Sunday, August 21, 2011

Adios la RD, Hola los Estados Unidos

I said my goodbyes at the airport to pretty much my whole Dominican community minus a few. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Walk away from so many people I care deeply about: Johan, Merlin, Gloria, Edwin, Elianira, Mami, Maria, Benjamin, Wilson, Yomo, Bella, Memo, Yulena, my Pancho brothers, all my students, Makarios staff, and many more. Knowing that no longer would I be able to walk down the street or hop on a moto to go to their house, hang out, and talk about life. I know God brought me home for a reason, and I will trust in His will and new story for my life. Adios la Republica Dominicana, hola los Estados Unidos.

Last Day with my Babies

I had a great time on my last day at the school of summer camp with my students. I laughed ALOT with them and took random funny photos. After school, I took Rachel and Franchesca with me to my apartment. It was Yulena's birthday so we decorated the living room area with signs and balloons. Yulena, Escarlet, and Neifi came over an hour later to play. We made hats with construction paper, stickers, and crazy scissors. After that, we had cake and sang happy birthday to Yulena. Overall it was a wonderful last time with my girlies :)

My Crazy but Wonderful Friends

The Saturday before I left, a few Dominican friends and Cara came over to eat dinner with me and Lara. We cooked, listened to music, watched youTube videos of different dances (Cat Daddy and the Bernie), naturally tried to dance that way, and then had a photo shoot (timer of course). Enjoy the ridiculousness of that photo shoot :)

Mi Despedida de Pancho Mateo

My last day in Pancho Mateo was the Tuesday before I left. I went in the morning to each of my student's houses and said bye to other people along the way. It was a wonderful morning sitting at people's houses and talking about the years past. I went to Miguel Angel's house last, and he sat and showed me pictures of him as a baby. We laughed alot together, and he picked on me like usual but gave me hugs. I did not cry once though. I had gone to Bienvenido's house and thought I would but did not. Bienvenido was one of my students and one of the brightest. He knew how to read from the start of the school year because he taught himself in his house. Bienvenido is extremely witty and stubborn so he definitely gave me and Johan a run for our money this year. He was a tough kid to discipline, but for some reason, I don't know, maybe God, I loved this child alot and so did Johan. I reached out to him the last few weeks I was there by taking him to the river and playing basketball with him one day. I slowly saw a change in his attitude with me, starting to talk to me and open up more. I thought I would cry when I said bye, when he walked away from me surprised and maybe upset, but I didn't.

I went back to Pancho to play basketball like always on Tuesdays, and Cakito had his soccer boys holding up signs with my name on them to greet me at the court. Then I saw a sign with balloons on it that said "We will miss ya Kendall." I told Cakito if we did not start playing, I would start crying so he picked out our team, and we started. After this, I joked around with my Tuesday basketball family and walked away for the last time with Jhoan and his brother Joel. I knew the tears were coming. I also decided to say bye to Bienvenido one more time. He started to tear up a bit, and I lost it.

I went home to shower and had to go back to Pancho to have my goodbye dinner. My brothers' (Jhoan, Joel, and Jovanny) family cooked me a Mexican dinner. Tacos, guacamole, salsa, all the works. They knew my favorite food is Mexican so they went all out to say goodbye. After, we sat around, talked, laughed alot at Joel, and took pictures. When some of the family went to bed, I asked my five Pancho brothers to sit and talk with me. I read them a letter and gave them pictures that we had taken throughout the years. We sat in silence, smiled, but mostly cried. Cakito prayed for me, and then they drove me home. Miss you my dear brothers :) We had a great few years, and I will never forget them nor you!

Mi Despedida de Chichigua

My last times in the DR.

It began in the village of Chichigua, where my loves Dido, Memo, and my students live. It was my last Monday, and I spent most of it with them and later that day in the church in my town for their ESL graduation. I walked around Chigs saying bye to everyone, to my students' families, but mostly I sat in Dido's house with her. My students came by to hang out with me, and I gave them a picture of me and Johan with each one of them. I made brownies and brought coke to have a little going away party. Dido lovvvves her brownies. You can see this in the picture of her scraping the glass pan.

I did not get emotional when I left Chichigua for some reason. At this point, I still had not cried about leaving. Honestly, I felt like something was wrong with me since I usually cry about everything haha. I think at this point it was because I knew I would see Dido and Memo at the ESL service at my church. I knew my final goodbye would be there. I went to the service and was happy to sit and hold Ryner, Dido's baby, and sing worship songs alongside of Dido. Eventually Memo came and sat in my lap. Love that boy. One of the final things to do was listen to the ESL class sing "God of this City" by Chris Tomlin. They learned it during the summer so they could sing it at their graduation. I sat close by to take pictures, and then it happened. I looked over at Memo singing about his God that he trusted in this year, and I lost it. Tears pouring. After this, I watched them get into their guagua to go back to Chichigua, and I could not stop crying. I will never forget Dido and how well she loved me every time I came to visit her. Dido became a Christian this year also, and I am more than grateful for that. I pray that even though she is poor, living in rough conditions, that she will never take her eyes away from Christ. That He will always be sufficient for her.

Parque de Agua

Before I left, I knew I wanted to take Yulena somewhere. Anne Marie, Lara, and I went to a place in Sosua that was called Ocean Village. It has a waterpark, but also has several normal pools (about four). It is along the beach and is wonderful! Lara and I immediately decided that we would take a couple of kids there so of course I chose Yulena.

I do not think I have said much about her in my past blogs, but I grew to love this child like she was my own and even at some points like she was a friend. She is one of the most mature eight year old girls I know, always saying please, thank you, excuse me, and so on. She would visit my house and play while I would do other things, and when she was done, she would say thank you and put everything back to where it was suppose to go. Not normal! Yulena was a new student at Makarios this year in my first grade class, and I thank God for that. Kristen at the beginning of the year asked if Yulena could join my class, and I was very hesitant. I finally said okay, and now I look back and know that Yulena was one of the biggest blessings in my life in the DR. When I left for a week in January when my grandma passed away, Yulena offered to pray for me. An eight year old! My last full day in the DR, Yulena was with me. She walked around town with me, talking to me, quiet at times because she was sad, and laughed with me. I could go on, but you obviously see how much I love this child. I pray that she will stay the child of God that she is (she is a Christian), wise beyond any other kid her age, and will grow up to be a beautiful woman of God.

Monday, August 15, 2011

La Cancha

I once posted a blog about the basketball court in Pancho Mateo:

La Cancha

My home away from home. As long as I live, I will not forget that place. It is where I first played with kids in the DR. My first village visit when I arrived. Where I started to play basketball with Sili every week. Where I colored with Nelisa. Where I met one of my greatest friends Cakito, which then lead to me meeting my brothers of Pancho Mateo and playing basketball every Tuesday with them till I left (my old blog about them). I miss this place and the people more than words can express.

While I was still in the DR, the boys decided to give the cancha a makeover. Cakito put in alot of work to collect money from people and get the boys together to paint it and redo the backboards/rims. I was so proud of them!

I could say that was it and voila! the court was finished, but there needed to be one last final touch. I had been asking Cakito if we could all put our names on the court somewhere, and he told me if I bought spray paint, we could. A few weeks later, I bought a few cans and went to Pancho Mateo where I found him at the court with some other boys. I handed him the paint and said it was time to write our names. Well...what I wanted to be in a corner smaller somewhere along the walls turned out to be alot bigger haha. That is an understatement. Cakito called out the professional, and next thing you know, my name is HUGE above the stands. Now it is pretty funny, but I still get embarrassed thinking about it. They were so excited to write it there and thought it looked way "bacano" (cool). Honestly, I feel honored by them. Love and miss you mis hermanitos de Pancho!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Marileidi is one of our students at Makarios, and her brother Miguel Angel was one of my students this past school year (one of my favs!). Their family is well loved by the Makarios school because they have been there since the beginning of the first built school building, but also because their Mom Katherin is one of the sweetest people I have met in this country.

Marileidi graduated a few weeks ago from Kindergarten at the public school (she goes there in the afternoon), and Katherin asked if we would come and take pictures of her in her dress with her escort Yery (who also goes to our school). There are some pretty cute ones of her! Photo shoot de Leidi:


Yes, I have a Dominican mom named Gloria, and she's cra cra, but I love her despite that. When I lived in my old apartment, her house was right across the street. I would walk over there every night to say hi and sit to talk with her. Since I have been living down the street, she asks me at least every other day where I have been and why I did not tell her where I was going...aka you need to get permission from me to go anywhere, and I especially need to see who you are going with. The funniest times in our relationship is when I have to refuse the proposal of her wanting me to marry her son...Oh Gloria.

Because we are leaving her, she has been asking us to come over so she can cook. She loves it when we come eat with her and talk for a couple of hours. She could talk for days. The things you find out about her life are more and more interesting every time I sit down with her. Love me some Gloria :)

Beach Trips

Throughout the summer we have gone on several beach trips with the students. These are my last times with the kids so they are very special to me. Crazy to think I am leaving my babies behind in a little over two weeks! I am going to miss them terribly.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I know I have talked about Joel before in other blogs (he is in the picture with the Dirk jersey), but I felt as though he needed his own solo blog this time. Joel is my little brother who lives in Pancho Mateo. He is fourteen and lives with his grandma and brothers Jhoan and Jovanny who I am also friends with. I really love this kid and wish I could take him home with me in my suitcase, but alas I will have to leave him when I go in August.
This past Monday night I was at my apartment, and he came by with Cakito. He loves talking to me and making fun of me so when Cakito went upstairs to hang out with some of our friends, Joel stayed to hang out with me. We had the music video channel on in our living room so I started doing silly dance moves while he laughed at me and told me I could not dance. He started showing me all his moves like normal, and like normal I was impressed. This kid can dance. If my internet was not so slow, I would post videos, but you will have to settle for pictures...they do not do enough justice trust me.

ps. You can also see the pictures here where they will be bigger:

A Tad Late

The two pictures with my girlfriends was me showing off all my Mavs gear (crap). They wanted to put it all on and pretend to be Mavs fans. Of course I soaked that up because no one here likes the Mavs except for one guy that I know in Pancho Mateo. The other two pictures are me with two of my friends (Cakito and Jhoan) after the Mavs won. What I would've done to be in Dallas...but I wasn't, so I ran around town in my Dirk jersey like a crazy person. I am pretty sure everyone thought I was drunk. Oops. Felicidades Los Mavs! Por fin!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Let's Go Mavs!

Like a true Mavs fan, I have been watching every game since the beginning of the playoffs either in my apartment or at my friend Cara's house. Whenever I watch it at my apartment, I tell my basketball brothers that they are welcome to come to my house and watch it with me. A few games back, three of them (Jhoan, Jovanny, and Joel) came over. Joel loves Lebron so he was cheering for Miami, but the rest of us were cheering for Dallas. Jhoan and Jovanny were only cheering for Dallas because they love Kobe Bryant therefore they hate Lebron.

Kristen took some celebration pictures at the end of the game by clicking on the button multiple times in a row really fast, which lead to the pictures shown in the slideshow. Watch Jhoan who is the striped shirt. Pretty funny.

Graduation Day

For graduation day, our kids had to make up some kind of presentation for the parents. Most of the time the classes sing a song, say a verse, or do a drama, but this time we had our kids do something a little bit different. Johan and I are very proud to say that our kids can read and write. They still need alot of help in the coming year, but we are happy to know they can do the basics. We decided to have each student make a card for their parents telling their parents how grateful they were of them. At presentation time, they came up one by one with their parents and read the card in the microphone that was set up. It was adorable! Most of the kids were laughing, and Memo (of course) started to cry when he was reading his card to his mom. He is such a mama's boy :). Here are some pictures throughout graduation day:

Dia de Agua

The last week of school Johan and I did a water day with our first graders. We filled up some water balloons and used some of the buckets in the school to fill up with water. The PreK students had been doing this same idea during the morning so we decided to wait until after lunch until they went back to their rooms. Smart idea, right? NO. The little ones left a huge mud pit for our students which lead to total chaos. My kids were running around like crazy splashing in the mud and throwing it on us. Of course I had fun, and of course I could not stop laughing. I mean how many teachers get to have fun like that with their students. Kristen took some pictures for us and got some great shots of a few kids crying. If you want to see the pictures bigger, you can click on the slideshow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Photo shoot

My lil first grade babies are getting wayyy too big. Last week of school!

ps If you click on the slideshow, it will take you to the page of the photos to see them bigger.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Los Mavs

Representin' en la RD.
La Cancha de Pancho Mateo. One of my homes away from home.Taken by the lovely Ashley Sienkiel.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My lil Easter Bunnies

Today Johan and I threw an Easter fiesta for our first graders. We played games with them all day, ate cake, and watched a movie. Thanks to Ashley, I got a picture with each of my students in bunny ears:

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Usually I write about the village called Chichigua, but this time I am talking about the Spanish word for kite. A few weeks ago Johan decided to make a kite with our first graders. We told them if they behaved throughout the week, we would take them to the Play down the street where there is a huge field to fly the kite. Of course we made sure they were able having that control haha. Our students lovvvved it. They loved making the kite with Johan and going to fly it. Well it lasted for about ten minutes. The kite flew high in the air and then crashed down to the ground. And that's the end of the story :).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Playa Caleton

Last Sunday was Independence Day for the Dominican Republic so we did not have school on Monday. I heard Johan (my work friend) and the Pancho boys say how they all wanted to go to the beach together so I thought why not on our day off. We took off to a not so public beach called Playa Caleton that I went to last year and loved. It is one of the more beautiful beach spots I have seen since I have lived in this country plus I love how there are not alot of people . Also there are not as many waves so you can go float in the water and relax. We had a great time! The boys loved hanging out with Johan and just getting to be themselves out of the Pancho Mateo/Montellano scene they are in everyday. For me, it was another fun opportunity to be in my Dominican community and show mis hermanitos that they are loved. We swam, played dominoes, ate lunch together, did flips off a tree branch (obviously not me haha), and talked about life. I cannot thank God enough for blessing me with such an amazing Dominican family. These boys, my neighbors, my work friends, Chichigua, and more have affected my life in numerous ways since I have lived here, and I am very thankful for what God has shown me through that.
Joel. 13 years old. One of my favorite people in this country.
Johan (neighbor/work friend) and Joel.
Jhoan from Pancho.
Me, swimming to Kiko and Cakito on the rafts. I have learned I cannot swim like I could when I was little. Out.of.shape.
Brothers. Johvanny, Jhoan, and Joel.

The Play

I wrote a blog about my class a week ago for the Makarios blog. Read if you like...


Saturday, February 12, 2011

I love winning bets...

If you love how ridiculous I can be sometimes, you must read this blog by my roommate and friend, Kristen. It describes the whole event perfectly except for what the bet was actually about. I will add that part here, and then you can read her blog and see the pictures.

I was sitting in Joel and Johan's house talking about the NBA with Joel and Cakito (surprise surprise, I would spend my afternoon doing that). We somehow got on the topic of Jason Kidd, who plays for the Mavericks. I started to say how he played for the Mavs when I was little before he went to the New Jersey Nets and then came back to Dallas. They told me I was wrong. Big mistake. We argued back and forth for 10 minutes and then decided to make a bet. I told them I went to the games and had his jersey, but they still would not believe me. They said we would have to swim in the river, like Kristen says, or they would have to endure water balloons. Now this is not just any river. It is filled with all kinds of nastiness, just use your imagination. Ew.
Anyways, a few minutes later Kristen and Johan showed up and decided to join the bet, Kristen trusting me and Johan with the boys. Now you can click on Kristen's link...please do. It's great.

Kristen's blog

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Say What

Yes, that's right. I have students who can read. The students in my class come to our school in the morning and public school in the afternoon so from both places they are learning how to read. We have so much more to teach them about reading, especially the ones who are having alot of trouble in it, but it is such a blessing from the Lord to see the ones who can do it on their own. This past week I asked Bienvenido, our smartest student, to read in front of the class. I thought he might be too embarrassed, but he just got right up in front and started reading. After him, Escarlet went, and then, as you can see in the pictures, Luis Fernando read the next day with the help of Bienvenido. Of course all the boys wanted to, and so they grabbed a book and their chair and sat in front reading. Really, I almost started crying. It was one of those moments where you feel like all your efforts and the time you put in amounts to something, and you aren't standing up in front teaching, meanwhile your kids are looking at the trees outside. Well...I know that does happen for some, but let's just pretend for now it doesn't :).

Welcome to Small Town Life

If you ever wondered what I do on weekend nights, well let me give you a preview. Actually before I do that, let me tell you what my usual night consists of: sitting on Gloria's porch, chatting with my neighbors, playing dominoes, and sometimes having a glass of wine with them (only if it is the weekend because Christians can drink wine on the weekends). However, lately there have been basketball games at the Multiuso, the place in my small town where there is an "inside" basketball court. Last Saturday night, I got the girls together, us all attempting to dress Dominicana cool, and convinced them that the games are really exciting...bahaha. We ate at Balin, hence the picture with Johan and Balin cooking our delish sandwiches, and then went to the game. My hermanitos de Pancho Mateo were playing so that was fun for me to watch (the boys I play basketball with every Tuesday). Sadly, yes, that was it, my night O' fun, and it really was fun. I have learned to enjoy some of the small things in life living here. Enjoy some of the ridiculous pics.

Dido, my love.

I wrote a blog about Dido once. How great she is and how much Robin and I love going to visit her in Chichigua. It was Dido's birthday this past Wednesday so I made a funfetti cake for her and took it to Chichigua after school. She shared it with the whole village, no joke. She kept passing it out to others and only got a small piece for herself. That is something I have learned here: selflessness. Haitians and Dominicans love to share. Something us Americans are not very good at sometimes. Anyways, it was fun to be with her on her special day and take pictures of her while she asked me not to, like always. Our photo shoot, as seen below, goes a little something like this...Dido take a picture with me, no, yes, Dido look at the camera and smile, ok, picture taken, did you smile Dido (me making weird face).Sorry Lubi, Roni is no longer a child :)Me, looking a tad dorky in the princesa birthday hat, inviting people in.
On an even better note, Dido and her family became Christians during the Christmas holidays along with many other Chichiguans. Praise the Lord for His amazing grace!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Dominicans love their sugar...A good healthy cup of coffee :) not worry, I did not drink this.