One of the darkest days of the trip occurred on Tuesday when the news reached us that one of the 135 children from Bible School the previous week was run over and killed by a drunk driver. Though he had been hit on Sunday he held on for two days. That night two of our team members, Ken Myers, and Pastor Manuel and his wife attended part of the wake at the boys home. The following came from the journal of one of the team members:
06/27/00 Journal Entry
"I just got back from a wake - an all night ritual the night of a death before the funeral. I went there on the heals of an incredibly productive day of work - where we got much more accomplished than expected - and an amazing worship service in the neighborhood outside our house where twenty children were saved. On the flip side of life was death. When we got to the house it and all around it was dark due to yet another power outage. As we stepped out of Ken's truck it was difficult to focus due to the darkness, but it was possible to see seventy or eighty Dominicans clustered in groups around the yard. I did not use my flashlight as no one outside had any light source. There was a large drop off before the front door which almost made me fall. Candlelight was flickering in the two room wooden hut with a tin roof. The living room wood was painted a light blue and was decorated with various wall hangings such as small tools and old magazine pictures. The wood was old and very dilapidated, with few but significant seams. It was lit by two large candelabras which had a large crucifix in between, all on stands about four and a half feet high. Directly in front of the poles was a four foot coffin set on a table. The coffin had a glass window but it was too dark to see whether the boy was in it. Surrounding the edges of the room which was ten by fifteen feet were chairs with various people - all women - setting somberly in them. Most of them wore dark clothing. We bypassed the coffin and went into the adjacent bedroom which was not painted but had old chipped wood and a tin roof above. On the right and left of the door were two women weeping. A tarnished desk with a mirror sat in the corner. The mirror was not glass but was some type of reflective metal. The mother of the departed child lay on the bed next to her daughter and another small boy. She was laying down when we came in but quickly sat up and greeted Pastor Manuel and his wife. Ken was the first to embrace her. Her hair was matted together and her face was moist from a night full of tears. She was dressed in black. After a quick embrace from Ken I was introduced as a Pastor. She held me tightly and would not let go. She kept crying, "Me nino, me nino" over and over again. It felt like I held her for an eternity but it was probably only 45 seconds to a minute. I silently felt her pain. Eventually she let go, still wailing and crying. Wayne was introduced and he was also locked into a long embrace - though as he held her he prayed over her in English. Next Pastor Manuel prayed over both she and her daughter for a considerable length of time. We left the room after about three long minutes of silence after Manuel's prayer. In the first room I got look into the glass window of the coffin. The small child inside of nine years had his eyes shut. Though I had met him at VBS only a few days before I did not recognize him. We left the house, having to duck to get through the door. We drew much attention to ourselves when we left as Ken had to unlock his car door which made a loud noise interrupting the somber moment. Once inside the car we did not turn the headlights and left respectfully. The ride home was very silent."