Today is my first full day here in the Dominican Republic, and it's as beautiful as ever. My day of travel yesterday was pretty uneventful. I met a girl on my plane from O'hare who is also coming to Jarabacoa for the summer, but she is doing a 6-week study abroad program through her university. What are the chances of meeting her?! Talking with someone going to the same place was so encouraging to me as this is my first big adventure as an adult and without a big group of travelers with me.
The missionary couple I am helping this summer, Josh and Vicki, went to the hospital Tuesday morning to be induced into labor, so I haven't been able to see them yet. So looking forward to seeing them again and meeting their beautiful new daughter, Julia Marcela :) I got in last night around 9:30 and the caretakers here showed me to my apartment. I'm in a different place than they had planned on putting me, but it's actually better and more private where I'm at, which is awesome.
This morning I went with Brian, the program director here, to visit Los Higos, one of the mountain communities. The ride up that mountain is so worth all of the stress and energy and planning and money that it took to get here. Sorry I don't have a picture, but it is absolutely breathtaking. While Brian fixed the toilet at the social work center there, I talked with the girls and met the summer intern working there. We had lunch at a woman named Mary's house. She's incredible, one of those people who kind of holds the community together and knows and cares for everyone. There are no quick visits here in RD, but I am glad for it. It's nice to just sit and talk, and also to notice how lacking my Spanish skills are, though I'm sure they will come back quickly. I hope.
I got a list of some of my duties this morning. I have quite a bit of office work, stuff with applications and journals. But I think it's a good balance with time spent interacting with people. One of my jobs I'm most excited about is that for a few days each week I will be taking photos of the volunteers at their work sites. This means that I will be out in the community more than I thought I would, and I also like taking pictures. Win-win.
I'm so looking forward this summer to being able to build relationships with people. I know that this place and this experience will once again change me, making me more into the woman that God wants me to be. I can't wait to see what this experience has in store for me :)