Reflections from Monique’s Trip

“Don’t drink the water” not even un “chin!”
“Learning something means coming into contact with a world of which you know nothing. In order to learn, you must be humble.” Paulo Coelho
I had absolutely no fear or anxiety prior to my arrival to Santiago.
Until… I stepped out of the airport. It was that moment in which I was gazing over a mass of Dominicans for the infamous Sarah’s Smile that I wanted to run back in the other direction. What exactly is my mission, I thought to myself. What am I expecting and what is expected of me? What if I didn’t bring enough supplies for the school. What if I’m not capable. What if the teacher doesn’t want to learn about the Montessori Method.
It took three days for me to exhale those thoughts and inhale the spirit of God, the spirit of love, the idea of abundance.
God lead me to this beautiful island and surrounded me with a plethora of  beautiful people. I was reminded to remember my purpose every day.
Cuesta Arena was indeed full of sand and smiles. As I arrived with Kandys (the teacher) and Sarah I was incredibly anxious. God had never put such a mission before me. As we entered the school I was completely surprised by the amount of materials!!! I could not believe my eyes and in fact my eyes became swollen with tears as I discovered that all the materials were donated. I have taught English overseas at an orphanage in Thailand and not even at this gigantic Kings school had I seen so many enriching materials.
My time with the teacher was incredibly fruitful and rewarding for the both of us. Once she understood the theory behind Montessori she was excited to begin with this new idea at the school in Cuesta Arena.
After we worked hard on organizing the room and preparing the environment we were blessed with time to try out the new philosophy with the children. They loved it! Montessori will prepare the young children of the village by providing them with the ability to concentrate, develop hand-eye coordination, independence, order, positive self-esteem, and motor skills. Qualities the children need in order to prosper both academically and socially.
The second floor is in construction thanks to Guillermo, missionaries, and all of you who have donated your efforts, and of course God. The older children are extremely proud that the top floor will be a place for them to learn after school. I had the privilege to work with some of the older children using the Montessori sand paper letters (Letras de Arena :), and the movable alphabet.
I am incredibly grateful for the people who made this possible for these children.
I spent a lot of time with Sarah, Ali, and Jordan and we shared many laughs. I was incredibly blessed that they were here during my mission, as I have learned things from them they will never know.
Pastora Sairy is an angel. I am clearly convinced of this. Her home became my home in a matter of hours. The entire family felt like my family  after 10 days. As I dreaded saying goodbye to them I felt an ease wash over me. They will forever be in my life.
It’s no coincidence what God puts before us. Ask and you shall receive. But be mindful of what you ask for.
As I walk onto my plane and depart Hispaniola I’m reminding myself to always look for that ray of light that shines perfectly through the jalousie window when you least expect it. It’s that moment and that light that will forever guide me.

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