As we exited the can onto the streets of innercity Jarabacoa, they were paved with cracked tiles, dirt, and remenants of the people that had travled them before us. Sounds of motorcycles and honking horns, kids playing in the streets, and the occasional barking of dogs filled the air; sounds of life here in Jarabacoa. The air was clouded with a heavy, mixed combination of humidity, and smells..mainly fresh fruit and burning trash.
Our first stop was to drop off one of the girls we work with at her home. Nana, around 12 years old, happily lead us through the streets to where she lived. As we passed through tight dirt alleyways, littered in trash, we finally reached her home.
Quietly we approached a small structure, hidden by other small shack-like structures, from the main road. We realized we had reached our destination. As Nana entered, she smiled as she invited all 21 of us girls inside. With content, she pulled back curtains that divided a standard-US-bedroom-sized room...which revealed a kitchen, and three cots. Through the middle of the concrete room was a string, used for drying clothes.
With a heard filled with joy and greatfulness, Nana opened up her home to us. I could not help but fight to hold back my emotions; not only did the conditions break my heart, but even more so the complete love and content that was pouring into us through Nana's welcome.
As we traveled around the city to drop off more girls, the reactions of the families were the same. All greeted with a kiss and a hug, we were accepted happily and thankfully into their homes...they all offered what they had to us. Today I am filled with a overwelming feeling of thankfulness for the blessings God has given us. Surrounded by people that love me, and the comfort of having somewhere to sleep, food on the table, and my loving God are more than enough to quiet my heart. Looking forward to meeting more families and experiencing the mercy and grace of God as the week goes on.
P.S. The storm passed, it barely rained last night and we are safe and sound!