A Remix of the Zac Brown Band Song
Dedicated to GS’s 2012 Dominica Work Team
We’ll have our toes in the water, toes in the sand
Not a worry in the world, got our passports in hand
Yeah we leave today, oh we’re on our way
Well, the plane takes off just about twelve o’clock
And Sudbury’s still on my mind
Sea turtles and parrots dance in my head
But I’m still in the baggage line
Concrete blocks, mortar and bricks
Yeah we’re building up a hall
And the plane brought us farther, we’re surrounded by water
And we’ll be giving it our all.
We’ve got our toes in the water, toes in the sand
Not a worry in the world, our trip is all planned
Yeah we left today, all is good today
Adios and vaya con Dios
Yeah we’re leaving MA
And if it weren’t for Dominica and cheese quesadillas
We’d have no reason to stay!
Adios and vaya con Dios
Yeah, we’re leaving MA
Gonna lay in the hot sun and have lots of good fun
We’ll grab a Frisbee and play
The eight days flew by like a bird in the sky
As the great trip drew to an end.
They can’t believe that we all have to leave
As we bid adieu to new friends.
We had good times, and lots of laughs
We all got tanned from the sun.
Coconuts and fresh fish Captain Kirk ate,
Pastor Jordan brought a squirt gun.
We got our toes in the water, toes in the sand
Not a worry in the world, we stood hand in hand
Life is good today, yes life is good today
Adios and vaya con Dios
A long way from MA
And all of the rivers, the water they give us
Cools us down all the way!
Adios and vaya con Dios
A long way from MA
Someone do me a favor from 31 flavors
We’ll have some ice cream and stay.
Adios and vaya con Dios
Going home now to stay
Our trip is completed, Jetblue will now seat us
Thanks for all that you gave!
Adios and vaya con Dios
Going home now to stay…
(Spoken) Just going to fly back to MA
And put our butts in a church pew, with a new friend or two
Helping out others, just take our cue
God Squad’s stuck like glue.
Yeah, we’re stuck like glue!
Today was Tourist Day, which meant we had an extra half hour of sleep before breakfast. We of course began our day the right way with our “Positive Attitude” song before eating, then got on our way. Though the bus ride was a bit bumpy and long, we made the best of it, and Elvin, our driver continued to share his knowledge with us. He made a number of stops in order to pick us coffee beans, cinnamon leaves, lemongrass and cocoa, and on the way home he caught a number of crabs whose destiny appears to be our breakfast tomorrow. We were also accompanied by a few other local people, including Carlotta Dodds, Reverend Dodds’ wife; all were good sports about our youth’s, shall we say,enthusiasticsinging on the ride home.
Our adventures lead us to Roseau, the capital city of Dominica and we came to fully appreciate the commute college kids from Wesley/Marigot make each day in order to attend class. We made a quick stop at a restaurant called “Yum” in order to make reservations for dinner, order our food and use the restrooms. After that, we headed high up in the mountains to enjoy some of the beautiful creation on this island. We first went to Boeri Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Dominica, but were unfortunately not able to fully appreciate its beauty, due to the fact that we were sitting in a cloud; we really were in a rainforest. Some people, despite the chilly wind and rain, sought to jump in the lake, until some local people nearby informed Captain that the lake was filled with alligators. Jen jumped in before Captain passed along this information, and the small crowd of brave souls quickly turned tail and ran for safety. As it turns out, there are no alligators in Dominica.
We ate lunch in the clouds, then continued on our way. We made it to a spot to enjoy some sulphur springs and passed a fun, relaxing afternoon splashing and sitting in the water. Once we were changed, we went back to Yum for dinner, and celebrated John’s 20th birthday. We stopped at a black sand beach near where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, and were treated to a beautiful rainbow and a gorgeous sunset. It was a lovely end to a long day, with everyone in happy moods, all snapping pictures and enjoying each others’ company.
We held worship together this evening upon our return, shared our highs and lows, and then were treated to a fantastic awards ceremony. The awards ceremony is a tradition our young adults — John, Shelby, Jackie, Rachel and Elizabeth — made sure continue by encouraging some of our older youth — Tyler, Chris, Sarah and Walter — to keep it up. Be sure to ask your youth what their award was, but don’t necessarily expect to understand it; many came about from inside jokes or silly situations throughout the week, and though they may explain it to you, you probably just had to be here. The ceremony wrapped up with a presentation of the “God Squad to Infinity and Beyond” award going to Captain, followed by a group hug. Though he will be leaving us officially to begin his career in parish ministry back in Oklahoma, Captain Kirk has clearly made a strong impression on the youth and they will miss him terribly. I hope you all have had a chance to thank him for his service to our church, our youth, and to the God Squad program. Thank you, Tyler!
And so ends another SUMC mission trip. The time has flown by, and though we have had our ups and downs, we all not only survived but truly flourished. The youth, young adults and even the mentors have grown so much from this experience, and our bonds with our brothers and sisters in Dominica have been strengthened. Already Pastor Dodds is asking when we’ll be sending the next group down!
Thank you, truly, from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us; your love, prayers, time, talents and energy mean the world to us, and we cannot wait to share with you what this amazing experience has meant to us all.
Many people remarked today that they simply could not believe it was already Friday. Another sentiment shared was that the days seemed so long, especially the days when we both worked and played, but the week had flown by.
Once again, the streets of Marigot rang out with a cheery round of “Positive Attitudes” to start the day off right, but unfortunately Captain and Jordan also filled the air with largely useless facts about both Oklahoma and Maine; seriously, guys, no one cares that you have the world’s largest underground lake or that lobsters used to be considered good enough only for fertilizer!
We wrapped things up at the worksite today; while the project is far from completion, we are also astounded at the progress we made alongside the workers we hired. More importantly, we are feeling blessed by the progress we made in our relationships with the people of Dominica.
We left the worksite before lunch today, and had a quick bite before crossing the street to Zion Methodist to attend the Marigot preschool graduation. And what a ceremony that was! The graduates all had blue gowns with yellow tassels, and crossed the stage to sit and listen to poems, songs, reports, presentations of diplomas and awards and a speech that was more fitting for a seminary graduation. But, we laughed along with the crowd of parents, clapped with the teachers and rejoiced with the church members that these tiny children are ready to take the next step in their education. Though we scoffed at the pomp and circumstance of the two hour long ceremony, we realized that education is one of the many things we take for granted. Especially in our community, it is simply assumed that we will attend college after high school; many of these children may not even finish high school, and so a celebration of this kind will hopefully remind them that the journey is worth the reward.
We enjoyed a bit of down-time after graduation, including chatting, Catchphrase, soccer, Egyptian Rat Screw, Castle, snacking, and keep the ball in the air, then had another delicious dinner together. We spent a wonderful evening with the youth groups of Wesley and Marigot, and truly enjoyed spending time with one another. We also held worship outside by a fire built by Chris and Walter, and celebrated communion as one church family. Afterwards there were plenty more laughs to be had, none so joy-filled as the ones screeched by Jayse and Joshua, two young boys from Wesley who have been visiting the worksite each day. Though they had been nervous around the group for most of the week, preferring to spend time one-on-one with Jen, Kate and Laura, they really came out of their shells tonight and tag-teamed Walter, John and Robbie, tackling and pigpiling them, then enjoying hanging off of Captain and some very awesome piggyback rides before setting down for some serious cuddling with Jen and Laura.
Our last day in Dominica is tomorrow, and not one of us can believe it. Saturday is John’s birthday, and we are planning to have a celebration at dinner in Roseau. We’ll be spending the day as tourists tomorrow and will no doubt be picking up some gifts for our families (and maybe one or two treats for ourselves). While the goodbyes on Sunday will be tough to swallow, we are looking forward to returning home to truly share with all of you this unique experience, and to thank you properly for supporting us and making sure we had this incredible opportunity to learn, laugh, love and serve God in a new way.
Once again, we began our day by singing “Positive Attitude” and each sharing something positive. We split into two groups right after breakfast, with Jackie, Matt Bowler, Tyler, Robbie, Doreen and Laura heading off to spend the morning doing home visits with Linda, while everyone else piled into the bus to continue work on the fellowship hall in Wesley.
Many people were in goofy moods and many pranks ensued throughout the day, including a magnificent act by Corey not only dumping sand on Captain, but then giving him a second load after Captain dunked himself in water. Sarah took on the role of Deputy Safety Officer while Laura was out visiting people, and while she is not eager to step into the same role soon, she performed wonderfully.
We spent the majority of the day at the worksite; the walls are mostly finished, and work has begun on the stage. We continued to deepen our relationships with the people who were work alongside, as well as those who feed us and stop by the worksite, while also strengthening the bonds of the youth group and the mentors. A massive “Croc-a-dilly” tournament broke out after lunch, and it was a fight to the finish, but Matt Bowler came out victorious; many people are hungry for a rematch and their shot at the crown. At about 3:30, a small group of people including Jordan, Linda, Laura, Jackie, Robbie, Corey, Bevin, Keturah, Kate, Rachel, Chris and Matt Bowler all returned to Marigot and spent a fun afternoon playing Uno, President and other card games, while everyone who remained in Wesley played in a basketball game. Upon the return of the whole group, a great soccer match was held in the field next to the church, and both our youth as well as a few kids, teens and young adults from Marigot were panting hard by the time we were called in for dinner.
Though we didn’t go on any adventures today, we still managed to have a lot of laughs and fun; we are looking forward to powering through our last bit of work tomorrow morning and then cheering on the graduating class of the Marigot preschool at graduation. We also plan to have dinner, fellowship and worship with the youth groups of both Wesley and Marigot tomorrow night, and Saturday looks like a day of play before we say our goodbyes and return home on Sunday.
Today was another action-packed day for us, full of great things.
Captain finally allowed the youth to shave a “monkey tail” shape into his facial hair, so that began the day even before a round of “Positive Attitude.” We enjoyed pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast, accompanied by a fine mist instead of a typical Dominica Downpour. But all was dry by the time we got to the worksite.
Our first task was moving roughly a gillion cinder blocks from where the crane had delivered them to what will eventually be the main room of the Fellowship Hall. While we were hefting, hauling and heaving the blocks, we discovered a crab in the hole of one of them; one of the workmen tied a rope to him and we had Hector the pet crab for the morning. Walter and Robbie were especially fond of Hector, building him a small shelter and taking him for a walk, respectively. John, Shelby, Sarah, Kate and Chris all accompanied Pastor Jordan and Linda on home visits after the blocks were moved, while the rest of us mixed cement and learned the proper way to lay the cinders into a wall, thanks to our resident Mortar Expert, Matt Barker. Meanwhile, the workers finished floating the last section of floor, which many of us just barely managed to avoid stepping in, but once the walls reached a certain height, we struggled to find enough tasks to keep us all occupied. While many lamented this during Highs and Lows this evening, it also meant that people were able to take a lot of water/sunscreen breaks.
We had yet another fantastic snack and lunch provided by our generous hosts and met more people who dropped by the worksite to see how it was going and to say hello. Its been wonderful to see some of the same faces each day and get to know them better, but it has been equally lovely meeting new members of the community each morning as well. Relationships continue to grow and deepen, and will no doubt have a lasting effect on the people partaking in them.
After lunch we headed back to Marigot for a quick costume change, then hopped back in Elvin’s bus for a trip to the Carib reservation. While many of us were expecting a quick trip to look for presents to bring home, we were treated to much more; we had a guided tour of the Carib cultural center, offering us a better understanding of the culture as well as stunning ocean views. If you’re interested in learning more, here is their link:
Afterwards, we had a sing-a-long in the bus on the way to the Emerald Pool, which everyone, at one point or another, said “I can’t believe how beautiful it is here.” We enjoyed the company of some of the members of the Wesley youth group, and had the pleasure of one girl taking the microphone of the bus from Elvin to inform us of the history of Dominica, as well as point out many of the sites, flora and fauna.
Though we were a bit late getting home for dinner after a lengthy bus ride, we once again had a fantastic meal and were grateful to Elizabeth, Rachel and Oliver for washing our dishes, and for Alice and John who had washed them last night. We went straight into worship from there, and wrapped it up with sharing our Highs and Lows. We decided on an early bedtime tonight because heads had been nodding and eyelids drooping on the way home, and the yawning was certainly contagious.
Tomorrow brings more adventures for us, and though it promises to again be a hot, long day filled with hard work, it is sure to also be filled with love and laughter.
What a day! Its pretty amazing how much we manage to pack into the space between 7AM and 10PM: three meals, working, home visits, meeting the preschoolers, making new friends, seeing the island and enjoying each others’ company.
Last night we enjoyed again a lovely cooling rainstorm, although the towels and clothing left outside were less happy about it. The “Positive Attitude” song woke up the entire neighborhood, and then we enjoyed breakfast together. At each meal, we are spoiled by the women who cook for us, especially with the freshest fruit; we all agreed that we’ve never had so much fruit in our lives, but its like dessert its so good.
Most of us set off for the worksite while Linda led Walter, Matt Barker, Keturah, Alice and Jen on homevisits. We took turns shoveling rocks and sand into buckets and wheelbarrows, lifting/dragging bags of cement, dumping all those loads, and mixing cement as well as taking ample water/shade breaks. Its great to see the youth taking care of each other, reminding one another about sunscreen and water, and to take a break when they need it. A few instances of mild heat stroke have cropped up, but everything has been resolved, and hopefully they have learned their lesson. Unfortunately, despite numerous reminders to slather on sunscreen, the sunburns are starting to spread slowly among the group; hopefully we can keep them in check. Some people had the opportunity to visit with the preschool that is just three houses from our worksite, and were able to watch them practice for their graduation this Friday. They also sang their national anthem and recited their pledge for us; we adored it, but they seemed less impressed by our renditions.
The relationships between our community and the one in which we are working are becoming increasingly established; many of the paid workers felt more comfortable sharing their meals with us, some of the Dominican youth were hanging out with us today, and a few of the elementary school kids have stopped by both days to check out the work and chat with us.
After lunch, we headed back to base camp, then went and visited Signetta. Signetta lives up on a steep hill in a small house without a bathroom, and she cooks in a separate hut. We prayed with her when we arrived, then she shared some fresh mangoes with us, as well as some food she had bought nearby. Some of us were able to chat with her for a while, and she wanted to show us the photo album she has of “her white people” because she has met with most of the groups SUMC has sent over the years. She is a woman of deep, abiding faith, and she radiates God’s love. Many of us were touched by her invitation into her home, and will remember her for a long time to come.
After returning from the steeeeeeep climb to and from Signetta’s, we hopped onto the bus, driver by Elvin, an expert driver and a man who is eager to share his home with us. He stopped on the side of the road to jump out and grab a local flower whose seeds the Carib people use as face paint in traditional ceremonies. Needless to say, we all arrived at our destination ready to face a warring tribe.
Our destination was the beautiful Concord River, and Elvin showed us a top-notch spot to swim. The water, though much cooler than the ocean, was incredibly refreshing, and we enjoyed swimming in the clear waters with the fish and one another. Many people remarked that the river was their “high” for the day.
Finally, we headed home for showers and chill time; we played cards and Mafia and generally lounged, then had an incredible dinner that seemed like an Indian burrito. After dinner, more Mafia, catchphrase and cards ensued before a giggle-filled worship together. Then it was bedtime.
We continue to be blessed day in and out with great weather, safety, health, and the experiences we are having in this unique community with which our church has become so entwined, and we are thankful for this incredible opportunity to get to know our extended church family.