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Disclaimer: The Original travel journal entry is written in italics. Addenda and clarified thoughts are written in regular print.

Packed and ready to go!
Back row: Anna, Fiona, Aurelie, Lucas, Nikki, Mark, Andy, Andy, Anderson
Front row: Delia, Aiden, Amy, me
photo by Chris F

‘Hurry up and wait’ was the theme for our travel day, that started for me at 2am. Mark managed to convince his wife to wake up just as early to take him and his daughter, Anna, to the airport, and he was kind enough to offer me a ride. Our flight was scheduled to leave Nashville at 5.40am and the group had agreed to meet at the airport at 4am. I was excited ~ it was my first mission trip and we were heading to the Dominican Republic to serve at a school. I was a little unclear on the specifics of where exactly we’d be, or what exactly we’d be doing, but I was excited for the opportunity to serve. I was a little apprehensive about the recent mysterious deaths, but knew God would keep us safe. Our initial flight to Miami was held up by an over booked (American Airlines) flight, and then the connecting flight to Santo Domingo was delayed due to weather. By the time we got through Customs and Immigration, we were hot and tired, but safe in the Dominican Republic. We had also picked up another member for our crew in Miami. Tyler is a pre-med student from Texas and joined our group. We were very happy to have him.

Mark, our driver Carlos, Nikki and Amy in the front of the van
Aurelie, Tyler, Lucas, Anna (hiding!), Fiona and Aiden
There’s Anna!
Not pictured is Delia who was sitting next to me. I have no good reason to not have taken her photo. Sorry, Delia! Andy, Anderson and Andy were riding with our Dominican host, Jr, in his car.

After a scary? boldly driven? adventurous drive through the countryside, which was filled with color, sounds and smells, we checked into our hotel [in San Francisco de Macoris, about an hour ride from the airport]. I’m rooming with Nikki and Anna, and we each have our own bed, though Anna’s is on the floor and next to the bathroom. (Before we left, there were rumors that someone would be sleeping on a sofa bed. I had already decided that the person who didn’t pay federal taxes would get the sofa bed! I was very happy that everyone had a proper bed and Anna didn’t seem to mind her frameless bed – probably because it was directly under the air conditioning unit!) Group Missions, who organized our trip, left a gift bag of candy, along with the week’s agenda and meal plans in each room. Tuesday we would travel to Pimentel, the location of the school we’d be serving, to meet everyone and explore the town. Wednesday would be a full working day, Thursday was a holiday (Corpus Christi Day, so no school) and would be a half day with the afternoon set aside for adventure, Friday was a working day. Saturday was our free day and I knew we’d be visiting a beach. Sunday was Church All Day day, then we’d head home on Monday.

Our first meal was wonderful. Mashed plantains with corn and pickled onions was the main course (I forget the name) [mangu] and sides were scrambled eggs with scallions, fried cheese slices, and a sausage patty. We drank pineapple juice.

After dinner, we hung out after a quick meeting with our Dominican host, Jr. I think I’m really going to enjoy myself. I emailed Dad, socialized for a half minute, then crashed around 7pm local time. All in all, it was a very good day.