Written Monday, March 7, 2011
Today the water ran out. I knew it was coming, but had no clue what we’d do when it did. I bathed this morning, and left as much as I could for the others in the family, but it still wasn’t much to work with, even for one other person, let alone three. I used the bathroom and washed my hands as much as I had to at the Entrena (our training center), not knowing what would befall me upon returning home. When I got there, I chilled out for a good while with Doña Mari, my little sisters, a neighbor and her son. Then the neighbor and Doña Mari said they were going to go to the cistern for water. “Is there water there?” I asked her. “Hope so.” “What if there’s not?” “If there’s not, then there’s not,” she stated without the slightest sense of urgency. I was a little concerned, but at the same time, I tried to maintain my cool. Afterall, they live like this year-round. I’ve been here all of a week.
Don Martín and Doña Mari left with two large buckets. I asked the neighbor all the water questions I’d been itching to probe Doña Mari with for days, but didn’t know how to without coming off as a spoiled, ungrateful American: “How often does the water come?” “We don’t know. There’s no schedule.” “Did it come because of the rain from last night?” “No, not because of the rain; it just comes.” “Who controls the water? Is it government-controlled or is it private?” “…..No sé.” After about 10 minutes or so, we saw Doña Mari downstairs walking back. “This has to be a good sign,” I thought. If there were no water, they’d both be walking back. She looked up at us, gave a smile, and lifted her hands in victory. “Eyyy!!” we cheered.
When Doña Mari got back upstairs the neighbor asked her, “Who controls the water?” Doña Mari thought for a moment. “I’m not sure,” she replied. “How much water is there?” I asked her. “Solo un chin [Just a little bit],” she responded. Don Martín came upstairs and dumped the two buckets in the large trash container we store water in, and repeated this several times. “Thank you, Jesus for water!” I thought to myself. I’ve never been so glad to see water in a trash can. And I thought about how much water I must have wasted every day in the U.S. from showers short and long, and letting the faucet run when I brushed my teeth or even washed my hands. Then I thought about how nice a hot, long shower with running water and a powerful shower head would be. lol But quickly snapped out of it, because I’ve only been out of North Carolina for a week. I then thought about how crazy it was that we were surrounded by endless water on this island, but still had to wait for it to “come.” To reflect on it now, I think this water situation brings a whole new meaning to the account of Jesus’s interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well (John chapter 4). Jesus told her that if she drank from the water that he offered, she’d never thirst again. I always considered this story in terms of Jesus saying that he satisfies and quenches our every thirst or need. I still think this is in line, but perhaps moreso now, I think of it in terms of Hebrews 9:23-26. When we are in Christ, we no longer have a need for someone to go back to God to make a sacrifice for our sin year after year after year with the blood of a goat or turtle dove without imperfections. Instead we have the blood of the sinless Lamb of God pleading on our behalf always; a one-time deed that continually petitions the forgiveness of our sins. There is no running out of water, and having to go back to the well, or cistern; there is no more thirst for the forgiveness of sins. The work and toil that replenishes our constant need for forgiveness from and peace with God was fully accomplished once and for all with what Jesus did on the cross. Praise God!
After dinner, Martín taught me how to play poker (the third time I’ve learned), and I’m more confused now than I was before because of the Spanish. Then he showed me some card tricks. I have no clue how he did them, but they worked almost every time! Tomorrow he’s going to teach me how to do them.
My Peace Corps “homework” for tomorrow was to bring in a Dominican recipe to our language class. I got Doña Mari’s help on this one, and when she was describing units of measurement and foods, I realized how much further I have to go in Spanish if I want to be as fluent in it as I am in English. My goal is to be the same person in Spanish that I am in English, and that includes knowing words like “teaspoon” and “celery.” When we were going over the recipe (and after we danced a bit of merengue in the house), I realized (1) how good it was to be living with a family again since I’d lived by myself for about three years back home, and (2) that I’m very glad that I’m living in Latin America with the Peace Corps to be able to build up such a foundation in dominicanismo while at the same time adjusting to the cultural differences. Had I simply come to Latin America to live and work on my own, I would have had to dive in head first, and I think it all would have hit me a lot harder.
In other news, I took a wipe and cleared some of the ants from their never-ending trail in our kitchen (since they leave a trail that the other ants can smell in order to follow). They immediately got disoriented and for a while had no idea where to go. This victory was short-lived, as they quickly regrouped, and are now once again on their path to whatever trash buffet serves their every pleasure tonight. And lastly, the kitchen mouse made another appearance.
I can’t end another blog post like that, so let’s review some other notes of import: (1) I now turn around/respond to someone hissing at me (not necessarily a sign of disrespect at all); (2) I can’t WAIT to wash my hair, although, I still haven’t figured out logistically how I will; (3) Today in training we talked about all things mosquitoes, water and diarrhea. Long story short, you never EVER want dengue. (4) I’ve very recently discovered that I LOVE coffee…or at least Dominican coffee. It is REEEEEALLLLY GOOD. (5) I miss my family, friends and church a lot. I think about you guys every day and love you much! Please remember me in prayer.