food, and then sit and eat nicely all together.  I was amazed that all 25 children sat for 30 minutes eating, talking quietly.  The nuns sat at their own table.  The older children helped the younger children.  It was awesome to see how love and discipline can make such a nice environment.

Taking notes for the wild ones back home....

 Front of the home and school

 Even the dogs were well behaved.  Seriously these nuns are amazing.

 Beds made.

 Stuff animals in place

 Sitting nicely at school

 Happy children!

 These were the 2 little girls I spent the most time with.
They were in their beds sick, but not really too sick.
We read a bunch of books and I had to apologize for my terrible Spanish accent.
They didn't seem to mind.
We played Bingo and then had a little photo session.
They loved taking pictures and seeing themselves.
We had to redo Emily's hair after she saw the first picture because she didn't like how it looked.

 Here are the kids at lunch.

 The nuns told me that these to children fall asleep everyday during lunch.
They said it was the meat that makes them tired.
I went to go hold the little boy because he was crying and waking up a bit.
I asked the nun if she wanted me to go put him in his bed.
She said no.  They always play a little after they eat then go down for their siesta.
She stood him up, he opened his eyes, and seriously ran outside to play.
I have never seen a child rally so quickly.
They were so cute.

This is the mama chihuahua--Susi
She has a funny back leg. The way she walks it looks like it is broken.
She recently gave birth and her baby has a funny leg.
They are so cute limping around together.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Salcedo--Las Hermanas Mirabel DR-Day 4

Today we traveled two hours north to visit the home of the Mirabel sisters.
The Mirabel sisters are the heroines of the Domincan Republic.
It was because of their bravery the country was able to escape the control of the 30 year dictatorship of Trujillo.  You can read their story here or watch the movie In the Time of Butterflies starring Selma Hayek.
I honestly cannot believe we actually got to meet the one surviving sister, Dede Mirabel, in person.
It was amazing!  She lets people stop into her home and she talks about her sisters and her life taking care of the children after her sisters were killed.  She said the question that she is most often asked is "Why weren't you killed? And she always responds, " I lived to tell the story." Truly an amazing woman and an amazing story.

 Dede Mirabel--87 years old
She let us into her home where we talked to her on her veranda that was surrounded with beautiful plants and flowers. 
 Me with Dede Mirabel after she signed her book for me.

 The house where the three sisters lived with their husbands for the last 10 months of their life.

 The home that all 4 sisters grew up in and that Dede still lives in.
This is where we met with her.

 The park down the street from the Mirabel home where butterflies (the symbol of the Mirabel sisters) fly in abundance.

Cute little boys who followed us around the park asking for chiclet (gum).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Around Santo Domingo--DR Day 3

Now I have a bit more time to explain our trip for those wondering.

Our Church does humanitarian service all over the world.
Older married couples called senior missionaries are often called to serve as humanitarian missionaries.  They are sent to places throughout the world.  They spend 1-2 years serving the people wherever they are.  In the humanitarian services of the Church they focus on 5 areas of improving the lives of people-- Food, Water, Neonatal Resucitation, Wheelchairs, and Vision.  Missionary couples look for opportunities to fill these needs in whatever area they reside.  The Church will often buy equipment for hospitals and cliniques. They invite different kinds of eye specialist to come depending on the needs. David has been invited to our past two trips because they needed a Spanish speaking retina specialist. He is able to help make sure the machine is working and that the doctors that will use it have the tools and knowledge to use the equipment so they can continue to help the people in that part of  the world.

Last year when we went to Ecuador the Church donated a laser and he was able to train the ophthalmologists how to use it.  This year the Church donated a vitrectomy machine to a diabetic hospital so he came to make sure that the retina specialist here is able to use it.  During both trips he has done surgeries, seen patients, and given lectures. Although David is quite a homebody and lover of the US, he knows the importance of serving others. I on the other hand love trips and want to travel the world so I feel lucky that I get to come as his Companion. I suppose we make a good pair.  He has the skills and I have the desire to go.  I spend most of my days with the senior couple we visit hospitals, schools, as well as popular tourist sites.

So day 3 we continued around Santo Domingo
This is the market with vegetables grown in the nearby fincas

 Huge bags of spices

 And fresh meat straight from the slaughter house, yowee

 Dropped by the stinky chicken coop

 Always a wonder how electricity works here and even more of a wonder that no one is killed by the  hanging wire.  Also so impressed with the men who work on these lines and can make sense of that..
We visited this public school.  It was a very poor school. One classroom for each grade, no running water, no air, no fans, no play area.  The kids were squished into their classrooms. It was so hot all the kids were sweating.
5th graders learning French. The teacher stands at the back of the  classroom because there is no room by the board.  Also it is a little cooler by the door.

Old desks stacked in the corner of the play ground


This is an underground cave in the city called Tres Ojo.
There are 3 underground lakes that are fed by a fresh spring.

The water is cool and clear.

This man's job is to climb to the side of the cave and dive off.
Pretty sweet job.
I think Jared would be awesome at this.

The hidden lake.  We had to take a raft across the lake in the cavern to this lake.

Here it is from above

This is the Faro de Colon.  A museum honoring Christopher Columbus.
It is in the shape of a cross. Big, huge, concrete cross.  Kind a big obnoxious looking building.
The locals told us that at night it is very beautiful because it is all lit up and you can see the cross in the sky.  However, the ladrones (thieves) keep stealing the lights so its not very bright....