What to say about Barranca. Barranca is representative of the DR in my mind. It is where I fell in love with the DR. It's where I fell in love with the Dominican People really. It's where SO many of my beloved Dominicans are from. And it's a place from where the Lord raised SO many awesome servants, who now serve Dominican youth...and it's a little nothing town.
Barranca is a small village really, that is pretty primative and has one major road. It comes in from La Vega, goes down & curves by the Veloz house, and then continues on to the next town. There are no stop lights. There is 1 gas station, 1 school, 1 catholic church, and lots of Plantains. The other "major" road is a terrible road that crosses through town and goes out to the middle of nowhere on both ends. Everyone's houses are literally plopped down in the middle of the plantains. If you have any yard at all, there are plantains behind it. If not, your house is just plopped in the middle of it all.
It's scorching hot and you almost NEVER have electricity. You sit on the porch, under a tree, or under someone's ramada or at their Colmado and hang out, commenting on how hot it is every 5 minutes.
SO many memories! Getting locked IN a house, getting locked OUT of an outhouse (maybe I'll share the story another day!), learning ALOT about culture! falling in love with the Donas - Teresa & Ana, first moto ride, first club talk I ever gave in Spanish (thanks alot Rafa), watching summer staff & work teams get stretched & fall in love with the people as well, take and learn to love bucket baths, swim in the river, LOAD my truck up with an INSANE amount of people (inside & in the back), spend countless nights with Julia & Dioni, build ramadas, pour floors, build outhouses, paint houses, paint the clubhouse, build kitchens, put up a roof, LEARN TO BE JESUS' HANDS AND FEET, learn to JUST BE, fall in love with Vida Joven club & the kids there.
In Barranca I learned that you CAN spend a whole night without sleeping because of the heat & mosquitos and then get up the next day and rely solely on the Lord to give you the strength to shovel dirt, mix cement, & work your tale off as well as give you a good attitude to lead a group of whining Americans who also didn't sleep, are hot, don't like the food, don't want to work, and are going through culture shock - all because I know the ending - I KNOW they will be challenged, end up falling in love with the people, and will be eternally impacted by the experience. I think that's why the Lord is so patient with us when we're whining & complaining. He knows the ending! He knows it's all molding us and growing us and changing us to be more like him. Praise God for places like Barranca that are difficult, get us out of our comfort zones, and teach us how to really live!
I saw the impact of a crazy gringa woman (Tracy Paulino) on a whole little village - they would ALL go nuts as they saw her jeepeta pulling up, and the fruit of her disciples was VERY evident. :) And then there was Rafa and Charro....but they'll need their own post later on. :)
I love Barranca. If you went there to visit, you would think I was insane. If you went there to stay, you would eventually understand.