Something that drove me crazy at times and at other times I really appreciated about the DR is that everyone is everything. Everyone is a mechanic, a cook, does construction, fixes whatever is broken, is a tour guide, etc... Now, most people really do know a LITTLE about most things....but nobody really knows ALOT about much. So, if you've got a minor problem, this is great because anything can get done. However, if you have a big problem, you're kind of up a creek.
This often came in handy. Nothing is thrown out. You just fix it all. It was especially nice in the first year, living alone, and later with 2 other girls, not knowing where things were around town really, and having NO idea how to do things for myself. But what did I have? Neighbors & all the guys I worked with at camp. It's MUCH better than knowing where a repair shop is. I had appliaces fixed, car problems fixed, my electricity hooked up after it had been cut, etc. :)
Once, sometime in 2001 or 2002, Kate, Gabby, Jorge and I were driving down to Santo Domingo for a staff retreat. About an hour away, driving down the carretera, all of a sudden the truck quit accelerating. At least it didn't blow up or anything, so I just coasted over to the side of the road.
Enter the Everyone is everything guys. :) Immediately we had several people there trying to help us. Jorge, who was with us, really did know quite a big. The other guys - who knows? But it was SO commical to us that we had to snap a quick picture.
I confess that I was thoroughly frustrated - not even really knowing how far we were from Santo Domingo (I had only been there about a year by then and didn't know the road so well yet), what was wrong, how much it would cost, etc. When you're still in the first year or so overseas, being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, can really stress you out. Oh wait, that can really stress you out anyway! Anyway, God is good. We looked down the road a bit and saw a run-down house with a piece of scrap wood made into a sloppy sign that said "mecanico" and right about then, the mecanic had come out, saw us, and was on his way to help. God's always got our back. We had just come out of a stretch of highway where you drive for a good 1/2 hour without seeing any signs of human life, and then the truck just happened to break down across from a "mechanic." It did take them a while to get the truck running, but they fixed it, and we were on our way.
I guess Kate didn't think this was enough adventure for the day, but that we also needed to go on an adventure to find a bathroom. Now, when in a developing country, you never know what you're going to find. In fact, the side of the road is often better than any "bathroom" you may be offered. (and you really can't drive for more than 15 minutes in the DR without seeing a guy on the side of the road peeing) But Kate (who has lots of crazy peeing stories from the DR), decided to check out it. The mechanic's wife kindly led us to the bathroom and graciously offered to let us use it. I wish we had a picture. :) It was a wooden outhouse (common in the DR), but there was nothing to sit on...just a wooden plank floor with an open slit in the middle that you had to sort of hover over and hope you had good aim. I know we got a GOOD laugh out of her using the restroom and I decided I would wait.
EVERY single time I drove to Santo Domingo for the following 8 years, I would think of that adventure as I drove past that one little spot where it all happened. Adventure was an everyday part of life, and adventure inevitably leads to seeing God's hand on you, watching your back in one way or another. Driving past that house was a frequent reminder that God's got my back. :)