My favourite colour is purple. I like most colours, except that I'm not too fond of yellow. I'm a teacher, a student, a wife and a step-mom to four young adult-ish kids. My favourite room is my craft room. I like to play with photography, paper, scrapbooking, book and card making. Thanks for checking out my blog!
Friday, July 29, 2011
On Sunday, July 17 we met up with my good friend, Carmen. Carmen says we are hermanas de crianza, sisters through being raised by the same parents. She and her sister Clara lived in our home when I was very young. I don't remember a time without loving them. They have always been a special part of our family. I was born on Carmen's 14th birthday. I had not seen Carmen for about 20 years. We were both visiting our native land at the same time, so we coordinated a trip out to a very special place.
La Posada, the Inn, was my home from the age of 2-11. It is located on the shores of the Caribbean ocean, about a 30 km drive out of the capital city. As a child, it was paradise! I remember most of my time being spent outdoors: swimming in the pool, swimming in the ocean, collecting shells and hermit crabs and colourful rocks, climbing cashew trees, tree house in the mango tree, watching piglets grow up, and lots of interacting with the people who worked there with us.
It was the center for the Medical Group Missions, from which grew Medical Ministries International, the group that Barry and I participated in this month. We had many, many medical projects all year round. Even though I was shy, I loved having groups of people come for two week intervals to do medical, dental, surgical and eye projects with the communities of the country who didn't have access to health services due to lack of resources and opportunity. I don't remember a time when I wasn't involved in this service. It was a really fun way to grow up.
In 1979 we experienced first hand the destruction of our home and most of the buildings of La Posada when Hurricane David devastated the area. My family moved into Santo Domingo after this and so did the main operations of the work of MGM.
Various groups have moved in and tried to use the main building for different purposes, but no one seems to have made a lasting, permanent use for the area.
I have been back to visit La Posada every time I have returned to the country. It is a favourite place for me. You know how there are some special places where you feel most at home? Where you know just what colour the sky turns when the sun is about to disappear? Where you can see a storm approaching by the darkening colour of the water on the horizon? When you know the sound of the pounding surf and can time the next wave crashing into the reef, engulfing it? Where you know where the frogs and crabs hide at night and how to avoid them? Where you know the cracks and ledges in the stone wall and just what place you are able to scale it if you put your foot in the right place? Where you watch the waves glittering in the sun as if the ocean water had diamonds floating just under the surface? That is La Posada for me.
As Carmen and I were getting all caught up in the back seat, Nicio was trying to find his way driving through Boca de Nigua. The town has grown, though I could see land marks that I recognized. When I saw a familiar stone wall, I knew we were approaching the grounds on the side of the river. My heart started pounding and I was straining to see through the front cracked windshield to recognize more.
It was a really hot day. The sky was beautiful and clear. The ocean was exactly the same as it always is. We got out of the car near the main stairs going up to the main building, near where the entrance of the swimming pool used to be. We went to the pool and my eyes were drawn to the ocean. There were two young boys playing in the dangerous pool, but they were staying by the little sandy shore part, rolling in the waves in their underwear. Their dark heads were shiny in the bright sun.
We walked down the road by the stone wall, towards the motels and the area of our home. There has been more deterioration of the buildings. I immediately saw the ground under my feet and remember it well, though it wasn't something I was looking for. It had green, black, grey stones cemented in.
When I reached the remains of the foundation of our home, I just started crying. It wasn't sadness really, more like a very strong nostalgia. I could see the tiles on the floor of what used to be my bedroom, the yellow tiles of the living room, some white ceramic tile from the bathroom or kitchen. I stood in the living room and stared out at the ocean for a long time. When my vision became clear again, I was able to take more of it in, and was startled once again at seeing how small our home was!
It was fun touring the area with Carmen and sharing memories with Barry. We were able to go inside the main building where the dorms, kitchen, dining rooms, meeting rooms, and pharmacy storage were. Some of the areas have been totally fixed up, while other rooms are still in a dilapidated state.
When we came out of the main building, we could see that a van load of people had unloaded and were headed to the beach. A man invited us to join in on the celebration of some baptisms. Because it was so hot we decided not to go down to the unshaded beach area, but we did watch from afar. It was a beautiful thing to witness, in this abandoned place of my childhood, and I thought to myself that there are still sacred moments happening, even though this land is still scarred from destruction and neglect.
We spent more than an hour here, but the heat was almost unbearable in the approaching noon day sun. I stopped to pick up some reminders of this place- a small piece of red brick from the old pool, two pieces of tile from the house, and three beautiful stones from the beach.
Besides participating on the Monte Plata medical project, this was the experience I was most looking forward to sharing with Barry. I am thankful for this place and how it formed me. I am thankful for the chance I had to visit and remember.
the stone wall
the pool was my second home.
I love this reef!
main floor tile from my home, white tile is either from the bathroom or the kitchen.
the view from our living room, minus a few trees that never grew back
the floor tile in our living room. It is the most intact part of the flooring.
standing in my bedroom
with Carmen, standing in my parent's bedroom.
pointing towards the main building of la posada
the marble staircase that hid us from the strongest winds of Hurricane David, inside main building
The floor tile from one of the main rooms in the big building.
I remember playing on this floor and tracing the designs with my finger.
View from one of the meeting rooms in the main building.
the kitchen. Stove tops replaced by open fire cooking methods.
What used to be the main dining room, where we lined up for food in the left hand side of photo.
view to the rooftop balcony
on the roof top
the stone covered stair
the ground outside my house
Barry and I, sitting on the ledge of my brother's bedroom
this tree is near the place where my dad had a workshop
If you double click the video, you can watch it through youtube and then expand it to view full screen.
Joan - there is a richness of your background that is palpable via your writing. I appreciate learning about your family and others who served alongside you.ReplyDelete