It is becoming increasingly hard for me to find the right word to describe the last couple days. Upon returning to ILAC from Majagual, the campo we stayed in for the last 2 days, of course everyone wanted to know how it went, but I found myself unwilling to blurt out “it was great!” I can’t quite figure out why this is though. Maybe it was my personal experience in the campo, having trouble being alone rather than with another member of our class, or my lack of any spanish, but I’m struggling to find where this experience fits into my over all experience, what it means, and how I may have been changed.
Being in the campo was extremely difficult, not to say that any of the things we’ve seen this trip have been particularly “easy” at all, but the campo tied it all together, made it more than just a passing glimpse from the gringo bus. Staying in the campo showed us the reality of what these people live day in and day out, year after year, generation after generation. After the discomfort I experienced for the past two days, I am in awe at these people who live it day in and day out. And yet they were so willing to welcome us in.
I’m definitely still processing everything that I saw, everything that I felt and all the different aspects of life I had never considered before going to the campo. I don’t think I’m going to reach any big conclusions soon, nor do I really want to. Sure, it would be nice to have the answers, but if it were that easy, we wouldn’t have people living like this on an unbelievably gorgeous island just a 2 hour boat ride from Miami.
Tonight in reflection however I did draw at least one conclusion. I spent the last couple nights in the home of Gladys, a mother in Majagual. After getting into bed each night she would sit and pray, in spanish obviously, next to me. Both nights I so desperately wanted to make myself sit up and do the same, sit up and show her the love God has given me, but I didn’t, and thats really been bothering me. This whole experience I’ve been unable to talk about or share the most important aspect of my life, my faith, with these people whose faith is so apparent and moving.
I hope I do indeed allow myself to be moved by these people and the things that I’ve seen. Just as God is a constant reminder of the love this world has to offer, my faith will always connect me to these people in such a drastically different place, no mater how different our lives may be. The people of God that we have been studying in class has gained names as well as faces in the people of the Dominican Republic. Just as Carol’s silly little hand motion makes up the church and steeple out of the same fingers that make all the people, the people of the Dominican Republic truly are the backbone and foundation of faith.
Love in a God that loves ALL people great and small,