Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Navidad - Christmas in the Dominican

A very nice lady we met in the neighbourhood. Her tree has been up since the beginning of November

   There an abundance of dogs in San Pedro, some are peoples pets but  most are strays. Some nights the sound of barking dogs keeps us from having a decent sleep.
   Before we left Canada, Rick and I had a meeting with our new Pastor who is originally from Mexico. He was a great help filling us in on the culture of Latin Countries. There are an abundance of insects here so far we have encountered large leggy wasps (long back legs).
black bees the size of cherries, cockroaches from tiny to 3 inches long,
little tiny ants black, brown and red. Mosquito nets are a necessity if you live or stay in the Dominican.
   December is the month that flowers bloom. Every colour of the rainbow seem to in Ildas balcony garden. We even have some of her flowers on our balcony.
  There are tiny black humming birds that visit our flowers everyday, Rick tried to get a picture but they are too small and too fast.
A beautiful palm tree in the commercial district downtown
This flower was in front of the only McDonalds in San Pedro.
There were quite a few of them and they bloom all year
One of Ilda's balcony flowers. They will grow into a small tree if allowed to. This one is on our balcony and is about 15 inches high. It also has thorns about an inch or so long
Margarita came by last night with her little boy, families here are very close. Most evening after work she comes by and spends some time with her Mom and Dad. People here are very respectful of others they never enter a home without acknowledging everyone with a greeting or a hug and a kiss on the cheek. On our street most people great us with hello or "como esta ?" and we reply, "bien gracias." It's been two months and people are used to seeing us go to the corner store and for walks.
  Everyone here seems to have fruit trees growing in their back yard.
Vendors go up and down our street with megaphones announcing what they have to sell and the stores blast out music while cars with four foot speakers let the whole neighbourhood know what the stores are selling.
   Between the thousands of motorcycles, barking dogs and loud street vendors it is easy to understand why it is called the second loudest country in the world.
   Most people here live on very modest incomes. If a family wishes to build a home quite often they will move in before it finished. The wages are very low so it could take years to complete a home.
   Education in the Dominican for their citizens is free and so is the University. They usually cannot find work in their chosen field so they usually take menial jobs.
   Food is quite cheap if you buy it from the locals. One of neighbours next door has a tree that produces passion fruit, she sold me 5 passion fruit for 18 pesos which is under 50 cents Canadian.

Here is a picture of a young mom with her baby who live in our neighbourhood. We had prayed for the baby previously because she was sick.
  Yesterday Ilda said,"We are going for a long walk." Along the way she pointed out some beautiful homes and flower gardens and at on point she said Navidad, I looked and saw the largest poinsettia I had ever seen. It was at least 7 feet tall by 7 feet wide.
   We finally arrived at one of our Church members home. The owner of the house went into one of his rooms and brought out 10 bundles of tracts. Ilda took one bundle and I took another. On the way to Ilda's sisters home we probably handed out close to 500 tracts to people.

   Navidad eve supper (feast) prepared by all of us

   The whole day was spent cleaning. By the time they were done the house was spotless, the rest of the day was taken up by preparing the Navidad eve supper. It was close to midnight by the time we ate.
   Afterwards Margarita asked us to go and see her cousin. She had recently lost her mother. We asked Rick who was outside keeping an eye on the younger siblings to come and pray for her. He did in english but nevertheless it seemed to lift her spirit. We arrived home at 2 am in the morning very tired.

The Hernandez family. The older gentleman in the middle is Ilda's dad. He is a farmer and a Dominican evangelist. He is 84

This is the second Christmas celebration that we attended. This one was in the country. They were the Sanchez family.

   We are usually awake by 6 or 7 am however today we slept until 9 am. We were tired.
   Today was a day to rest and reflect on the meaning of Christmas. How God broke through the night and gave light to a suffering hurting world. He Himself gave us His only Son, born to a young Jewish couple who at that time did not know what it would cost to redeem mankind.
   Later in the day we went into the country to the Sanchez family farm, to a huge celebration for Navidad. Once again we observed Christmas with another Dominican family.
  We met a young couple at the celebration. The young man spoke english and we were able to share the message of salvation with them. all in all Christmas this year for us was unique and educational. Oh yeah one more thing, it was warm, there was no snow.

     The National game/pastime in the Dominican. Dominoes


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