After 50 hours of travel and layovers we have made it home. Early this morning as we prepared for our flight from New York, our family discussed best and worst moments of our trip. We thought we would share these moments for our blog friends.
Grace – One of my favorite moments was meeting our sponsored child, Hannah. Not only was the day fun because we got to hold crocodiles and ride camels, but we also got to share this amazing day with Hannah. She was very shy but we could tell this was a really big day for her too.
Julia – One of my favorite moments of this whole trip was when we went to the Jericho project on Saturday and taught the kids how to play kickball. That was one of my favorite moments because it’s a game almost everyone in the USA knows. So teaching them this game was very inspirational in a way that I can’t describe. The kids were so excited and happy to learn this new game and to play with us.
Isabel – My favorite moment was when we went to the first project and all the kids surrounded me. All the kids wanted me to take a picture of them. I was so happy that they wanted to be around me and it made me happy that they were all smiling, even though they were so poor.
Patricia- One of my favorite moments was at the Dendora project (AIDS and HIV focus). Grace needed to go to the bathroom so the project worker had to take us across the street to the school where all the kids were attending. As the project worker unlocked the gates to the school to allow our entry, the kids instantly mobbed us with hugs, smiles, laughter and squeals of joy. These kids were especially drawn to Grace with her blond hair and her kid status. She received Rock Star treatment. The project leader led us around to the back of the school where there was a creaky old outhouse and all 150 kids followed along. As Grace tried to make her way into this tiny little outhouse (to use the squatty potty), it dawned on me that she would have to do her business with 150 kids surrounding her. Only a few old boards hammered together to create this outhouse separated Grace from the 150 kids. Grace played it cool as she casually entered the outhouse but I knew we needed a plan to divert the kids so Grace could pee in peace. My plan was to use my Swahili as a diversion. Sure enough my plan worked and my Swahili got the usual laughs and attention from the kids. So then I asked the kids to sing. So the kids serenaded Grace outside of the outhouse. When Grace came out, she had a big smile on her face. I thought that was amazing considering she had just pee’d in a hole (squatty potty) while 150 kids sang to her.
Stephen – My favorite moment was on a home visit at the Dendora project. We had driven to the project in several minivans and a group of us guys decided to travel together and call it the “man van.” For the home visit we stayed in that same group, so a big pile of American men headed off to the home of a 12 year old girl. I was very concerned for her that we wouldn’t intimidate her and I couldn’t figure out how we could help her feel comfortable. Once we all got seated in this tiny home, she began reading her “Hero” book to us. (As a part of her therapy her counselor had spent the last several months helping her create this book.) The opening page read something like this, “My name is Sarah, my hero is my mom, my mom died of AIDS, I don’t have a hero anymore.” For the next 10-15 minutes she went on to talk about her best memories, her worst memories, things she has overcome, etc. As you can imagine, it was overwhelming emotionally. The crazy part was that this little girl who had lost both her parents to AIDS, had traveled with her two brothers from Uganda to live with their grandmother in Kenya had the confidence to stand in front of all of us and communicate these very difficult truths with confidence and hope for the future. Her plan for the future is to become a scientist and find the cure for AIDS. How great is that!! It was in that home visit that we all saw very clearly that Compassion worked. We are helping kids who should have no hope for the future to have hopes and dreams. It works!
The Jones Girls – Our worst moment on the trip for all of us girls was on the same day we were at the AIDS project. We started blowing bubbles outside the church building on the dirt road and a bunch of kids came over to play with us, but a man who was drunk showed up and started swatting the kids away in a violent way. Quickly we were ushered back into the church for safety. As we were driving away from the project that day, the neighborhood kids started to gather around the van to say goodbye. All of a sudden the drunk man came back and started chasing away the kids. We watched with horror as one of the kids fell and the drunk guy walked over and started hitting and kicking the child. The child was able to scramble to his feet and run away. Meanwhile, we were in a van with all females so we were not allowed to get out and help. We all just watched with great sadness. It was a horrible image imprinted in our minds and demonstrated just how dangerous the slums are.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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Glad you made it home!!! I loved following along all week and holy cow!!!!( i mean not in a massai kind of holy cow way but wow!!! Your girls have all grown up!!!
so glad you guys are safe and sound at home. much love to you and get some rest!!
Welcome home Jones!! I loved following along with this. Ive checking off and on the last couple days,waiting for your updates.Thanks for taking us all with you….its been a blessing and cant wait to hear more about the trip!! See ya Sunday!