asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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A sudsy experience

sudsy spongeIn 10 days, we will be returning to our passport country.  As expected, we have a million and one emotions surrounding this.  We are closing out and transferring leadership of our ministries, slowly saying goodbyes, and reflecting on our time here.  We have been writing down different experiences that we have had- some good, some bad, some funny, some sad.  Mo suggested that I begin sharing them.

Here is a funny one for you:

When you stop at a red light in this country, you will be bombarded with vendors selling various items- windshield wipers, sunglasses, fruit, water, chicken shaped wooden holders to store your eggs, etc.  The one thing that bothers me the most is the windshield washers.  They sneak up out of nowhere and squirt your windshield with dirty water.  Then, you have no choice but to allow them to wash your windshield, and you have to pay them.  Mind you, it is typically only about 20 pesos (equivalent to about 50 cents US).  However, it happens at every single red light…even if your windshield is already clean.

(In defense of the windshield washers, many of them are homeless teens that are just trying to get enough money to eat. We didn’t know that when we arrived here though.)

So…

In the beginning, we had a friend tell us, “If you don’t want your windshield washed, then turn on your windshield wipers, and they will leave you alone.”

During our very first outing as a family, we decided to venture out of our little community and drive the hour or so to the grocery store.  We were sitting at a red light waiting to turn left into the store when out of nowhere comes a windshield washer.  Mo turns on his wipers and…

…THE GUY LIFTS IT UP SO IT IS FLAPPING IN THE AIR!

We were like…”But she told us they would leave us alone. Now we have a wiper just flapping in the wind, and the guy won’t stop washing our windshield!”

All of our windows are up but Mo starts yelling “No, gracias, No!”

THE GUY CONTINUES…

Mo then bangs on the windshield AND IT CRACKS (because that car was so janky)! And…

THE GUY CONTINUES…

Mo then rolls his window down and tells the guy to stop. And…

THE GUY HITS MO IN THE FACE WITH HIS DIRTY SUDSY SPONGE!!!!

Suds go all over the inside of the car,

on the girls and I,

and…

We just start screaming…

“GO, JUST GO!  WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!!”

Mind you…this is our very first experience out on our own!

We pull into the grocery store parking lot and just sit there for a second.  We are all shaking and so thankful to have NOT DIED!!!

Hahahaha…we laugh so hard about it now though!

So there’s one!


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Turmeric

a-pile-of-fresh-turmeric-roots

This may seem like a random post but I wanted to share the amazing benefits that I have experienced with Turmeric. Living in the Caribbean, we tend to get various little tropical diseases.  Yay, us!  After the outbreak of chikungunya a few years ago, we are all still feeling the aftereffects. The main symptom that I continue to have is joint pain.  Often, my hands and feet just ache.  I am also struggling with jacked up neck and back issues, which have nothing to do with chikungunya.  My neck and back are so bad now that I wake up throughout the night with numbness in my arms, hands, feet, and legs.

During a recent bout with my back, I began researching natural ways to relieve inflammation. Over and over, my research lead me to turmeric.  I actually already had some ground turmeric that I bought while visiting the states, so I thought that I would try it.  Guys…seriously, it worked miracles.

I mixed up a tea recipe that included turmeric, ginger, lemon, and honey. Within 20 minutes of drinking the tea, much of my pain had gone away.  It truly felt like some of the inflammation was being relieved.  I made a large mason jar of the tea so that I could continue to use it to reduce the inflammation.

Normally, when I throw my back out, I am down for almost a week and wake throughout the night in pain.  I drank the tea twice a day for two days. While using turmeric (as opposed to ibuprofen), I was only down for about a day and half, and I slept well throughout the night.  I am definitely sold on the benefits of using this natural remedy. I will continue to use it for the residual joint pain left from chikungunya as well.

Here are some of the benefits of turmeric:

turmeric

Have you used turmeric?  If so, what benefits have you experienced? Do you have any recipes to share?

Edit:  I have gotten a few requests to share the tea recipe.  I added coconut oil to mine to help with absorption: Turmeric tea for inflammation


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Getting a mammogram Part 1

IMG_6154Occasionally, when we go to the Capital, we will get a pedicure or get a shampoo and blow dry.  It’s a little luxury that we allot for ourselves, a way for us to experience a little of our past lives in the States.  To get a pedicure that includes that most fabulous foot massage ever is only 500 pesos…the equivalent to about $11 US.  A shampoo and blow dry is only 250 pesos…the equivalent to about $5.50 US.

IMG_6222

I was just thinking the other day how this country has that figured out.  Every woman feels better when she is able to pamper herself occasionally.  These prices are affordable for most all social economic groups, which I think is genius!  In the states, we pay 3 or 4 X the cost for these same services.

Do you know what they don’t have figured out?  Health care for women.  I know that most could agree that the US struggles in this area as well.  I haven’t had a mammogram since I moved here 2.5 years ago, and am at high risk for breast cancer due to family history.  I knew it was time to be responsible and get this done.  I am sure that I could have found a doctor in the Capital that would charge a little more and possibly offered a better service.  However, I wanted to understand what my girlfriends had to experience in order to get health care.

As I was talking to my dear friend, Morena, she stated that she was needing to get a mammogram too.  We decided to go together to do this….because, clearly:Friends mamo pic

She knew of a clinic in a community about 20 minutes away that offers mammograms, and it only cost 1000 pesos, which is equivalent to a little over $22 US.  I was blown away by this!  In the US, I think that I still had to pay over $200 AFTER my insurance had paid a large amount of it!IMG_6448

We made a plan to leave early on Thursday morning to beat the crowd.  Unfortunately, they don’t take appointments.  It’s a “first come, first serve” basis.  We left at 7:30 because the clinic opens at 8:00.  When we got there, we only had to wait for about 5 people to fill out their paperwork ahead of us.  Maybe I should stop for a second and explain that this clinic offers numerous services, like echocardiograms, sonograms, dental care, and braces, as well as mammograms.  Yes, that all makes sense!  Now, if they could only offer veterinarian care for my goats, and mechanical care for my truck, I could totally get into this.  One stop shopping, baby!IMG_6447

Once we got up to the front desk, the lady said “We only do mammograms on Fridays from 9:00-12:00”.  Ok, then…

Morena decides that she is going to call that afternoon to make sure they are doing mammograms the following day and to try to get an appointment.  They “don’t take appointments but are doing mammograms tomorrow”, they say.

We left today at 8:00 because the clinic starts taking patients at 9:00 for mammograms.  When we get to the front desk, the lady says, “La doctora no viene”, which means “The doctor did not come.”  That’s all…no other explanation!  She did tell us that we could come back tomorrow…that they are going to do mammograms on Saturday…

I don’t even know what to think about all of this.  I think about all the times that I have complained about having to wait 15-30 minutes for my doctor in the States…in a plush, air conditioned, carpeted waiting area with magazines and television.  If the doctor “no viene”, I got a phone call.  When you have an appointment, then they have your number to call you.  That luxury does not exist for this clinic.  It’s so hard for me to wrap my brain around it.  These ladies have to pay a lot of money just to get to the clinic…only to be turned away…and return again…and possibly again, but they do it because they need health care.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.~~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Not one time did I see anyone get angry or share a cross word.  These women teach me everyday how to be strong in spirit, trust in the Lord, and show His love even in difficult situations.  I have so much more to learn from them!

I am not able to go tomorrow or next week, so we are going to try again in 2 weeks.  Cross your fingers, throw salt over your shoulder, and pray that we will be seen and that “la doctora viene”!