Rich in Spirit

It’s hard to believe this but we are now halfway through our trip… How can that possibly be?? Rachel Johnson and I were talking yesterday as we walked around the ILAC track how weird it was going to be to settle back into life in Omaha when we get home next Friday night. We’ve only been here 4 ish whole days and I have fallen completely in love with this place and more importantly its people.

Yesterday was our second and final day in Cien Fuegos, the neighborhood in which Pedro has transformed the lives of so many. It was an incredible day for many reasons, and also incredibly difficult to let myself get back on the bus at the end of the day. We decided to take the entire day at Cien Fuegos rather than coming back to ILAC for lunch in hopes that we could maximize the last day we had there and get all the shots we needed. I think Tim would agree, we definitely got some amazing shots.

The morning was so much fun as Peter, Scott, Morgan and I split off from the rest of the group to go shoot footage down a different road in Cien Fuegos. I was enthralled with all that I saw. It took us nearly 30 minutes to get 100 yards, letting ourselves become a part of the culture we really were on Dominican time. The coolest part was Pedro, aka Peter talking with so many people outside on their front steps. As soon as he explained what we were doing they were all more than willing to let us film them, welcoming us into their space, a herd of gringos, completely invading their lives and yet they were totally okay with that.

We got some amazing shots of a young man playing guitar, completely impromptu and absolutely incredible. We got his signature, you know, just in case. 😉 Then in the afternoon we got more interviews but the best part was that we all sat around and purposefully listened to the interviews, learning about the people who had so willingly opened their home to us. Listening to the role of the church within the community I was in awe at the faith of these people who had so little. We have so much and yet rarely give as much thanks and praise for any of it. It was extremely humbling.

Leaving Cien Fuegos last night was extremely hard. This neighborhood was more than the run down homes, trash in the street and dirty clothes which seemed so jarring when we first arrived. The people of Cien Fuegos may not have the material goods we’re accustomed to in the United States but after hearing their stories, it is apparent that the spirit and hope of these people is what makes them truly rich. The love they have for one another and God is apparent in all that they do. I hope to never forget the emotions I’ve felt while with them.

As emotionally tiring as the last couple days have been, this entire next week is going to be equally tough as we travel to Dajabon tomorrow to the Haitian border and then the Campo (a Dominican village) on Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll update again Monday night when we get back from our adventures at the market at the border. Until then, I love you all!

– a.e.

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