Well, I find myself once again sitting in front of this computer, in this computer café, in Azua. I think by the end of my time here in Azua, I´ll actually miss it. I feel like almost 6 months later, I practically own the place. I might even have squatter´s rights, if such a concept can apply to an entire town. But at the very least, I´ve been here long enough to make some friends, acquaintances, and whatever else you want to call some of the special members of the missionary "fan club."
We´ll start with the good before moving on to the bad and the ugly. One of my favorite ward members is Hermana Fe. Of course, her real name is Esperanza, but no one here ever goes by their real name. Why would they? I sure don´t, even on the mission people still call me Sweeney, as I´ve mentioned before. It just makes me feel more Dominican that way. But to be fair, the name is on the tag I wear around all day, every day, so I guess I shouldn´t be so surprised. Anyway, Fe is one of those people you just look at and think, "class." Some people just have a certain tilt to their nose and a certain style of dress that says, "Yes, I really am this good-looking, but fortunately, I´m also generous and friendly." She goes out of her way to sit by people at church who are by themselves and she loves to go out and find less active members and fellowship/friendship them and bring them to church. And she makes awesome red velvet cakes and 3-D ship portraits so really, what more can you ask for? She´s also super willing to go out with us missionaries to visit our investigators. I have to admit, having a member along is great, because if someone says something inaccurate or crazy during a lesson, the member can clear it up, because chances are, they speak Spanish. What fortune! I understand most things people tell me, but sometimes an essential word or two will slip through the cracks. And if the difference is between "please, teach us more," and "remove yourself from my presence," well, I like to have some back-up, just in case. But yeah, that´s Hermana Fe for you. She can tell you a whole lot of information in very little time. She´s efficient and opinionated. And a little sassy. She could be a spy. Will look further into the last assumption for more proof.
Then you have the bad, as in, the men who always sit on the side of the street at noon, drunk as skunks. We really have no choice but to pass them, as they line the sides of the streets the church is on, and we go to the church for one reason or another, every day. You would think they´d get bored of yelling at us and making their "friendly" gestures, but I guess 2 Americanas passing is really a good form of entertainment for them. I have since taken a liking to the advice of the cute and cunning penguins from the Madagascar movies. "Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave." And we do.
And then there´s the flat out ugly, like when the drunkest of them all comes up to you every time he sees you to tell you he´s hungry. At first you feel bad, and buy him food. Then you learn from the owner of the Colmado (Stop and Steals) that this guy is a drunken mooch who is always asking people for things. Then you get mad when he comes to church and in the middle of class, petitions the people for food and clothes. And then when he stops you as you´re trying to go home to tell you that he can read the lines in the sidewalk and that there´s gonna be a huge earthquake here like there was in Haiti, you just throw your hands up. In my opinion, if you would stop buying booze, you would have money for food, and if you weren´t drunk all day, you could do useful things with your time. Then again, I don´t know his life story. All I know is, I don´t have money to feed his habits. There are so many people I wish I could help more, and these are people that are actually trying to change their lives. You just learn that as one person, you can do a lot, but we are still limited by circumstance. I happen to find myself a missionary, who, despite what many people here think, is not rich. But after all´s been said and done, you can like the life you´re living, and you can sometimes even live the life you like. And that´s your musical theater quote for the day.
But retreating back again to the good real quick... Eladio was baptized. I will now elicit two woot, woots from the home audience. Woot woot! I don´t know the word for stoked in Spanish, but that is my descriptive word to describe my emotions on Cinco de Mayo. He was so ready, and he was so happy. He said he felt clean, like he had a new body. And the choir got to sing a couple of numbers while he was getting re dressed, so it was just like seeing everyone and everything come together. D.K., (supposedly), Olga is going to get baptized this coming week. Her son asked Hma. Bryant and I the other day, "so, when are we getting baptized?" Now that´s a supplication I never get sick of. Hopefully it´s this week, because the next week is the District Conference of all the branches in Azua, and then we´d have to move her date AGAIN. I don´t care if it´s the last week of this transfer, but I do want to see it. Otherwise, it would be like having the plug pulled on one of my all-time favorite shows before getting to see how it ends. And we all know that that´s just not acceptable.
Anyway, as usual, the time me acaba. But I am officially 1 minute closer to the Mother´s Day call right now than I was, well, a minute ago. It´s the week countdown, people. I get to listen to my little sister tell me that she misses me and will kill me and have my mother ask me all sorts of concerned mother-ish questions, and then, you know, have a whole 30 seconds each to hear from my dad and my brother. We´ll see if all goes according to plan. But speaking of moms, don´t forget to buy yours something nice. Más Y Más bars are a very popular item this year. And Tuvis. Don´t wait till the last minute or you´ll leave the market empty-handed. Happy M-Day to all!
With emotions and feelings,