January was somewhat uneventful except for a weekend in the capital when I went with some friends to see Harry Potter. February 1-5 was our three month In-Service-Training. We had to bring someone from our community to give a presentation to our supervisors. I brought Iris, an 18 year old who is my “project partner.” However she no longer lives here in El Guineo because she is attending University and now lives in
. Our presentation went well and it was fun to spend time with the Youth crew since we hadn’t been together like that since CBT which ended in October. After IST I went to San Cristobal , a beach town in the south near the city of San Rafael . The beach was beautiful but the water was really rough and the beach was made of stones and not sand making swimming very uncomfortable. I had to use my life guarding skills with my friend KT when we were having trouble getting out of the ocean, luckily another volunteer who is an experienced surfer was there to help her get out safely. Barahona
February 18-20 I took two girls from my community to a girl’s camp in
. There they attended different charlas (talks) and were able to make masks for Carnaval and one night we even made smores. I think they had a good time. Campeche
On the 25th Eileen Ward came to visit me for a few days. I was so excited to have my first visitor (especially one I hadn’t seen in two years!) Eileen was one of my roommates senior year at
who now lives in Miami . The first day she got we went out and had hamburgers then went to a hookah bar in the capital and stayed at a hostel. The next day she went to the Embassy and hung out at the pool while I attended some meetings at the Peace Corps office. Then we went to Supermercado Nacional. For me it was as if I had been transported back to a Whole Foods in the states. I hadn’t seen such gloriousness in so long. Eileen bought sandwich fixings which I couldn’t dream of being able to afford and I mooched off her delicious turkey and cheese! The purpose of our visit to Supermercado Nacional was to buy Shakira tickets! Yes… I am going to see The She Wolf herself March 30th! That night we went home early from being out with friends because we were tired from the night before. Chicago
On Sunday Eileen and I went with Libby, Phoebe, Dan and Sarita to Juan Dolio (a nice beach east of
). The beach was pretty crowded because it was Carnaval and independence day. That night we went to an Italian restaurant and watched a movie. The next day we spent on the beach. It was much less crowded and the water was amazing. That night Eileen treated me to a romantic dinner on the beach and we watched another movie. The next morning we went back to the beach for a few hours before she had to get to the airport. It was so nice to see her I only wish she could have stayed longer to come see my site. Santo Domingo
Now I am going to talk a little about what it is I am working on here in the campo. First up is my new house! I have spent the last month paining (thanks Dad for teaching me the correct way to paint because no one here knows how and they all think I’m some sort of master painter). My house is half cement block and half wood with a tin roof. I bought a bed, a dresser, a stove, a plastic table and four plastic chairs and a gas tank. Then I also had to buy dishes, pots, pans, gas, silverware, towels, cups, etc. Still missing a mini fridge which is 8,000 pesos so if anyone wants to be Dominican and send remittances that would be great. (“Tens and twenties… all I want is what I have coming to me… all I want is my fair share”)
My doña came over for the first time yesterday and helped” me organize. She made me promise that I wouldn’t leave the house at night to go to the latrine (about 15 yards away) and she took one of my empty paint cans and used a knife to scrape out the old paint and told me I had to pee in the bucket at night (which I did last night…twice!) It was pretty weird to carry a bucket of urine to the latrine in the morning. The dueño of my house still needs to fix the light fixtures and install a light switch. Right now I have to unscrew the lights to turn them off at night.
On Tuesday I had my first Club Tecnológico meeting with 12 boys. They came to my house and we built newspaper towers. They had to compete to see who could build the strongest highest tower with just newspaper and masking tape. They learned that a triangle is the strongest shape. Next week we are going to build bridges out of Popsicle sticks. Thursday I had my first Chicas Brillantes meeting with 13 girls. We made friendship bracelets to represent the group. I made a list of characteristics and each girl had to chose the four that they felt best represented them. Then I told them that each characteristic had a corresponding color and they were to make the bracelets out of those colors. Some of them did a great job and others couldn’t get the hang of the stitch. I will be repeating this activity with 60 girls at the Chicas summer camp in June so it was good to have a practice round.
I have given up on baseball since the only place to play is in the street which is not only dangerous because all the motos and trucks speed by, but also the ball frequently gets hit over the cliff. I have switched to soccer which has been awesome. I try to do a little bit of drills before we scrimmage but the kids get restless. (The
might be the only country in Dominican Republic Latin America that plays baseball instead of soccer so I have been really interesting to watch the kids learn to play.) I use old field hockey drills since I can’t remember my middle school MSI days very well. We play every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from . Monday- Thursday from 6-7:30 five of my neighbors (boys 7-12) come over to draw me pictures.
Anyway hope you feel updated. Thanks to Eileen for coming to visit! And for everyone who has sent packages! (It’s like Christmas once a month!!)
Love to all!