Dec 11

Our challenges with how to handle the local kids with an open door policy have come to a head today. We simply can’t provide enough plates, cups, and food to go around and we will have to put some boundaries on it. It’s a struggle though. How does one decide which kids to feed? Which ones are really hungry and which ones are just happy to enjoy some new foods? Do we have a first come, first served policy or try to rotate through all the kids? Should we give priority to the kids who provide more assistance? Should we make meals conditional on doing certain chores? Should we make them share dishes even though we know it may be passing around germs? These are real questions, with difficult answers, that have an immediate impact on their lives and ours. And don’t forget we can’t really communicate with them yet.

We take some consolace in the fact that the kids were surviving without us, and that the TEARS ministry will help out in difficult situations, but the questions are still quite real.

Scrubbing the Rice!

Scrubbing the Rice!

Getting Some Great Help

Getting Some Great Help

To be fair, the kids do their best to help out. They will sweep up, they try to entertain our kids, they are pretty good at cleaning up, they always put away their dishes, and some will even help us cook. One girl, shown in the picture, is particularly helpful and helped Nicole make her first truly Dominican meal today. Rice, Beans, and Chicken although Nicole made it without the beans. I can attest that it was delicious, even if she did leave out the beans. Nicole’s little helper ran to the store a couple times to pickup missing food items, provided direction as appropriate, asked her mom for tips, and pretty much took over cooking the chicken. Of course we let her join us for lunch. It’s a lot of work to put together. For example you can see that Nicole has to scrub the rice clean before it can be used!

Lunch Dominican Style

Lunch Dominican Style

This afternoon we had anywhere from 4-6 kids at any given time. We decided to head out for a walk around our neighborhood and they all tagged along. In fact, even when we stopped at one home for a while they all just hung out on the street and waited for us to come back out. By dinner we simply decided to send them all away and have a little break. We had given many of them a late lunch anyhow.

Frying the Plantains

Frying the Plantains

Then our neighbor below showed up and offered to teach us how to cook platanos-frito (fried plantains). These are made by deep frying pieces of plantain, which itself looks like a green banana but taste more like a potato. In the end you get a round chip that tastes roughly like french fries. The kids loved them, and we enjoyed a quiet candle-lit dinner with friends (cooked and eaten by candlelight).

There was one misshap with school this morning. We missed a note from her school saying that the kids would get out early today. An hour early than usual we had a local boy show up at our door huffing and puffing. He indicated that the kids were out of school and Nicole headed straight over. When she got to the school Ariana was extremely sad and embarrased. So much so that she wouldn’t tell Nicole what had happened until “nobody was around”. It turns out that they did get out early and one of the local boys, who has been a great help to Ariana, was going to bring her home. Un/fortunately the school would not let her leave with someone else. This seemed to really upset her. We’re not sure if it was because she was scared we wouldn’t come, or because her feelings were hurt but she was pretty upset. Only one more day left this week, so hopefully this doesn’t break her streak of leaving us in the morning without a struggle.

Now it’s 10:30 at night, there is some music playing in the background, the fireworks are starting, and it’s time for bed.

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