Here’s an update on the work I’m doing with the team from HL2.
We also saw some really interesting gender dynamics during the day. Because both the men and women on our team were involved in the mixing of the cement, shoveling sand and dirt, and carrying cement, we caused quite a stir in the neighborhood. Apparently in the Dominican culture it’s not considering appropriate for women to do that kind of manual labor. While that didn’t keep any of us from engaging in the work, we all found the differences in cultures to be profoundly interesting. Not to mention the fact that we got lots of stares from the local men as they watched the women on our team get right into the heart of the manual labor. The greatest part of the experience outside of the reality of the much needed floor was the chance to once again hang out in the heart of a Dominican community, playing with the kids, and getting a chance to build relationships and make connections with so many people here.
Those of us in charge of baking bread had a very different, yet equally rewarding day. We showed up to the cocina (kitchen) of the school to spend the day baking 2800 loaves (let’s call them rolls) of bread to send over the Haitian border to the relief camps. While our contributions paid for all the supplies necessary for the 2800, we were disappointed to only get through 400. We didn’t like leaving the team at the school (of which all had amazing stories themselves) with all the work to finish our objective over the course of the next couple of days. Who would have known that all that mixing, kneading, rising, baking and packaging would take so long. Not to downplay the 400 rolls we were able to make it was, once again, the connections and relationships throughout the day that made it most meaningful. As we baked, word spread around the school and the village that we were there. Peering through the bared windows and doors were crowds of kids wanting a chance to interact, to play with us and our cameras, to bridge the language barrier or just to simply have us hold their hands. While we waited for bread to rise and/or cool, we had plenty of opportunity to play with these delightful kids with impromptu games of tag or (as you see in the photos) fun photo sessions that they got such a kick out of. As we were told over and over again in planning for this trip, they just want us to “be” there with them rather than focus on “doing” something for them. It’s a culture based on relationships that trumps getting the job done and something we took a lesson from.
Once again, we are so thankful to have the opportunity to do this work as a team and this shared experience has been profound. More to come…”