Wednesday, December 9, 2009

why i left. part 2.

my dad came to santiago to pick me up this weekend. we didn't have a lot of time, so i planned a day trip to jarabacoa, a beautiful mountain town about an hour from us. the inspiration for jurassic park. gorgeous.

i thought that a friend of mine was still working at the episcopal conference center so planned to swing by on our way to see some of the waterfalls. wrong. he's not there anymore. in this diocese they switch priests like every three months. it's a little crazy.

we pull up and everything is closed up. i ask the neighbors what's going on and they tell me new missionaries are in charge. and they left for the day.

no problem, let me park here and we'll walk around and then leave.

when we got back from the walk the new missionary was standing out side waiting. pissed. before i can even introduce myself she says "you're melanie".

yes,friend. i am.

then proceeds to tell my dad he's not dominican. oops. because she thought my dad was my husband. and that she can't show us around because she's leaving. but really she had just gotten home. as quickly as she could get away from me, she got in her car and drove in. then closed the huge gate.

okay. i just re-read that and it doesn't seem like anything bad. i can't really capture the attitude. i didn't really expect her to show us around but i also didn't expect to have the door slammed in my face.

on top of her lack of courtesy, i'm bothered that a missionary would be in charge of something that was once dominican run. i believe that the job of a mission or mission ministry is to raise up local leaders to run the church. and so to put some old, rich, white lady priest to be in charge of a huge conference center, church and school in a super poor area shouts that americans are the best and we must become like them.

as we were leaving the little neighbor boy told me, "don't worry they're like that to everyone" didn't surprise me, but still kind of made me sad.

the history of mission is hard. but i see the episcopal church in the dominican republic running right back there. to the cultural imperialism, to the "we're better and more powerful so follow us" and to the white is right and money speaks ideology.

sometimes i feel like if they local priest in santiago were changed i'd go back to the episcopal church in the dominican republic, but then i'm reminded of why i left. why i'm no longer there. it's so much more than having married amalio and not getting along with my partner priest. it's that i'm not better or more holy because i'm the one who can afford the mission.

someday we'll find a church home and be content with it. and maybe then the bad feelings will disolve, until then, though, i'll have to live with that nasty taste left in my mouth,

1 comment:

bob saunders said...

My wife is the owner of Colegio San Jose, a small private school in Jarabacoa. I was approached online about arranging Spanish lessons for Mr Carruthers, the husband of Mary Craig, the woman you had such a pleasant exchange with. We met with them for several hours and amazingly enough we came to almost the same conclusion as you.