Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Birthday and 4th of July

These last few months I was reminded why it is so nice to be stationed in this country for Peace Corps.  The beaches, the cities, the relatively reliable public transportation and most importantly the fact that any time I am just a few hours from almost every other volunteer in my group.  In June we had birthday celebrations for me and Joe, whose birthday was the day before mine, and a group of about 30 or so volunteers met up in Santiago for the weekend.  Then just this last weekend we all fled our sites for the South and a weekend on the beach for the 4th of July.  Almost our entire swear in group, 30 some people, made the trip to the Paraiso cluster and spent the weekend soaking up sun and rum in our lovely Caribbean home.  In larger developing countries, and especially in the vast expanses of African Peace Corps, I imagine it must be much more difficult to arrange these kinds of weekends.  It is the ability to hop on a bus and in three hours go from the remote mountains to the, relatively, Western capital that makes this Peace Corps experience so unique and enjoyable.  As for the next few weeks I am going back up into the mountains to finish up my community diagnostic, start up English classes, form a Brigada Verde and look for my own house.  We have the 3 Month conference in the end of July and after that my real work will start.  All in all things are look good down here in El Caribe, and while it might be hard to go back to work after these long American weekends it is still nice to get away and take a little bit of a vacation.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Site

Well, obviously I have been terrible at keeping up with this blog, but it is hard when you live in the campo and have to travel 30 minutes to the nearest internet.  I mean, I have to hike up a damn mountain just to get cell phone service.  In reality, however, I can't complain much.  I like my little campo.  The people are nice and even though I can't understand anything they say they seem to like me.  Someday when I actually learn to understand Spanish it may even be an enjoyable place to be.  For now I am pretty much just chilling.  I sit in the galleria and read, and try to understand the crazy old ladies that live in my house (one is 98 years old), but I don't really think they understand much of whats going on, just like me.  I also walk a lot, drawing maps and visiting with community members, all that good Peace Corps stuff.  However, every time I walk by the school next to my house I get hit on by 14-16 year old girls who have decided I really should probably go out with them.  Such is the life of a gringo in the DR.  All my friends are in elementary school and I am a heart throb in the young teen crowd.  Needless to say it was a much needed trip to Santiago today, and hopefully this Spanish thing starts clicking sometime soon, si dios quiere.  Until next time vaya con dios amigos.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finally out of Santo Domingo

We have left Santo Domingo behind, along with the initial core training section of Entrena, and have moved onto the CBT training session.  CBT will focus on the technical side of our training: farming, stove building, plant recognition and all sorts of other fun environment related things.  The CBT training will take place in the mountains just north of Santiago in a grouping of four small mountain pueblos.  Our actual classes will be taking place in a a building that was originally built to be Trujillo's summer home, and local legend says that the mansion is also the real scene of the murder of the Mirabel sisters, who opposed Trujillo's dictatorship.  Today, we were in Monte Cristi, a small town on the North Coast with a distinctly French feel within eyesight of Haiti.  It has been a breath of fresh air to escape the cluster, congestion and pollution of the capital.  I am looking forward to the next five weeks of CBT training with high expectations.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week One... First Post

Well do to the slow internet at Entrena, my training site, and the lack of reliable internet in my barrio this is my first update from the DR.  I am currently in Pantoja, a barrio just outside of Santo Domingo, and I have been kept extremely busy by the packed training schedule.  Everyday we have at least 2 hours of Spanish training to go along with culture training and simply surviving daily lifew here in the DR.  Despite speaking only rudimentary Spanish I have so far managed to get by and am improving my language every day.  I have made a few trips into Santo Domingo, public transportation here is very chaotic, and our group will be going in again on Sunday to tour La Zona Colonial.  The other big news of the week is that we will all be going to visit volunteers next Thursday and staying with them through Sunday.  I am very excited about my trip as I will be visiting Santiago, the DRs second city.  It is in the heart of el Valle Ciabao and is supposed to be very relaxed and beautiful.  For now, however, I must say adios because I am on public internet and it costs.  Hopefully before I leave for Santiago I will have the opportunity to put up a few pictures and show everyone around Santo Domingo a little bit.  Until then, adios y vaya con dios.