The Missions: San Francisco and San José

Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity...Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for him. - Pope Benedict XVI

the reason why Our Lord and Savior has chosen to seperate the sheep from the goats and send the goats into the eternal flames of the nether world became clear sunday: smoking goat smells delicious, but tastes, well, like smoked goat.

i think the trick to smoking goat properly lies in choosing a young beast, not that old thing i was trying to cook...

the beer-can chicken, on the other hand, continues to impress - the succulence of the bird soothes the taste buds.

the guinea hen was average: fact of the matter is that there isn't enough meat on those things.

overall the smoker provides a great respite from the fried and stewed meats so prevalent down here. i have 3 other people lined up to put birds on this sunday. still awaiting the slaughter of a pig so i can get some pork shoulder on there...

right this instant i have goat, chicken, and guinea hen on the smoker. i'll let you know how it cooks up.

yes, i realize it's been a week since i last blogged, but the delay is due to the massive amount of energy created and time consumed by this outstanding group of kids from christendom college. here they are in the new truck returning from a trip to la cueva. they have begun the construction of two chapels, painted one, and built, painted, and delivered 20 pews. as a bonus, i have included a pic i took today of my little amiga michelina while waiting for the truck to pass...

here is the first product off the weber bullet smoker:

is it really friday already? the feast of St. Joseph, patron of pedro santana? has the bishop already been here to say Mass? did i eat meat today? did the kids from christendom arrive safely? did the suny folk actually get a chapel painted and pewed and another two started? is that a bowl of okra from my garden? is my pig pregnant?


for those of you reading in hopes of hearing that the people from suny new paltz have arrived safely, well, they have and all are well...

unveiled for the first time over the air and space waves - everything planted between feb 1 - march 13th - all from seed except for the bananas - contents: cucumber, cantaloupe, carrot, okra, jalapeno, carribbean chili, tomatoe, corn, remolacha, sugar cane, yuca, cilantro, basil, oregano and 4 types of banana, one of which i imported from haiti (it's a little red variety)

on the way to pulio the other day, while crossing the river, esteban and i decided to do a little community service and build a bridge from one bank to a small island. after hefting the log and tossing it into the water and maneuvering it into place, we then buttressed it with rocks. we'll see how long it lasts...also pictured are annie the nurse and josefa the new catechist, as promised.

as you all know, we took a trip to haiti the other day to run a small medical clinic. the fruits of our labor showed up yesterday in the form of two 20 year old women, a 65 year old women, a 16 year old girl with a tumor the size of a large gratefruit on her arm, and a man with a baby. all needed to go to san juan to the hospital. so, after acquiring the necessary papers from the hospital here i sent a kid with them to the house we have down the street. 10 minutes later he interrupts my creole class and tells me that they reject the house. after shaking off the concept that our house is inadequate, i asked my tutor to come along and help, knowing full well that my creole wouldn't suffice to resolve this dilemma. so, sitting on the wall out front with 10 haitians mulling around, i say, "what's the problem?" one of them says something that i didn't understand and they all burst out laughing. i bury my head in my hands and just sit there when out of the blue i hear my 17 year old pregnant creole teach begin to lambast them. scold them. sound absolutely disgusted. i look up and the 65 year old woman starts giving it right back and the two 20 year old's keep saying "no, i ain't staying in that place, it doesn't have a door." after wondering what happened to the door, i realize that there is one way to fix this - i ask fifa (my teacher) to convey to these people that i have neither the funds nor the inclination to construct a 5-star hotel in the next hour, and that they have three options: sleep on the street. return to haiti. clean the dang house for me. after another 10 minutes the girls say, "okay, we'll clean the house." we send them down with the porter and return to class.

after class the man who is responsible for taking people to the hospital on wednesday mornings comes in and tells me that the medical stike is back on and no one can go to the hospital unless it's an emergency. oh joy. now i get to tell the people that they have to go home in the morning. so, entering with no slight trepidation into the yard of the house i find the haitians laughing and cooking. we proceed to convey the fact that the doctors are striking for more money and theerefore they won't be a trip to the hospital. they all agree and say, "no problem." we say our goodbyes and head back to the rectory. as we are passing this half-built, wreck of a house, the porter says to me, "oh yeah, i forgot to tell you. the haitians were originally brought to this house, not the real one..." ahh, communication...

in yet another case of pride or carelessness or perhaps both, i neglected to mention the arrival of the latest volunteer: miss josepha tlaxcala arrived from puebla, mexico last week and will be concentrating on the teaching of the faith for the next 6 months or year or however long God decides to keep her here. in case you might wonder about the necessity of importing someone from mexico to teach in the dominican frontier, today offers a perfect case:

arriving in la palma i ask the people how religious ed is going.
"the catechist is gone. she lives in the capital." perfect.
pressing forward, i ask, "well, who here knows how to read?" out of the twenty or so people one raises his hand. and he's 80.
so, i take advantage of the situation by saying, "there is your new catechist," and point to josepha. we worked out a schedule and she is ready to go.

i'll get a picture of her in action soon...

so there i found myself in haiti two days ago, rugged roads and more rugged people to a certain extent, and annie tells me we have to tell this young lady she has cancer in her foot. annie, to make sure that everything was clear, spoke to me in english, i translated to spanish and another fellow told this girl in creole. the conversation went exactly like this:

us: "you have cancer"
her: "oui"
us: "you'll have to have some more surgery"
her: "oui"
us: "they might have to cut off your foot"
her: "oui"
us: "do you understand?"
her: "oui"
us: "do you have any questions?"
her: "oui"
us: "what?"
her: "can i bring my 7 month old baby?"
us: "oui"

she never broke a smile, nor a frown, nor a scowl, nor any other facial expression than the one you see below.

here it is, finally, the semi-completed pole barn that we dug those holes for last week. this thing spans 20' x 40'. check out the angle bracing holding it up. a special thanks to tim, jeff, ron, zac, and chris for leaving their families and spending three days down here building this thing, working electrical systems, and installing tile in the kitchen and convent bathroom:

well, aristide is gone, but this little fellow decided to show up in my bathroom. he was sitting behind a cup on the cover of the reservoir:
there's nothing like reaching down to flush the toilet and seeing those beady blues eyes staring at you...


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