March 19, 2016

Sunburnt Happiness

Guido 2016 HANDS Team:


On Friday we returned to Belen to work. Since Easter is next week the kids had Friday off, so we only saw them in the morning when they went to the Chapel for an Easter service. We quickly put to work preparing a concrete mix. Over the span of three teams, Belen hopes to expand their second story.Our team is in charge of helping make the foundation for the addition. Sid and Joe took turns shovelling gravel into our pails which were dropped onto the cement mix and dirt. We then made a water line and dumped water onto it. The workers helping us got to work and mixed it all together. Claire wanted to try her hand at mixing and lasted about two minutes. 

After we had prepared the cement mix we got into another work line, and passed the cement down. The cement was dropped into a hole, to hold in place the scaffolding. It was hard work in the heat, and we were all really excited for the lunch! Mario’s family prepared a feast for us. You can tell that were eating when no one is talking. Ron and Sid were so hungry that they both went back for another full plate. After lunch, Billy took us for a walk around the town where Belen is located. It’s been amazing to see how different their houses are. Many are bright and colourful, but at the same time the paint is peeling and they're falling apart. 

After an hour ride back to our guest house, we all showered and headed to Santo Domingo for a night out. Dinner was held at a pizza place and it was delicious! Josh and Sid ate 20 pieces of pizza between the two of them. After dinner we headed out to walk along the ocean shore. The best part was the outdoor gym and playground.

Billy’s trying to teach us how to dance, and we embarrassed ourselves in front of all the people on the beach. We have the three-step down, but we’re still a little rusty on the salsa. Look for us on You-tube since most of the Dominicans were video-taping us and laughing! 

We got back around 10 and most people played card games, or tried their luck at connecting at the wifi. 



Today was our sleep in day. We were allowed to sleep in until 8 o’clock! After having breakfast we got into our bus and left for the market. Billy took an amp into the vehicle and turned up the music. We made stop at the mission centre and picked up Bill Vanhuisstede and Jack Spithoff. They’re staying in the Dominican on another mission trip. We first went to the market and tried our hand at bargaining. Some had luck, others made some bad deals. Sarah, Tash, Claire, Ashley, and Autumn all were very excited to get ray-bans for 200 pesos, which is roughly $4. Let’s be honest though, they’re probably fake.

Jumping into the vehicle we travelled for another hour to the beach. The waves were crazy! You couldn't stand without being pushed over. At the beach we explored the area, and took a lot of selfies. We can’t help it though, we’re a very photogenic group. We connected Joe’s phone to the amp, and relaxed in the sun. Carrying cement is very tiring and we needed a break. 

We laid in the sun too long though, and now all of us are sporting very nice sunburns. We’ve gone from white, to bright red in under a day. On the ride home, we stopped off at a grocery store, and stocked up on snacks. In the Dominican they give us three big meals a day, but not any snacks, so we’re all really hungry at nighttime. 

Life in the Dominican is hot, but we’re loving it here. No one has gotten too sick yet, which we’re really thankful to God for. Tomorrow we’re headed to church, where we’re going to sing for the church. Please remember us in your prayers in the days to come, Gracias. 


Bernie and Janine VanHuisstede
Mar 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

Hola , Great to hear you are all well and by the sounds of it having a great time.Keep us posted and keep the pictures coming.

From what I can see you couldn't have taken 3 more white guys than Joe , Josh and Sid ..hope you guys are lathering up the sunscreen !

Do they make spf 150 (?) :)

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