Thursday, March 20, 2008

A First For Everything

The past two days have been incredibly productive, even for dominican standards! If you didn't know, Dominicans are very casual, go-with-the-flow, people. They are never really in a hurry. We joke around with the people we are staying with, Scott and Kelly Hampton (amazing people who have been a blessing to stay with), that if you accomplish one thing with your day in the DR, you have had a successful day. So to accomplish several things in a day tends to be quite the ordeal. Not only have we been getting stuff done, several of them have been the first for the ILB which has been great to be a part of.

On Wednes day we had a very busy day. We attended practice again in the morning. During that time, we conducted short interviews of each player for their player profiles. This was one of the items on our checklist that we needed to accomplish. In addition, we got some video of them for a short introduction which will hopfully be a fun short piece. All of the interviews were very simple, but we had to use a translator. Despite their simplicity, it was great that we were able to get them accomplished.

After practice we went and accomplished another first for ILB. All of the players get a lunch cooked for them as part of the ILB program. For some of the kids, the ones from the Batay's, this is the best meal they will get in a day. Seth tends to think it's the biggest meal they've had in their life, but i'm don't want to assume that. They do eat well though. It was great to see them eat it up. The coach, Carrion, wants to weigh them to see how much bigger they get from eating well. This simple meal, is a big thing for the program. It means that a cook has been hired, and the kids get at least one solid meal a day.

Although it may not seem like much, it really will make a difference. Like I said, the kids from the batay's do not eat very much as this is one of the bigger meals of their life (according to seth). When you have the kids throwing high 70's and low 80's when they are 13 and 14 is pretty imressive! Not to mention, they weigh very little. With this one meal a day, they will no doubt get bigger and have some more muscle to put behind the ball. It will be fun to see how they progress.

In the afternoon we had a chance to go into one of the batay's, Algadon. It is the village that I have spent the most time in. Our trip consisted of two primary objectives: 1, to deliver beds to several different houses and 2, to deliver metal-wood bats (a hybrid bat) to the coach of the little kids team in the village. Both deliveries went really well and they were extreamely excited to be recieving both.

Thursday was a fairly chill day. Part of the UPC team had arrived late on Wednesday night. We went to our final practice yesterday and the UPC team joined us. Seth and I got to run part of the practice. They wanted us to do strength and speed training for the players, but we only had time for the strength portion. We absolutely WORKED them! They have to be sore today. The exercises included: wall sits, sprinting against a wall, one legged squats, stair jumps, hamstring lifts, and lunges around the bases! I felt so bad for them, but it will for sure make them stronger if they keep doing it. After practice we had lunch and went to the beach again. It was a chill day.

Well, it's good Friday today, so... I'm gonna go be good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We have been keeping pretty busy the past couple of days. Each morning we wake up early to make it to the players practice and document as much as possible on video and photo's for their profiles. The practices last from about 8am until 12pm- a four hour baseball practice! For me, being someone who doesn't usually enjoy baseball a whole lot and finds it to be fairly boring, I stay really entertained. It is mostly due to the relationships that I am building with the players and how much they have impressed me with their talent. It is a lot of fun to watch them and the passion they have for the game. They absolutely love to get out and play. Watching them turn double plays in practice in 85 degree heat as I stand 10ft from them taking pictures on the field is a rush! One of the things I have really noticed is the amount of respect I have for the players and their abilities. I have never really considered myself much of a baseball player, and to even think about playing with these guys is a humbling experience. They all throw so hard and hit so well that it is overwhelming. It's a good reminder for me and a great experience to stand back and just be impressed by the things they make look so easy.

In addition to baseball, Dominicans love to play dominoes. Most people probably think of dominoes as being a fairly reserved game, yet they add their carribean flare to the game. They love to slam the dominoes on the table, as if making their presence known that they are ready to take you down. Last year I watched a game played in Algadon, one of the batays (villages), and the players would slam down the dominoes nearly every turn. The added flare of their game was that the loser would have to wear several clothes pins somewhere on their face until the end of the next game as a punishment for being the loser.

Although we have remained busy during the dya by attending practices in the morning and editing video and pictures in the afternoon, we do get some free time. One of the joys of our freetime, or atleast mine, is playing dominoes. Much like baseball, dominoes has been another very humbling experience! Although I love to play and enjoy the leasureness and strategy of the game, I am earning the reputation as the worst player. We usually play in pairs against eachother and I have become a source of bad luck! It's terrible. Knowing that I enjoy playing, but that I have lost about 8 games in a row keeps me in check, much like thinking that I can play baseball.

Tomorrow we will be attending practice in the morning again, documenting like usual. The players so far have taken kindly to us. We will see if that continues tomorrow as Seth and I will be running part of their practice for strength and speed training. I just hope they don't hate us when it's all said and done because we plan on working them pretty well. Tomorrow we will also have a chance to meet the new cook who will be preparing lunches for them. It will be the first day in the start of the new program, one of the many accomplishments of the trip thus far. In the afternoon some of the members from the UPC team of 70+ people will be arriving, several of whom are good friends of ours. I have no doubt that we will enjoy our time together tomorrow night. I will try to post more pictures tomorrow. Until then, Adios!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Roosters and Baseball

The host family that we are staying with lives in the city of Barahona. Like any city, it has its different neighborhoods, which I am unfamiliar with but know they are there. We are staying on a fairly quiet street with not a lot of traffic. We get the feeling of the city, but without the raucus. Until about 2am that is. At about this time, once we have fallen asleep, the roosters begin to crow. These are not your normal farm roosters that sound the alarm at dawn. These are the city roosters that don't care when they go off. Sleep has been a little hard to come by so we try to sleep when we can.
Yesterday we had the luxury of sleeping in, even after our, like clockwork, 2am alarm. We then decided to tour around town and went to the market.

It was my first trip to the market, and it was a great experience. It was a lot like Pike Place actually, only not quite as fresh or as high of a quality. That and there was a bit of a stentch everywhere. But once you got past that, and the skinned goats, or the live chickens tied to the back of motorsycles, it was a lot like Pike Place. Needless to say, it was quite the experience! After our trip to the market, we spent the day at the beach where we played a little catch and swam in the carribean. Sometimes it's rough down here.

Today we went to church in the morning and are now preparing for lunch. Later this afternoon we are going to a baseball game to do some more "work". It's really a lot of fun and I'm excited to take more film and pictures. Below are a few pictures from the game on Friday night. And yes, at one of the fields there was a horse tied up in the outfield. That is the field that the ILB has been given permission to use from the government.

The field ILB recieved from the government.

The horse tied up in the outfield, kinda like Safeco.

Players that we will be following.

Friday, March 14, 2008

La Republica Dominicana

I am back in the Dominican Republic (DR) again for my third time in five years. The previous two trips have been through a church mission trip working with Children of the Nations. This trip is unique because I have the opportunity to help my friend with the start up stages of his NPO the I Love Baseball Foundation ( The purpose of the ILB is to provide competative baseball coaching and training for a team in Barahona. More importantly, the drive behind the ILB is to simultaniously provide an education for these players. He is essentially trying to create an academy in Barahona for players who would normally travel to San Pedro, or the capital Santo Domingo, to pursue careers in baseball. Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of players will return to there home towns with no money to show for their efforts and are unable to contribute to society since they have no education or trade to show for it. This is what the ILB is attempting to alleviate.

Our job during our time here is to create content through photographs, interviews and film. The content will be used for sponsorship pages in hopes that the individual players will be sponsored so that they can afford the team and education, primarily giving them the financial ability to afford materials that will allow them to be competative in the classroom and on the field.

Today we had the opportunity to watch a baseball game in the main stadium of Barahona. (I should also mention that baseball is THE sport in the DR. Everyone talks about it and follows it. Whether it's the local Dominican teams or the teams in the MLB, they know it all! The players try to mimic their favorite players, most of whom are Dominican.) All of the players have a true joy for playing ball and it shows everytime I watch them. From my experience down here, I am realizing that it is an escape from reality for them. We are definitelly in a third world country and the signs are everywhere. The most telling of which is the garbage that is everywhere! It lines the streets as everyone carelessly throws it on the ground and it is hardly an afterthought for them. This is just a small insight into their daily lives and doesn't include the Bate's, or the slums if you will. When they have the chance to play baseball, they get to pretend they are Pedro Martinez playing for the Boston Red Sox. They also have dreams that their talents will take them to America where they can have a better life. That's why they go to San Pedro and Santo Domingo in hopes that it will become a reality.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to meet more of the players and documenting their talents and lives in hopes that they will have the ability to see their dreams be reached, but more importantly gain an education and be able to contribute to society. Each time I come I am continuously amazed by the people down here who are so generous with everything they have.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


It has been a long time since I have posted something. In fact, I am no longer in Jackson, WY if you didn't already know that. I had a wonderful time during my two months but felt it was time to head home. I am now living in Seattle with a new job that is very exciting. Lately, I have really been enjoying the promotional marketing required for my job. I do not believe that I could have been blessed with a better first job. It requires the ability to wear several different hats and will become more difficult as time goes on, however it provides me with some valuable experiences that I am enjoying. I even have the opportunity to travel occasionally which is nice to see other parts of the country, however is probably the least favorite aspect of my job as I visit several different airport. Even now I am sitting in the Denver International Airport. When all is said and done, I will have sat in DIA for nearly four hours! Lucky me. Given the time I have spent in airports, today in particular, I have had some "quality" time to think about them.
I dislike airports. Here is my first point of dislike for airports. If you have ever seen the movie The Terminal with Tom Hanks, you may remember that airports exist on international property (I believe). This means that although I am in the DIA, I'm not actually in Denver. Does this mean that I am in International Denver, CO? Where am I? It's confusing to say the least.
My second point: airports are just a temporary waiting point. Nobody actually wants to be in an airport for an extended period of time. They are simply a means to an end. A holding cell if you will. Everyone within an airport is waiting to be somewhere else.
Thirdly, airports are lonely places. Most people that are traveling on airplanes are en route to be with friends or family. If you have to be here for extended periods of time you are delayed from being with the people you want to be with.
Airports offer an inaccurate depiction of America. If you think about which class of Americans are able to fly on plans you will realize that the answer is middle and upper class. If you take an even broader perspective, you will see that airports could be viewed as a club for the worlds wealthiest. Although it may not always seem this way when you look around you at everyone else flying, much of the world makes less then a dollar a day. How much did your last plane ticket cost? Interesting to think about.
Although I dislike airports for those reasons, I do enjoy having the opportunity to travel with this job. I get to see different parts of the country. Coincidentally enough, I'm always ready to head right home to the most beautiful part of the country (in my opinion)- Seattle, WA.
My plane is about to board which means that I get to leave this confusing, temporary, lonely, and crazy place.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just another day at the office

Not a lot has happened recently. I got back from camp on Friday night. We had another fun week at camp with good weather and a few thunder and lightning storms surrounding us. Now that we are back, things are going back to normal. We are running the normal day camp for elementary schoolers along with the usual middle and high school youth groups. It is nice to be back in Jackson. I am enjoying my time here.
There has been a tragedy that has occured here in the town. A young man in high school recently died in a fatal car accident and it has affected a lot of families here. Today they held a funneral service for him. He was very well known and like I said, his death has touched a lot of people in this small town. I didn't meet him, but a lof of the highschoolers are having a difficult time dealing with this event.
Transitioning from that, today I had a rough day of work. Today I went on a middle school day trip with another intern, Colby, and we had to do a scenic float trip on the snake river... On top of that, I have to get paid for it... It was a rough day. Tomorrow we are supposed to have another middle school day trip to the fair. Just so you know, the fair around here is a really big deal! Tonight is the start of teh fair and the main event is pig wrestling. People will submit their teams to a lottery and hope to be chosen to participate. There is also a Calcutta betting system in place where you can pick the team that you hope/want to win. Like I said, it's a big deal... apparently this event, and all evening events, will SELL OUT! I may go to the fair tonight to see the pig wrestling since some of our kids who we work with will be in the event... or I may try to go fishing again- our guide showed me some places that should be good to fish.
Needless to say, I am still enjoying my time here. They have a lot of the outdoor activities that I enjoy and I get paid to do things that are actually fun. Not a bad gig for right now. Until next time...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Adios... just for a week

Well, this afternoon we are going to leave for camp. This means that I will be gone until Friday night and will not be able to put up any posts until then seeing as how we will not have internet. So you know, my address here is...
For mail:
c/o Sherry Poinsett
PO Box 6422
Jackson, WY 83002

For UPS:
600 Lakota Lane
Jackson, WY 83002

I will talk to you all soon. Adios for now!
God is good, all the time, God is good.