Building bridges

Some of the churches in Door County have banded together to help the foreign students that come here to work in the summer.  The students don’t generally have a car and are unable to get around to places they might like to see and things they would enjoy doing.  They generally live at their work site and that’s about all they get to see.  The church program is called Bridges and they offer bi-weekly activities, English lessons, and they match the students up with Christian families who do things with them.

Mark and I signed up to be a Bridges family and we got Ramon (pronounced Rah-mon’).  He is from the Dominican Republic and he is studying to be a doctor there.  We have had a difficult time getting together with Ramon because he works in the kitchen at Rowleys Bay Resort and it seems he is always working.  They started with twenty-five foreign employees and they are now down to six.  Conditions are hard there so they lose a lot of helpers, and when the numbers get so low, more work falls on the shoulders of those like Ramon who stay.  Before today, Mark and I were able to meet with Ramon for an hour or so at the Resort, and on his birthday we took him a piece of cake and sang “Happy birthday” to him.  We had invited him to a play last night, but he had to work.  Today he told us he could take the afternoon off to spend with us after he finished up with the brunch crowd.

Mark and I had lunch while we were waiting for him there, but we thought he might enjoy eating some other type of food.  We took him to Wilson’s in Ephraim for a hamburger.

Meet Ramon Lazala Perez!

We weren’t really sure what he would enjoy doing, so we tried several different things.

We took him into Peninsula State Park and stopped to enjoy the view.

It was a gorgeous day and there were all sorts of boats on the water, but this para-sailor was fun to watch.

On the other side of the park, we stopped at the golf course so I could take this picture of Ephraim with its two famous church steeples.

Mark parked right on the golf course so I could get out to take that shot.

We took Ramon into Fish Creek to look at some of the shops, but that was not very interesting for him, especially when we saw a fish boil happening.  He has been helping with the fish boil at Rowleys Bay all summer and he hopes to never see another one after this summer!

He told us he likes fast things, like baseball and other sports.  He used to think he was going to be a sports star until he had a serious shoulder injury.  So we took him to a sort of amusement park in Sister Bay.

Practicing in a batting cage with Mark watching from outside the fence.

Then he and Mark got tickets to ride the go-carts.

Mark in front with Ramon following as they entered the race track.

Mark was having fun zipping around in his cart.

Poor Ramon got a cart with no get-up-and-go.

Mark and the others were doing laps around Ramon (approaching the curve far behind Mark).

You can see the frustration on Ramon’s face as he pulled in last at the end of the race.

Since that didn’t go so well, we decided to take Ramon on a drive to North Port.  As we approached North Port, Ramon told us about a park we had not been to before, so he directed us there.

Ramon and Mark enjoying the view.

From the park, we could see across to the lighthouse.

We could also see the ferries returning from Washington Island.

Two guys and a truck!

The sun was beginning to set and we were getting hungry, so we asked Ramon what a typical meal would be in his country.  He said they almost always eat chicken, rice, and red beans.  We went to the store and got rotisserie chicken, Uncle Ben’s microwavable white rice, and a can of chili beans and took it home for a quick dinner.  I apologized for it not being as good as his mother’s home cooking, but he said it was good.

It was time to take him back to the resort, but we told him we’d like to request to be his Bridges family again when he comes back next summer.  He has already lined up a job for himself in Ephraim.  Hopefully he will have more time to do things with us next year.  He said the kitchen manager at Rowleys Bay tried to ask him to work another shift today but he told him he couldn’t.  He will be heading home on Wednesday and wanted to spend this day with us.

God speed, Ramon!

One thought on “Building bridges

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *