A Weekend in the DR

by David, Vanguard

After a week of serving at our worksites, we had a chance to experience the land, culture, and faith of the Dominican Republic over the weekend.  Here is a little taste of what we were up to.

Saturday morning, we started the day by driving into the mountains around Jarabacoa for a hike to the Upper Falls waterfall. As soon as we piled out of the open back of our truck, we started on the trail. The beginning of the hike was relatively easy and flat. Before long, the path became steep, zigzagging back and forth down the mountain. Once we neared the bottom, the trees cleared enough to where you could see the waterfall from a distance, a small but steady stream of water running off a hundred-foot cliff. After setting down bags, most of us decided to swim out to the base of the waterfall. The pool was ice-cold, but it was worth it to get to feel the powerful spray of the water tumbling down. Afterwards, we dried off on the rocks and ate our lunch in view of falls.

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Vanguards taking in the falls and going for a swim

Later that afternoon, all of us took a trip into downtown Jarabacoa. For two hours we got to walk around town, look in souvenir stores, and buy Dominican coffee and other national foods at a grocery store. We also stopped at a bakery and had a had a chance to buy amazing cake and doughnuts. At 6:00, we walked to a restaurant where we were served mulfungo, a dish of fried plantains (similar to bananas) topped pork, chicken, vegetables, and cheese. Once dinner was done, we stopped by an ice cream store for dessert.

Sunday morning we got to have the unique experience of joining worship and listening to a sermon at a Dominican church nearby the base. It was great to see how absorbed people were in praising God. Also, getting to hear the Word of God preached in a different language was challenging (waiting for translations) but amazing at the same time, realizing all the truths that we share in our beliefs, despite our differences.

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David working with a patient at Physical Therapy

Going into our second week in the D.R., we will all be returning to our worksites. I’ll be serving with Ben at the physical therapy site helping to massage and assist with exercise for patients who are recovering from injuries. We are all excited to see what God has to teach us as we continue to live with, work with, and serve the Dominicans.

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