“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Posts tagged ‘dominican republic’

Domino Effect

I didn’t live in the Dominican Republic for long. It wasn’t even three years in the end. But, despite all my efforts to not assimilate to the culture, I left with several quirks because of it.

Every afternoon, someone would either invite us to have coffee at their house or someone would simply put a percolator on the stove. You would think that hot coffee in high heat and humidity would be overkill, but I found that after the initial sweating, the outside humectation would seemingly lessen. Now, I enjoy a pot of (decaf) coffee when the day begins to lull and I’m already preparing for dinner. It may be summer, but I feel as though I am better acclimatized than my husband and can stand the heat of midday enough to run in it.

The beaches of Sosua were always interesting. That side of the island is the more tourist-y side, with bars and high-priced trinket markets lining the beach entryways. The worst thing about them was the appalling amount of lecherous creeps that preyed the shoreline. These were the Speedo-wearing, beer-bellied predators blocked from their own countries. The average age was about fifty, but that didn’t (doesn’t) stop them from picking up sixteen-year-old Haitian and Dominican girls to use and abuse with the promise of a future outside the island. Unfortunately, because I grew so used to seeing this sick trend, I now assume that large, white, fifty-year-old men are all predatory and dangerous. I know this isn’t a fact of all men that look that way, but perhaps I am racist and sexist in small ways because of it. I don’t trust anyone’s grandpa until I really know them.

Lastly, the poverty in the Dominican Republic made me appreciate the abundance of America. Appreciate, and also abhor. We live in such luxury here and complain about the things we do not have. We have so much. I do not go hungry. My family does not go hungry. We have a one-bedroom apartment and I could have another child and it would still be sufficient. We have jobs. We have savings. We have clean water. I cannot complain.

After all is said and done, I do wish to go back someday.

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The Half-Naked Stampede of Black Men

The Setting: Night, a dying bonfire, nairy a soul but two girls talking, trees all around and the whole world asleep…or was it?
The Surprise: As we laid there on a green blanket, reveling in our ingeniousness of camping out while everyone slept on dusty, dirty mattresses inside, there was a noise. The voice of a man. 
“Ruth, did you hear that? There’s someone over there!” I whispered.
We looked to the trees, and there was a single, shirtless man standing on the edge of them. 
“Rachelle, get down!”
We flattened ourselves on the blanket, breathing heavily and trying to slow our racing hearts. Suddenly, all hell broke loose.
The trees exploded with men. Men with naked torsos, their shirts wrapped around their heads and faces like ninjas or sheiks.  Men with dark skin that blended into the night, their white shirts shining out like beacons. All silently running toward us brandishing half-filled bottles of Coca-Cola and Sprite and water. We lay there, our mouths wide open in shock, hardly believing our eyes. 
They did not stop at us. They kept running, jumping over our bodies as though we were only obstacles in the way of their grand scheme. One man slowed, but only to put a finger to his lips and say, “Shh.”
They stopped at the dorms where all the other girls were sleeping with the vented windows as their targets. They aimed straight and true, soda and water splashing through onto the beds inside. As soon as they came, they went.
They streaked back to the trees like a thousand bolts of lightning, jumping over us again, our bodies now rolling around in laughter and disbelief. They disappeared, and yet, even with the intensity of their attack, no one woke. The lights remained unlit, the sleeping souls remained unstirred. 
And so with that, we knew they would return. And they did. With hoses and buckets, this time going to the side of the building where most of the windows lay, and most of the beds. They turned it on at full capacity, leaving just as quickly as before.
The screams. Oh, the screams. They echoed into the night and into our minds, softly at first, but then growing as the owners of them became more aware of their circumstances. Their beds, their bags, their bodies: drenched.  
The rebuttal was slow in coming, the plan was incomplete. They smeared their faces in toothpaste, white cheeks glowing in the dark. They passed us, not noticing us as we stood there watching the excitement and revenge in their furious eyes.
They crept of the stairs to their prey, not realizing that their prey was really the predator, and it was lying in wait. Hostages were taking, the rest of the army turning tail and running back to safety. We were joined by two others, Evangeline and Ann. We hid in the shadows, having done nothing and hesitant to have something done to us. The girls went by and came back shrieking with a horde behind them. The horde then saw us crouching there.
We, the original two, hid inside a hollow building. We saw our compatriots surrounded and splashed. One took off bellowing after a cowardly male, and the other was too tired to do anything but stand there as she was covered head to toe in toilet paper. We were curled in a corner, hoping they wouldn’t see us through the empty window. 
One did, causing us to panic. We moved to a different corner to avoid being soaked near the window. Ann the bellower entered. We took a chance as we were forgotten by the horde, and ran to another hiding place where we had stashed the  green blanket in the heat of the battle. 
As soon as it all began, it was halted. Leaders came pouring out of the doors, awakened by the cries in the night. They ushered us girls inside, and then back outside, where we did push-ups until someone dropped. Then we did jumping jacks until someone dropped. Then sit-ups until someone dropped. Then we ran in circles until finally they told us to stop, and made sure we had learned our lesson about breaking curfew. It was five in the morning. Ruth and I had been awake the entire night, having been up talking until the war started. They woke us at six. All in all, I had thirty minutes of sleep, Ruth beating me by fifteen minutes.

They never punished the men. 

Gardens

Wilted flower, send me home

I’ve nobody to call my own

It’s just you and me

Looking for a home

I remember when our lives were good

We’d look around from where we stood

We liked the world, at a distance

So, where’d you go, my innocence?

My mind’s in darker places, now

I’m walking out of habit

And I don’t know where I go

I’m picking up a broken pot

Dying plants are what we are

Oh, you can be replanted

But where’s my garden, still?

Picture me, wandering through

Without a thought on what to do

I left my windowpane

And I’m too short to reach it

So where’d you go, my innocence?

My mind’s in darker places, now

I’m walking out of habit

And I don’t know where I go

There’s a road that leads to somewhere

A path that starts, but never ends

It’s waiting, waiting for me

I’ll take that road, that leads to somewhere

I’ll find myself, and when I get there

I’ll plant me and sleep

My mind’s in darker places, now

I’m walking out of habit

And I don’t know where I go

 

 

© 2011 singinthebreeze.wordpress.com

I Fell

what are you doing? you ask, you ask

i’m explaining, only explaining, how it happened

is that blood? where’s it from?

from my heart, my mind replies

in your face, i can tell that you heard it

ignoring what you know, i speak, i speak

i fell, see the dirt? you don’t believe it

look, i’m not a fool, so you say, so you say

if so, i could use a little faith in me

go ahead and  cry, all your tears for me

until your eyes are parched and see mirages

you’d save a lot of heartache if you listened

but no, you will not do it, why? why?

you know why, you say, i can’t believe a lie

because, you didn’t fall

someone pushed you


 

 

© 2011 singinthebreeze.wordpress.com

Pulse

Can you feel

All the words just like the rain?

When they land they aren’t the same

There they end up in a puddle

You’d waste your time to separate

And the people

In this crowd they won’t confess

To being scared or something less

Than perfectly happy

Moving just like all the rest

Or do I speak for myself

When I say I’m suffocating?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Where is the breathable air

In this space I’m occupying?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Can you feel

The music pulsing through your veins?

Any louder you will faint

How much longer will you suffer?

You’re staying still with all your strength

And the people

With their elbows in your sides

Painful memories in their minds

Want to lose themselves in dancing

And other things you do at night

Or do I speak for myself

When I say I’m suffocating?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Where is the breathable air

In this space I’m occupying?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Everyone wants to say goodbye

But they don’t know how and they don’t know why

You can only stand them for so long

And then the hours lose their fun

Everyone wants to say goodbye

But they don’t know how and they don’t know why

You can only stand them for so long

And then the hours lose their fun

Or do I speak for myself

When I say I’m suffocating?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Where is the breathable air

In this space I’m occupying?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Do I speak for myself

When I say I’m suffocating?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

Where is the breathable air

In this space I’m occupying?

Enough is enough

Right now I’m relocating

 

 

© 2011 singinthebreeze.wordpress.com

Distant Friends

so these last few days have been meaningful.

we have soaked our skin with laughter.

and the sunlight and the ocean have been good to us.

we have flirted with the rooftops of the seaside.

and only you and i know exactly what i’m meaning.

too much sightseeing may have killed us but we’re living

to do a little more a lot of fun over the weekend.

but now to say goodbye in the ‘morrow.

could be a year or even more ’til next i see you.

right off we clicked yes we knew what we were doing.

all the secrets that we spilled like our coladas.

because we knew we would hold to our promises.

but being alone on an island could be the death of me.

and i am so sorry to see you leaving.

😦

 

 

© 2011 singinthebreeze.wordpress.com

It’s Really, Really Cold Here!

Yes, yes, I know. Earlier I said is was sinfully hot (but in different words), but now, I’m wearing socks, sweats, and jackets to bed. It is FREEZING! And the rain, oh, all this rain! I love it! Haha! I am full of contradictions! But so is the weather, and so is life. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

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