Today was a day full of smiles and joy for everyone, and it was more than just because the Wi-fi started working for us. The day started with a bountiful supply of pancakes thanks to Miguel, one of the staff here. After breakfast, we went to El Seminario Menor de San Pedro el Apostol (The Minor Seminary of St. Peter the Apostle) and painted the dining room and kitchen. We worked with a Dominican painter and so it was a good opportunity for us to practice our Spanish. Also, we had to be extra conscious of our work because we had no tape to put around the edges of everything. As one can expect, with a bunch of energetic guys working with paint, there is a little extra fun that goes on.
We continued the day by learning about the sugarcane. We took a ride out to the fields and saw a weigh station where we learned workers are paid $3 worth for each ton of sugarcane cut. Those who work in the fields are those who don’t have papers or live in an area where the only work is in the field. How the sugar is made is by extracting a sweet juice (which we all got to try right out of the plant) from the stalk, boiling it into a caramel like substance, freezing it, and then drying it, giving it it’s crystal structure.
The best and sweetest part of today was the journey we made to the heavenly banquet. We went into San Pedro de Macorís for Mass at a parish to celebrate Our Lady la Virgen de Alter Gracía (The Virgin of Highest Grace). The bus ride there was filled with the songs of the choir from NPH. At mass, while Fr. Kuharski was praying the Eucharistic Prayer, the power went out. However, this did not stop mass; nobody freaked out. Jesus was still alive on the altar. He was still the brightest light there, and it took the lights going out for me to see it. These two things along with much of the work here have told me that beauty is not found in a building or a sunset nearly as much as it is found in the person right next to you, no matter who they are.