Cell Phone Hostages and Angels
Trip Start Mar 14, 2005
15Trip End Nov 2007
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Oh wow its been just about a million years since last I blogged and I feel a little out of practice! Things are going pretty bueno down here in the DR (or the Doctor as Andrewski likes to call it). Ive been in my site for about three months now working on health interviews and practicing the old espanol and i just moved into my OWN casa this week.
I cannot even describe how great it is to have a little bit of privacy again and to have the option of NOT eating rice and beans every day if I don't want to! However, I do have two roommates: Charlotte the spider and Pablo the rat (I feel like naming them might make them less scary for some reason?). Charlotte lives in the bathroom and Pablo lives in the roof, but sometimes we all hang out together. I may have made friends with spiders and rats (kind of) but the cucarachas in the latrine are another thing altogether
I would, however, like to tell one amazing story that happened to me at the beginning of this month. (warning!! long story!)It all started when I came into the capital for a week of language training (p.s. I passed my exam! - by the skin of my dientes!)and my birthday just happened to fall right in the middle of the week. The nine other volunteers that were here with me and I went out to eat PIZZA and see a MOVIE which was GREAT since I hadnt done either of those things in a LONG time and the whole day I was getting great birthday calls from all of you guys which were amazing. Long story short, I woke up the next morning and couldn't find my cell phone (and that long story probably has a little to do with the Dominican rum I was drinking the night before:)). I looked everywhere and tried calling it but got no answer. Eventually, I had to go to class, but I couldnt stop worrying about how I was going to get a new phone, if Peace Corps was going to be really mad at me for losing it, or if I could even explain the whole situation in my "not so strong" Spanish (sidenote: I know its not very Peace Corps-y to have / worry about cell phones, but hey, its the Dominican Republic we're talking about here and we worry about things like cell phones sometimes!)
Anyway, at lunchtime, my friend Tilden tried calling the phone again and about the 20th time she tried it, somebody picked up! It was a Dominican man saying that he had my cell phone and he would be across the street from a large car dealership on the other side of town until 1pm. Even though it was already 12:15, Tilden and I hopped into a gua-gua (the public transportation of the DR) and get there as fast as we can. But, when we get there at like 12:53, there is nobody in front of the car dealership except random Skim-Ice street vendors and window washers. (sidenote: Skim-Ice guys are EVERYWHERE here. They sell these little fruity/icy things for 5 pesos out of coolers to passing traffic and they wear these very recognizable outfits that are purple and red) SO, Tilden is trying to call my phone again, but no one is picking up. Meanwhile I am approaching the random Skim-Ice guys and asking if they have found a phone and they look at me like I'm crazy.
Finally, someone picks up the phone again (we're talking 12:58 by this point) and starts talking about how much I'm willing to pay to get my phone back and finally we agree on a price of 200 pesos (roughly 5 US dollars--steep ranson, eh?), BUT he doesn't want to deal directly with the "gringas" because he's afraid that we have called/will call the policia, so he demands to speak to a Dominican who can act as our middle man. SO, I look desperately around randomly pick one of the Skim-Ice guys and put him on the phone with my cell phone hostage-taker. They talk for a minute and when he hangs up I give him the 200 pesos, but first I say "Look Skim-Ice guy, I know it would be really easy for you to just run off with my 200 pesos and never come back, but I'm a volunteer here and 200 pesos is a lot of money to me and I really need my cell phone back!" Then the Skim-Ice guy looks in to my eyes and hands me his wallet and his entire freezer of Skim-Ice products and swears he'll be right back.
So Tilden and I are standing on the sidewalk with an entire freezer of Skim-Ice (which by the way is in the shape of a penguin) just praying that this guy will come back. After about 5 minutes he emerges from across the street...and he doesnt have my cell phone, but he does still have my money. He says that he talked to hostage taker and that now he really wants to see the gringas before he hands the phone over. SO, we follow the Skim-Ice guy (our fate is now entirely in his hands) across the street and down a couple of blocks where there is a 15 year old kid sitting behind a fence with my cell phone. I give him the money and he gives me my phone back and I say "gracias amigo" as snottily as I possibly can.
I was absolutely amazed to get my phone back at all, but the Skim-Ice guy (who by this time had introduced himself as "Angel," no joke) couldn't stop apologizing for the rudeness of the kid who charged me to get my own phone back. He gave Tilden and I both free Skim-Ices (and wouldn't let us pay!) and then found the right gua-gua for us and secretly paid for us to get back to class! My Angel! Ok, that's the end of my story but the moral is: there are some amazingly good-hearted people in the world mixed in with the cell phone hostage takers around us AND I now buy Skim-Ice as much as I possibly can in hopes that it somehow supports Angel!
Okay, I better not write a single word more because this is ridiculously long. I love and miss you guys all SO MUCH and I can't wait to hear about everything thats going on at home. Write me or call me (bc, you know, I have a cell phone) whenever you get a chance!
P.S. BROTHER!!!! I'll see you in a week and a half?!?!?