First up was a school past Higuey where Wilson's twin boys live. As we approached the town Wilson called and found out that the boys weren't in school so we decided to go to their house. The boys were very serious but appreciative of the bookbags and school supplies. As usual, word got out that we had arrived and a mother came with her new born who had ring worm on his chest. We explained that it was contagious and decided we would get medicine at the pharmacy in Higuey for her. Next stop was Wilson's daughter's school in Higuey but due to the time of our arrival, a bit past 12, the kids were all streaming out. In all the chaos it was the most we could do to just find Wilson's Daughter Michelle and get her home.
We explained to Wilson that we wanted the school supplies to go to the children with the most need, so instead of going back to Michelle's school at 2, we decided to instead go to a school in a worse part of the city. What we thought was a school for a few children we soon found out was a school for 1400. The kids were everywhere and due to a miscommunication with Wilson, so were the supplies we brought. But Sue used her teacher voice and soon all the supplies were in order and we entered the school. The administrators were very thankful and they went to the different classrooms and collected the children with the greatest need. They lined up outside the door and we handed them everything we had one by one. Sadly the supplies we bought were not enough, but we were able to put smiles on many faces.
All of our supplies depleted we headed back to the hotel, making a few stops on the way to drop off some of the medicine we had bought earlier at the pharmacy. We got back to the hotel with one hour to spare before heading back to Joel and Elizabeth's house. Juanito picked us up right on time (a rarity here) and we gave him the rest of our footballs and volleyballs as well as food for two families.
It is hard to describe the comfort and familiarity that we felt at Joel and Elizabeth's. It is like we have known them our whole lives. They showed us pictures of their wedding and we showed them pictures from Sue and Ray's wedding. After that we just talked for hours about the culture and church and about how God was working through all of us. It was through this discussion that all of us came to understand that what we were doing was good but it wasn't enough to come here once a year like some sort of Santa Clause. Joel and Elizabeth want to do so much more to help the many children and families in need. They already work tirelessly for the community but the just don't have the resources to make a difference. Joel proposed the creation of a foundation called "Luz de Esparanza", Light of Hope. It cemented in our hearts what we already knew and we resolved to do everything we could upon our arrival back to the states to support his mission.
Tomorrow we will go to the bank and figure out a better way of transferring resources. Ernie's friends have already agreed to create a website to support the transparency needed in such a mission. It won't be easy but we knew in our hearts it was right.
We capped the night off with a trip back to the church for a powerful sermon and moving music. The message was of transformation... not tomorrow.. now. Of change... not temporary... forever.