Wk 1 Pt 2..Wedding Plans and a visit to the city.
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
48Trip End Nov 07, 2007
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Things continue to be going well here, but communications aren't that great. I have a phone, but phone cards here are very expensive and also, the phone rings, but no one is ever inside to answer it, so I have no idea if anyone has tried to call me yet or not. Since there is only one phone line, we are told not to be on too long. As far as email and internet, the one cafe I am at right now never has electricity(I was lucky today), and the only other that I know of is near our training site, and it is very slow, plus, all the other volunteers go to that one. You may email me, but please understand that it may take a week or so to get back to you. As far as letters, I still have been unable to get stamps. I bought some from the PC people at our training site, but due to some sort of "change in administration" (whatever that means) has not been able to get them to us
Other than communications, I have begun to adapt to my life here in the DR. I forgot to mention a few things in my last update, such as the fact that everyone here is so incredibly friendly and nice. You are not allowed to walk out and talk to anyone without them jumping up out of their seat to offer it to you. And it doesn't matter if you don't take it, because they will refuse to sit back down until you leave or sit down. I also am not used to this new concept of being waited on hand-and-foot. I ask my Dona all the time if I can help her and she tells me to go rest instead.
I have begun to become a little more comfortable talking to people here, and hopefully will be very fluent before long. One thing I am asked by EVERY new person I meet is not what my degree was in, or why I am in the PC or anything like that...they ask if I am married. When I tell them that I am not, this evokes the same responses every time: From the women: "Ah, you soon will be!" and from the men and boys: "Oh, will you marry me then?!". I am guessing that it is a good thing that I look so young because if they knew my real age, they may think I was an old maid, by DR standards
The Dominicans also love to dance. They are very good at it and it is a major part of their lives. I am looking forward to blowing them away with my merengue skills, which is the official dance here. Another one I am trying to learn is the Bachata.
The training here is very interesting, and I am feeling more and more like i am in graduate school. Not so much for the workload, but the material. We have been learning a lot about defining development and different sociological approaches. We are also learning different kinds of cultural behaviors on a universal level. I feel that these skills are going to be very important to me in job searching later on and I find the dynamics very interesting.
Last Thursday we were able to go to the city, on a very crowded guagua and visit the PC office. We all were in shock to experience the luxury of air conditioning and wanted to stay there all day! After the visit to the PC office in Santo Domingo, we then visited the clinic where we are to go if we are dying of disease. It gives piece of mind to know that we are just a hop skip and a jump of only four or five hours away from comprehensive managed health care when we are working in our actual work site
After the lovely trip to the clinic, we went to the more historic (and of course touristy) part of the city. There were shops and all kinds of places to gobble tourists right up. Hungry, we saw a Pizza Hut and decided to eat there. I can honestly say I never thought Pizza Hut could be such a dream come true. We did nothing short of building a shrine to the Pizza Hut gods that day, to show our appreciation for pizza and breadsticks. Not that the food here isn't good, but after a week of eating rice and beans for every meal, it is nice to get something else once in a while.
Next week is going to be an interesting week because I am going on an excursion to stay with another volunteer who has been here a year, about four hours west in Barahona. I would be traveling alone, but my friend Brad, another trainee will be going to the same area, so I feel extremely lucky, because most volunteers are traveling by themselves
I am having doubts about my work assignment here, especially when we had our first week of technical training. I feel that working with youth will be great, but it also has nothing to do with my career path of Public Health. I spoke with my trainer, and he said that I could gear it more toward health, but I still don't think it is going to be something I will find useful. But then I realize that my life isn't my own and that I have to trust that God has brought me here for a reason beyond my understanding, and that He ultimately has a good plan for me. It is very difficult, however, knowing that I went to EMT school and took grad classes so that I could be placed in a PH program in the Peace Corps, and now I am not. I am sure things will all work out.
It has been raining a bit here and we had a class about hurricanes the other day, just as the wind picked up and lightening boomed outside the training center. The rain is actually really nice here, and it cools things down quite considerably. My friend Calli and I were actually able to go for a run (which was more like a fast hike) around the calles in our barrio, which was very nice to be able to do.
Well, that about sums up things around here. I am hoping to come back to the internet cafe before I leave next week, but I am not sure that I will. I hope you all are doing very well. I know that many of you were asking what to send for care packages. I might make a note that it takes about two weeks for regular mail to get here from the states. When sending items, it is best to send them in a padded envelope, if possible, to the post office address I have given you all, and not the package address. I have also been able to compile a list of things which would be awesome for care packages. These are things that either I cannot readily get, I cannot get at all, or things I cannot afford. Anything you send would be greatly appreciated! Note, please do not send phone cards because they won't work here.
Bandanas (have been using these a lot!)
Cookies! (Oreos would be awesome...anything with chocolate will melt)
Paper towels or wet wipes
Turkey or Beef Jerkey
Vegetable seeds, or kits (that have the soil and potting materials, etc)
Tank tops ("wife beaters", spaghetti straps, whatever, send it!)
Magazines (Guideposts, Fitness, Shape, TIME)
Books (anything you think I would enjoy, I'll probably read)
Towels (go cheap..they ruin easy here, but I still need them!)
Power bars like Luna, or Balance
Gum (minty type like the green extra)
Card games and travel size games