Update letter, Dec. 2011

Many of you have asked us to share more detail about our days and weeks -what is “typical” for us these days? What started out so foreign to us in the beginning really has become routine in many ways. As we sit down to share with you our routine, it is amazing how much seems “normal” to us now. Things that were so unusual last year have become standard operating procedure!
Our daily schedule during the week probably looks like many of yours in most regards. Harley leaves early on his little 100cc motorcycle to start his teaching day at 7 am, while Abby is home getting the kids ready for school. At 7:45 Abby is in the school library for staff prayer circle while the boys await the start of the school day. Our whole school meets at 8 am in our small amphitheater for prayer, singing the Dominican National Anthem, and announcements. After that the Mac family diverges, each heading to their classes. This includes a devotional class each day, and Harley has been teaching a World Religions class that has provided some great opportunities to witness and disciple some of the High School students.
At 10am we have all school recess so we often meet up again to check in. At 10:20 it is back to classes. Logan and Tavin have 1st lunch together and Harley, Abby and Kaden have second lunch. At the end of the school day the boys head to mom’s classroom to do homework and hang out until after school tutoring is done. The Mac’s head home around 4 most days. We stay later on Tue and Thursday for boy’s soccer practice, and on Wednesday afternoons the men have Bible study and later that evening the ladies do.
Once home, it is homework, make dinner, grade papers, check email, etc. Also, we host members of the senior class in our home once a week to work on college applications. One thing that looks different for us is that, often when we come home, there is no electricity. We are without power most days but it usually comes on eventually. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to it. Very rarely, we will not have power in the morning, and that makes it very hard to get up and going!
Most Saturday mornings Abby is off to the market to buy food for the week. After visiting the small grocery store, the veggie market, the fruit market, and the meat market, she returns home to clean all the fresh produce and pre-prep all the food for the week. She spends most of the day getting the meals for the week as done as possible. There really isn’t much of a “pre-made” option for dinner if you are running behind during the week. Everything needs to be made from scratch. The reward to having done this on Saturday is that when we are tired after school, dinner is already mostly ready!
On Sundays we worship in the morning at a Dominican church down the road from us. Some weeks we walk there and some weeks we drive, depending on how late we’re running! Our church building is just a roof and concrete floor and often the breezes feel wonderful. Our worship is loud and took a lot of getting used to but now it feels right. The preaching is in Spanish but is translated about 50% of the time. Our congregation is a mix of Dominican, Columbian, American, Haitian, Canadian and more.
When we need a break from the usual, we head to one of many waterfalls in the area. We live in the mountainous center of the island so there are lots of hills to climb and rivers to enjoy. We also try to make it to the beach once a semester. We have found an inexpensive dump of a hotel on a beautiful beach in a pretty sleepy town. The price is right and the water is wonderful!
Some things you might wonder about:
We have a washing machine but hang dry our clothes. If it is raining a lot our clothes sometimes take many days to dry, even under cover! We have a small hot water tank that we turn on with a switch about an hour before showering. That allows for a quick shower with water turned off between soaping up and rinsing off. The hot water situation means we wash all dishes by hand in cold water. All dishes must COMPLETELY dry before using as the water is all contaminated. We filter all our drinking water. We must remember not to use tap water to brush our teeth with and have to be careful not to get it in our mouths when showering. We sleep with fans or mosquito nets every night. The fans keep the bugs off but also act as a white noise machine to block out the roosters (all hours), barking dogs, and bachata music. Our major luxury item is our internet at home. Most people don’t have that but we really needed it for school planning and keeping up with relatives 3-4 hours behind our time zone. We don’t have a TV but enjoy watching movies on the computer from time to time. Our house has bars on all the windows and a big gate out front. We don’t worry too much about being robbed because our house came with a rottweiler. He is ferocious at the gate but a sweet baby with us. Most people in our town get around on motorcycles or scooters. They do not like to walk. Most major intersections have men with motos sitting around waiting to take you places. These are “motoconchos” or motorcycle taxis. It cost about 75 cents to have them take you anywhere in town. They will also go pick up and deliver groceries for you if you have their phone number. It is not uncommon to see 3 people on a moto and we have seen as many as 5, small children included. Motos do not have to abide by any traffic rules. They may go anywhere on the road and turn from anywhere so you must be super alert when driving a car! Our 11th grade class threw us a great surprise birthday party in December. They cooked us some treats and one girl gave Abby some artwork she had made. It was a lot of fun.
We miss you all and thank you for helping us reach these kids!


About harleymc31

My wife Abby and I are missionaries in the Dominican Republic, working as a High School Math and Science teachers at Doulos Discovery School. We are joined by our three boys, aged 9, 7, and 5 who attend the same school and bring us untold joy every day.
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