by Rachel Sawyer
There are four distinct communities that Makarios serves in: Chichigua, Pancho Mateo, Tamarindo and Los Ciruelos. Each of these communities has a special place in the hearts of Makarianos, one represents the inspiration, one is the site of the first Makarios school, one is the current neighborhood of the school, and the other is the location of lodging for our groups. Today, we are going to look a little closer into the two fruity ones: Tamarindo (a sweet and tangy fruit) and Los Ciruelos ("the plum trees".)
Tamarindo is the neighborhood immediately surrounding the current Mak school. With many houses peeking in just feet from the school and all around the perimeter, Tamarindo is a maze of closely linked houses just on the edge of Montellano. The majority of the students that currently attend Colegio Makarios are from Tamarindo. Interestingly enough, Tamarindo was not initially part of the scope of neighborhoods that Makarios planned on working in. However, when the availability of land coupled with the availability of an already established building foundation, which is the most expensive part of any building project, happened, Tamarindo came into focus front and center, and is now truly the hub of many Makarios functions.
Colegio Makarios clearly has the cutest neighbors (and in this case, students) ever! The window from the back of their house is inches from the Makarios fence line. Not all of our neighbors in Tamarindo are quite this close, but atleast a handful of them are reach - out - and - touch distance. Photo Credit: Rachel Sawyer
Los Ciruelos was also not originally a part of the picture of Makarios because the neighborhood is comprised of mostly middle class Dominicans who already had other options for schooling. However, when affordable land was found in this bustling little neighborhood, Makarios expanded its reach to Los Ciruelos, bringing in hundreds of people throughout the year to serve alongside Makarios, staying in the MAK house. Along with the MAK house host couple, these visitors, while only here for a week at a time, have been instrumental in loving on and providing activities and bible teaching for the kids of Los Ciruelos. Almost every group spends their "down time" playing with neighborhood kids, and providing a Mak.comm (Mak community) experience with bible stories, skits, crafts, etc.
The size of Mak house is matched in heart by the size of the relationships that past and present staff have built and continue to build within the community of Los Ciruelos. Every single host couple that has done life in the Mak house and in the community of Los Ciruelos has intentionally poured into relationships in this neighborhood. One of these relationships that has been a constant thread in the life of the Mak house hosts has resulted in the "adoption" of a particular community member, not in terms of legality, but in terms of love, discipleship, accountability and shepherding a heart for Christ in the life of someone special, a Makariana Extraordinaire. If you've met S, you know that her English is fabulous (thanks to a former Mak house couple that taught her!), her personality full of vigor and her heart tender for the Lord beats strong.
All of our communities are as special as the people living in them. We are privileged to love and serve in such gracious, hospitable places. Come on a trip to serve with Makarios and you will see for yourself how blessed we are to love, educate and empower in these communities!