My boss came to visit my site in mid April. She said everything is going great, and she was happy with my projects.
The Shakira concert was a disappointment. We were too far away in the stands. As you all know, the real reason to go to a Shakira concert is to see her dance! There were some technical difficulties as well. Pitbull opened for her but she didn’t come on until It was still fun to get together with everyone in the capital.
April 1-3 I got SCUBA certified! It was incredible. I went to 60 ft and saw beautiful reefs and a wreck. I can’t wait to dive again.
This weekend is Bola Race. A bola is a free ride… We will meet in
on Friday and then Saturday morning we find out the final destination. We have to get to there without paying and we can’t say we are Peace Corps Volunteers, since this is not an official PC event. Santiago
The new volunteers are swearing in next month so we will no longer be the new group. I am really excited to meet the Environment volunteer who is going to be living 10 minutes from me. My community is eager as well since they are very interested in starting some stove projects here.
Bola was really fun! We had to go from
to Samana. Doug and I decided we were scientists who sailed from Santiago to study the Lion Fish that resides in the reefs here. Our boat got blown off course and we ended up in Boston instead of Samana. We had no money and no way of contacting our fellow scientists so we needed to get to Samana quickly and for free. In total we got 11 rides. Everyone was so nice and willing to help us. Some guy even paid for a bus trip… we of course felt bad about taking his money and karma struck because as we were getting out of his car my finger got slammed in the car door and broke. I didn’t get an x-ray until three days later. My first ever broken bone!!! But eventually we made it and had a great time at a beautiful beach. Santo Domingo
August 15, 2011
Almost at the year mark and I have been terrible at keeping up with my Blog! This summer has been hot! The first half started out slowly. When school ended some of my groups fell apart and I wasn’t doing a whole lot. In July things picked up. Right now I have an English class on Tuesday’s and Fridays, Chica’s Brillantes (Girls group) Monday’s and Thursday’s, and on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s I teach a sex-ed/HIV/pregnancy prevention course. Quality of life went up as soon as the wet season hit and I had access to water every day instead of every three days. However with the rain also came the mosquitos. I’ve looked as though I have chicken pox for the last few months. Quality of life also went up when Mom and Dad sent me some “remesas” (remittances) so I could buy a refrigerator. It is so nice to have a glass of cold water and cook my own food. This past Saturday Doug had a dinner party at his house and invited everyone who lives around us- including myself, Andy, Robin and Stephanie, a French girl who is living in Los Cacaos working on her thesis on agriculture. We made a salad, and used the Chicken Tikka Masala spices that grandma Judy sent (THANKS!!!) it was AMAZING! La Sirena (the grocery store in San Cristobal) had Basmati rice so we got to have our first taste in almost a year of Indian food. We had also made a flan for desert. It’s nice to be able to get together and have a nice dinner and listen to friends play their guitars. A little reminder of home. What else… I got a cat!!! He is all black and I named him Theo. He found a girlfriend who now also lives in my house and eats all his food. Once she started sleeping here every night I decided I had the right to claim her and so I named her Alice.
To back up a little and catch everyone up from the last few months I want to say that I had an amazing time in June when Amanda, Ashley, Elana, Kristin and Lori came down to visit for 5 days. We stayed in a villa in Bavaro near Punta Cana. The weather looked a little if-y due to a hurricane warning that was issued that same week but as it turned out excluding the first day, the weather for the trip was great. We went twice to the Barcelo resort which had pools and all you can drink/eat. It was so nice to see them. I’ve gone scuba diving a few times since my last update. I was took a scientific diving course where we learned to use cameras underwater and how to evaluate the conditions of coral reefs and monitor diseases and any destruction caused by pollution or boats or other divers. We also took a rescue diver course and I can administer O^2 in an emergency situation. In order to get my official Scientific Diver certification I need at least 25 dives and up-to-date CPR.
For the fourth of July I went to Bayahibe with some other youth volunteers. It was nice to be in a smaller group but it was cloudy so we didn’t get to take advantage of the beach. The night of the fourth the nearby resort set off fireworks. The last week of July was Camp GLOW. I took two girls from my Chica’s group to a five day girl’s camp in Yaguate, San Cristobal at the Rancho Ecologico El Campeche. It is a beautiful camp with cabins and a pool. The girls had a great time and participated in workshops, art activities and sports games all while getting the chance to leave the campo which they otherwise rarely get to do. Over twenty volunteers participated and brought their own girls. I gave a workshop on self-esteem and taught the girls how to make friendship bracelets. Each girl was given a sheet with twenty characteristics on it and they had to circle the four that best pertained to them. Each characteristic had a corresponding color; the girls made the bracelets with the colors that corresponding trait.
Upcoming events- I was made VAC (Volunteer Action committee) co-coordinator for Region 6, and have two meetings this week on the 16th and 17th with the other regional coordinators and the Country Director. We have a post-GLOW meeting on the 17th to discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well this year at camp to plan for next year. The 18th I am going to get my residency/ green card. As far as projects go, I hope to graduate my Escojo Mi Vida (sex-ed) group in three weeks. After graduation I want at least two or three of the really motivated kids to help me start a second Escojo group. I still have a while to go before graduating my English class but this new group is a lot better than my first class. Part of that is because I make it more interesting and I hold class twice a week. Chica’s just started up again and we are going to graduate at the end of September if all goes according to plan (which it never does). I am trying to work with Andy, the new Environment volunteer who lives near me, on a stove project in the coming months. The tubes finally got here and my community is starting the aqueduct. Doug and I are trying to build a library in the government building in Los Cacaos but only 4 people showed up to our informative meeting last week. As we have all learned, you shouldn’t start a project if you don’t have a lot of community support. The community needs to feel, and be, invested or the project will fall when the volunteer leaves. Thanks for the packages as always. Keep the trail mix, granola bars, oatmeal and Thai food coming, and don’t hesitate to send good books or magazines. Love and miss you!