She is raw and restless but she has received her rescue. She is safe and that is what matters most. This is what we hold onto each week, each day, each hour. She has received her rescue and she is safe.
As I ended my last blog, I spoke about how it is not a sprint but a marathon and I will stand by that comment even more so looking back at these last two weeks. I am realizing that this takes time. These girls have a lot on their mind, more than I can even imagine. Sometimes in class, we just have to pause and take a moment to recognize where we are, where we are sitting, who is in the room, and why we are here. “We are here to keep you safe, we are here to take care of you, we are here to love you”. I say these words most days, even today in class when it was clear she was working through something.
No training could ever have prepared me 100% for this, but I am learning along the way. The stories that my students hold are ones that can manifest themselves in different behaviors and emotions. I am having grace for my girls. I am having grace for myself. The classroom that I have created here for the girls in transitional care has become a small family. We play, we fight, we sing, we dance, and we are all learning each day step by step.
Here are some fun little updates:
– Wondering maybe what my day to day looks like?
Now that we aren’t in Summer vacations anymore, my daily routine has shifted. Instead of teaching English classes to all the girls, I am now focused on all academics for those in transitional care. This is our small family that call themselves the Lionesses 🙂 My lionesses consist of an 11 year old, a 9 year old, and two 6 year olds. With these girls, some may have received education before arriving at New Hope and some have not. I just evaluate their levels on topics and do most of my class in a ‘centers’ style based on their level. So it is a range of letter and number recognition to multiplication and chapter books. Also, we moved the classroom to a new location and gave the girls uniforms so they feel like the older girls leaving the property for school! It’s exciting!
My schedule looks like: Lionesses 8-11:30 each day, English for the caretakers, the psychologist, and director different days of the week after the Lionesses, then helping the girls with their homework when they get back from school! I basically work an 8-4 day with some lesson planning in between. On Sundays, I continue with English classes for the other girls that are in schools outside the safe house during the week.
- I have moved to the guest house where ~ gracias a Dios ~ there is water now! The true water of life! I live with Sofia, the sweet New Hope puppy! She and I hang out a lot. We like to go on walks and eat peanut butter together.
- Most afternoons, I take the older girls to the track with me! I love to run each day and they do, too!
- I met some friends at the track, so on the weekends I love to hang out with them! Whether that looks like going to dinner at a fun food truck place here in La Vega or going for a run by one of the many rivers.
- I ran in my first Dominican track meet the other day in the 800 meters, felt like I was in high school on my track team again!
- Some friends and relatives have been buying the New Hope bags that our workshop makes and that makes me so happy! The workshop is where the women in the community are welcomed into our New Hope family and given jobs in the workshop. While making these bags, they are receiving a salary, discipleship, and are supporting the girls in the safe house. So go check out our website to get your shopping on!
- On the weekends, I also like to explore around La Vega (the city where I live) and the capitol which is an hour and a half bus trip away.
- Each afternoon spent with the girls helping with homework, I am able to get to know each one more and more! ….and oh do they love Ed Sheeran, limoncillos (a cross between a grape and a gobstopper), dancing, trying on my earrings, and climbing the avocado tree…sometimes a little too high (it’s avocado season, yay!!!)
- When I arrived at the end of June, there were 14 girls and now there are 17 girls. I always find it fun to find out what makes each girl so distinct and beautiful in their own way. Each of these girls are full of love, energy, and a lot of laughter.
- I take the older girls on Thursday nights to the YoungLife club here in La Vega. This is an opportunity to show them something that I was involved in as well since I was a YoungLife leader back in Nashville for four years. They seem to love it a lot!
- And my last update…my new favorite food = empanadas.