Questions and Answers

This week I received a handful of cards and notes from the GO! Girls class at First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale, AZ. These girls are in grades 3-6 and were learning about missions one night in class. They decided to write me some encouraging notes which also included a lot of great questions. Below are the answers that I sent to them. I thought that some of you might want to know the answers as well, so I’m sharing my responses here. 
Ismerai asked: What is your favorite hobby? Do you play sports?
My favorite hobbies are playing the piano, singing, reading, and baking. It is hard to bake here because the humidity in the air makes all the cakes and cookies turn out very gooey and runny. But I figured out that if you add a little more flour and a little less oil, it usually works pretty great! I love to play softball and baseball is a BIG deal in the Dominican Republic. Everyone loves to play!
Keila asked: What do you eat? Do you have electricity? Do you love church?
In the Dominican Republic, we eat a LOT of rice and beans. I eat rice and beans every single day! We also eat a lot of platanos, which are kind of like a mix between a banana and a potato. We also eat chicken several times a week. When you buy a chicken at the store here, it was probably killed just that morning. It is very fresh and it still looks like a chicken, just without the feathers. You have to cut off the toenails and the feet and the neck, and some people even like to eat those parts!
We have electricity in Monte Plata for most of the day. But usually the electricity goes out once every morning and once every afternoon. So in the middle of school, the lights will go out and the fans will turn off and it gets very hot. But everyone keeps on teaching and learning! All the classrooms have a LOT of windows to let the sunshine in even when the electricity is out. I’m glad we have electricity most of the time during the night because it is VERY hot here and it’s hard to sleep without a fan blowing on you!
I love my church here. It is much smaller than First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale. We go to church on Wednesdays for a prayer service, Fridays for Bible study, Saturdays for youth night, and Sundays for regular church. Sometimes the electricity goes out during church too and everyone just keeps on singing!
Cassie asked: What is going on in the DR?
Right now in Monte Plata, the kids are learning a lot of math and reading. They are also working on sponsorship projects. Each student at my school has a sponsor in North America or in England who is giving $39 every month in order to help this child have a better education and a better life. 4 times a year, our students make a project to send to their sponsor to tell them how they’re doing and to say “thank you.” So right now the kids are working on their projects to send for Christmas! They are making tree ornaments in the shape of the Dominican Republic. They are pretty cool!
Kimberly asked: What do you do when you’re bored? When you want to go somewhere, do you take a car or walk?
I usually read when I am bored. I read almost every day here, especially in the afternoons when it is too hot to do anything else! I usually read in English but sometimes I read in Spanish too.
In Monte Plata, most people do not have cars. Most people have motorcyles or they walk everywhere they go. Most of the teachers and almost all of the kids at my school walk to work each day, even when it’s raining or when it’s really hot. The women walk with umbrellas to keep away the rain and the sun. Sometimes people ride together on motorcyles. I’ve seen little babies on motorcycles and groups of 4 people riding on motorcylces together! If you want to go to another city, you usually take a bus.
Lottie asked: Do you like your town? Do you have lots of friends?
The town of Monte Plata is really great. The people here are very friendly! Everyone is willing to share what they have with you. There’s also an ice cream shop that is fun to visit! My town is pretty small, but it is only about an hour away from the capital city of Santo Domingo. So if you want to do some shopping, it’s only an hour away. There’s also a beautiful river 20 minutes away that we go swimming in sometimes.
I am making more and more friends every day. My roommate Nadelly was my first friend here. I am also friends with 3 other missionaries who live here, all the people at my church, tand he other teachers at the school. The Dominican people are known for being very friendly which is such a blessing for me!
Julia asked: What is it like to live there?
Life in Monte Plata is very different from live in Arizona. First, it rains almost every single day. So there are a lot of green plants and everything is always wet. It is also different because you can’t drink the water here. You can’t even brush your teeth with the water here! You have to drink, wash your food, brush your teeth, and cook with clean water that comes from a bottle. Another thing that is different is the school day. The students here only go to school for half a day! So they go home right after lunch and the whole city takes a “siesta” from about 12:00-2:30. It is so hot here that businesses shut down and most people go home and take a nap during that time.
Laura asked: How much do you know in Spanish? Is it fun teaching? What is the weather like?
Yo sé mucho español porque estoy usando español cada día. Enseño en español, voy de compras en español, hablo en español con mis amigos, leo la Biblia en español en la iglesa – ¡todo! Le doy gracias a Dios por la oportunidad a estudiar español en escuela en Arizona porque ahora Dios está usando algo que yo aprendí como niña para ayudar a otros a conocer a Dios. ¡Es muy chulo! (I know a lot of Spanish because I am using Spanish every day. I teach in Spanish, I go shopping in Spanish, I talk in Spanish with my friends, I read the Bible in Spanish at church – everything! I give thanks to God for the opportunity to study Spanish in school in Arizona because now God is using something that I learned as a child to help others find God. It’s really cool!
Teaching is very fun! I have always loved teaching helping kids learn. Teaching here is different than teaching in Arizona, but I still love it. I am only teaching math here, but I am teaching all the grades from preschool through 8th grade. It’s pretty fun!
The weather here is hot and humid. Lately the temperature has been in the high 80’s or mid 90’s, but with 70% – 90% humidity, so it feels much hotter than that. It rains almost every afternoon. Because of the humidity, things are always wet here. Papers, towels, clothes, your hair – everything is usually a little damp!