lovelikeheloves

Love Always

Simplicity

Happy New Year! Excuse the tardiness with this post, I was way too excited to be home for Christmas that I forgot to write a post for December. I know, I know, you missed my funny and charming post for a month, but look at you, you survived!

So as I contemplated this month’s entry, I realized that though I have written about what I am doing here, I haven’t written much about where I am doing it. In this month’s entry, I will attempt to give you insight into the lives of the beautiful people I am blessed to work with and the place they call home.

So everyone knows I am currently living in the Dominican Republic. Yes, it is an incredibly beautiful country. Yes, I’ve been blessed enough to see some of the most lovely parts of this country during my time here. However, by no means is that part of my daily life. Living in this developing country has changed the way I see the world. I mean, how could it not?

I work in a batey (pronounced bah-tey). Bateys were created in the 1930s when sugar was a profitable industry in the Dominican Republic. Cane cutters were needed to harvest the sugar crop and company towns sprang up to house seasonal workers who arrived from Haiti to work the sugar harvest. Over time, some workers remained and put down roots in the bateys. However, the Dominican government has denied them and their families citizenship since they are Haitian immigrants. Therefore, many of our kids are undocumented, though they were born in the Dominican Republic. Since the cane industry has dried up, residents of the batey look for work wherever they can find it. These bateys are now some of the poorest areas in the Dominican Republic.DSCF1630

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These are some pictures of the Batey I work in. Most houses have one bedroom (maybe two), no running water, and inconsistent electricity. Most homes also house several generations of family members. And yet, I was walking around the Batey the other day and the kids were so proud to show me their home. One of my girls took me by the hand and said “profe, esa es mi casa” as she pointed to a one bedroom shack. Like I’ve said before, it is incredibly humbling working here. I’ve gotten used to hearing the kids say “ho hay luz” or “no hay agua” (“there’s no light” or “there’s no water) which is something that might sound crazy to some people. What I find crazy is how we take these things for granted when they are readily available to us. We go to turn on the light switch and assume the light will come on or turn the faucet and assume water will come out, but what if it didn’t? I saw a little girl the other day (she was maybe 3) fill up a water jug, carry it over and dump it into a plastic bin. I’m assuming she was going to take a shower but I had to leave before I saw what she was filling it up for. Nonetheless, that image stuck with me. Like I said earlier, how could living here not change the way I see the world?

The people here live quite simply and are some of the most joy-filled people I’ve met. They are fighters. They are persistent. They do not give up. They have taught me how to be stronger and continue to inspire me to be a better person. As I embark on my last 6 months here, I continue to ask for your prayers. Not for myself, but for these people, my people, who show me every day that Jesus is alive and works in us.

No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

1 John 4:12

Love always,

Gabby

P.S. Happy birthday to my seester Monty who turns the big ## on the 7th of Feb. You should love me even more now that I didn’t blast your age on here. Haha love you! Hope you have an amazing day!

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