One more year

Tyler, we're as excited as you are that you'll be in Chapel Hill for another year. Thanks for staying.

¿Hablas Español?

Justin is not the only student in the Lewis house.  I had my first Spanish class today.  It's been 10+ years since I studied Spanish.  Should've studied in college, but that's a long story.  Anyway, our friends, Elliott and Lindsay, are in Guatemala studying Spanish.  We talked to them the other night and they recommended that I take classes from their same school.  They offer an e-learning program where students use Skype to meet one-on-one with a teacher.  Two hour sessions for the next 5 weeks.  Awesome.  And all for less than a class at the community college.


That was my reaction when I checked the forecast for today.

Partly sunny.  High 82.

Happy Patriots Day

Tomorrow is a state holiday.  Last year, I had no idea what was going on.  Everyone kept talking about Patriot's Day and Marathon Monday.  I was so confused.  Turns out, the 3rd Monday in April is a big deal up here.

It's a day of remembrance of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War.  There are re-enactments, followed by pancake breakfasts.  Thus, the sign.

And to celebrate modern-day heroes, we have the Red Sox playing a midday home game and the running of the Boston Marathon.  It's timed such that Sox fans leaving the game can walk through Kenmore Square and cheer on the runners.

Yay Boston.

tough break

Chances are those of you reading were actually pulling against us. After all, a significant number of our friends and readers don't bleed the same hue of blue like us. It's okay. Really. No hard feelings.

When Kansas started pulling away you could see it - two great teams. One was better. And tonight there's a great matchup for the title. Some may call it justice. Justice for Roy leaving Kansas. Justice for being "overrated" all year. But clearly that's not the case. It was a great season, full of very worthy opponents. We watched kid named Tyler break some records. He might even stick around another year to break some more.

And even at the end of the season, I hope we were classy. I think our coach was. I think our players were. And aside from that one shameful fan, I think our fans were.

And now it's baseball season! The Red Sox are up against some tougher teams this season. As for the aforementioned class...when it comes to the Sox, that ship sailed some time ago. Of course that won't keep us from cheering them on for the next 7 months.


Meet Luma. She's our sponsor child through Mission Emanuel. We met her four years ago on our first trip to the DR. Over the years, we've gotten to know her and her family. She's grown from being really shy and running away from us to now playing with us every chance she gets. When I went to the DR in January 06, I saw that she had an accident. She had been hit in the eye with a baseball. The second picture was taken a few weeks after the accident. Her eye was pretty sensitive to light and hurt quite a bit. After doing some investigating, I found out that she was being taken to the hospital and receiving treatment for it regularly.

Upon returning last summer, Justin and I saw that her eye had healed, but there remained a white cloud over her eye. She says she can see, but not very well. After talking to her parents, we found out that she actually needs a corneal transplant. It costs a lot of money and there is a really long waiting list. We talked with her mom a couple of times and prayed together. It was really hard knowing there wasn't much to be done, but wait.

In August, I went with Jack and Javier (ministry directors) to the Elias Santana Hospital in Los Alcarrizos which is about 45 minutes from Cielo. We were checking out a potential site for a playground build coming up the next year. The hospital also happened to be the opthalmology hospital where Luma had been receiving treatment. So, I asked Jack and Javier if they could find out more about the transplant process. After talking with the administrator, they found out that the DR is no longer harvesting their own corneas. They get them from the US. That's why the wait is so long.

BUT, she said if we could get our own cornea, that might be a different story...

So, where do we find a cornea???

I asked a few people and did some internet research, but basically came up short. It seems you can't just get a cornea on the eye care aisle of CVS.

Fast forward to March (three weeks ago). I'm eating dinner with the group from Ohio State. One of the two adults on the trip strikes up a conversation and mentions that he might need my help with a situation. Jeff proceeds to explain that when he was in the DR last, he met a child who needed a corneal transplant. After describing the child, I realized it was not Luma he had met, but another child in the community. Upon returning to the States, he raised money to help pay for the surgery. But he, like us, wondered where to get a cornea. He said he thought to talk to his dad who is a member of the local Lions Club. He knew that the Lions donated eyeglasses and thought they might be a good resource. During their conversation, his dad tells him, "Oh yeah, the Lions ship corneas all over the world."

As Jeff is telling me all of this, my mouth was gaping open. I was so amazed that we were even having the conversation. I proceed to blurt out Luma's story and together we decide to take action. He needed my help tracking down the child he met and I needed his help with getting the donated cornea. Since we got back, he's been in touch with the Lions Eye Bank in Ohio. I've been in touch with the hospital in the DR. Basically, we just have to get the children in for a consultation and schedule the surgeries. Then, the Ohio Eye Bank talks to the Dominican Eye Bank and the corneas are put on a plane.

Are you as amazed as I am?

There's more. See, the Ohio State trip itself almost didn't happen. The group was originally supposed to come during the spring break week with Wake Forest, Florida, and Massachusetts groups. At the beginning of the semester they found out that the school had changed the week of spring break. So, we canceled the trip.

Then, we talked and reconsidered. In order for us to host a group in the DR, we needed at least 20 people to come. We knew this would be a challenge since only one person from OSU was definitely interested in coming. And she was the one organizing the trip. But eventually they did get a group of 18 and the trip was on. One of the 18 was Jeff. The week before they were supposed to leave, he got sick and almost didn't come.


Thank You, Presby Women!

Last week, I got a call from the Mission Emanuel admin office. Julie said, "Holly, you got a letter today. Want me to read it?"

"Congratulations!!! The Creative Ministries Offering Committee of Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (USA) is pleased to report that the project noted above (ME Women's Co-Op) has been accepted for funding in the amount of $20000."