I must admit, since inaugurating our court it’s been difficult to get back into any sort of ‘productive’ schedule. Between hosting the Courts for Kids group, coordinating the construction process, constantly adjusting both sets of budgets, and dealing with the ingeniously inevitable snafus that present themselves at the most inconvenient of moments, I was left with very little ánimo. Add in the summer heat and the recent Chinkungunya epidemic, and I found plenty of excuses to stay put in my hammock.
Something that did motivate me to venture off my porch was that I had some international visitors – Dad and Mary! We drove from the capital to Pescadería, and from my community all the way down the southern coast to the border town of Pedernales. Known as one of the most beautiful drives in the Caribbean, we stopped along the way at various beaches for photo-ops. Despite not having a map, we took only a few wrong turns and arrived at quite a few off-the-beaten-path, but worth it nonetheless, destinations; we made up lost time over rich conversation, and were accompanied only by the soft whir of the AC and the surprisingly hefty cattle that scattered the seemingly abandoned highway.
Similarly to when my mom and sister came to spend Christmas in Pescadería, it was both reassuring and gratifying to share my community with my dad and Mary. They were not only able to see where I’ve been living, but also who has been taking care of me and what we’ve been accomplishing together – the court in particular! They sampled La Cabrita’s goat cheese and yogurt, dunked a basket at the court, learned how to play dominoes, and most entertainingly, danced at Patronales (once-a-year celebration in town – really just an excuse to drink lots of beer and/or rum and blast loud, bass-heavy music). My community was just as happy to meet them, proudly introducing them to their culture, warmly inviting them into their homes, and humbly accepting Dad’s gratitude for looking out for me.
Now that Tom and Mary are back on US soil (happy belated Independence day!), I’m focusing on projects that I had put on the back burner to get the court finished – English class, Construye Tus Sueños, and my Chicas – while hoping to start some others. More importantly, I’m intent on avoiding the current talk of the town (or country more like it – the Chinkungunya), by making sure that I continue to take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally, as the past few weeks have been rewarding but tiring nevertheless. For now, that means resting, reading, and running at dusk when the sun glows rather than scorches.
I attribute most of my success here in Pescadería to the fact that I’ve discovered how to be myself here – corny jokes, alone time, singing, inventive culinary concoctions, exercising, staying in touch with other volunteers, etc. Experiencing this process and then being able to share it with my parents is both humbling and heartwarming; I look forward to continue getting to know myself through connecting with others, and to most effectively helping others by staying true to myself.
“You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone. If you’re wanting to be of an advantage to others, be as tapped in, turned in, turned on as you can possibly be.” Esther Abraham-Hicks