I know, it took longer than I had wanted to get our trip report up. But here we go!!
So I'll start with the beginning :)
We boarded the 7:30am flight from Atlanta to Miami... Then from Miami we got on our flight to Santo Domingo and arrived at 1:20pm.
Once we got to Santo Domingo, a brother from one of the local congregations was going to pick us up from the airport and take us to the Caribe Tours bus station. One little problem... we had no idea what he looked like!
So, after grabbing a couple slices of pizza we walked outside to see if we could 'figure out', somehow, who the brother was. So, as we were standing outside, with at least 5 taxi drivers asking if we'd like a ride.... a man starts walking up to us, so we smiled at him.
He comes to us and says (in Spanish) "Are you my brothers?" So, of course, we let out a big laugh and hugged our dear brother Rafael Perez. He said he had just gotten to the airport and he could tell we were different. He told us that we looked happy and he could just tell that we are part of Jehovah's organization.
So we got in the car... and Rafael drove us to the Caribe Tours bus station. We got a little bit of a tour of Santo Domingo... at least a 15 minute car ride tour.
The sun was hot and the day was humid. I remember feeling a little 'weird' but still very happy. My daughters call it "nerv-icited"... and mix of nervous and excited. Sounds about right!
Now we waited for the big bus come along to take us on the 2 hour drive from Santo Domingo to Samana. We got on the bus at 3:30 and arrived in Samana at 5:40pm.
Another brother, Jay Anderson, picked us up from the bus station in Samana and took us to our 'home away from home'; at least for the next couple of days it would be. By this time we were exhausted and starving. A quick shower, some food and to bed.....
Friday would be a whole new day!!
Friday morning.... and it was time for some breakfast. So, we got up and started walking. Had a yummy breakfast; two breakfast sandwiches, fresh juices, just 130 pesos (a little less than $3). We had a great view of the bay with that breakfast too. So we did a pretty good amount of walking. The evening before Jay Anderson told us the general direction to where the Kingdom Hall was, so we decided to try to find it. We did!! But no one was there.
We were able to find some WiFi to get some information about an apartment we wanted to see. Got in touch with the gentlemen and he mentioned he'd be in Samana around 12:30.... so we had a couple hours to kill.
When I say we did a lot of walking... that's not an understatement. But I'm glad we did. We got to explore a lot of the side streets, the 'colmados' (small bodegas/corner stores) and of course, the yummy food they offer!
Finally met up with the guy about the apartment. He was kinda enough to take us to the apartment and took a tour (which were very nice, but a bit small for us). After viewing two apartments, he offered to drive us by the Kingdom Hall again, since he knew where it was. It was only about 2 minutes away. As we passed the Hall, we noticed the doors were open!!!! And asked if he could drop us off. After asking us twice if we were sure we wanted to be just dropped off, without knowing anyone :) ... he dropped us off.
It just so happened that the Circuit Overseer was visiting the Samana Congregation that week!! The afternoon group was meeting at 2:15 and we were just in time! We may have looked like a bunch of crazy people off the street... but it was so nice to see the brothers.
We met one family, in particular, that kind of took us under their wings :) It was so nice to feel that. The Garrett family has been serving in Samana for the last four years. They gave us so many great ideas and tips. It was GREAT!!
We had dinner on the Malecon that night with them as well. Had some yaroas (pronounced "Ya-rro-a") It's delicious!!!! Starts out with some French fries or sweet fried plantains, your choice of finely chopped chicken or ground beef, cheese, mayo and ketchup (also known as "mayo-kachu").... Delicious... all I gotta' say.
Afterwards, we walked back home.
Enjoy the pictures from days 1 & 2....
We're the Mazarelli Family
Just a family of four trying to do our best. Our adventure to become Need-Greaters in the Dominican Republic is starting... and we want to share it with you.