Summer = shorts and a fridge!

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Oct 27, 2012

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Flag of Dominican Republic  , Monte Plata,
Friday, August 26, 2011

*July 14, 2011-July 27, 2011: I headed to Fusimania (near Santiago).  There was a group of nursing students from the University of Maine that came for a Medical Mission.  They come every 6 months and go into the same towns to see the same patients (or try to see regulars) to treat them for their hypertension and diabetes.  Whenever a medical group comes down they dont know Spanish so they ask for Peace Corps volunteers who arent occupied in their site to come and be translators.  We did most of the work in churches, but also went on house visits.  I think the craziest story goes as this...I was sitting inside the church on a bench with patients.  So on my 2 benches there were 2 groups.  Each group had a patient, nurse, and translator.  My bench had my patient, me (translator), other patient, and other translator.  On the other bench facing us were the 2 nurses, 1 to check my patient and 1 to check the other patient.  My patient is this 16 year old girl who seemed kind of nervous.  She told the nurse she was a few months late on her period.  The nurse asked if she thought she could be pregnant.  Every time a nurse asked that question I was a little nervous to translate it to the patient, but I did.  She quietly nodded her head yes.  They looked for a pregnancy test, but thought wed have to just let her go because we didnt have any.  We found one, figured out how to tell her to use it, and let her go to the latrine.  She came back, the nurse looked at the stick and the box.  The doctor and 2 nurses all kept looking at the stick and talking in English saying they thought she was pregnant.  I tried to keep my cool because the girl didnt know what they were saying.  They took the stick to ask another doctor as I told them not to be wrong, because the patient was nervous.  While they went to ask the girl was telling me she was in high school, wanted to be an engineer, and knew some English.  They came back and I saw the look on their faces.  She was pregnant.  The nurse told her she was pregnant, I translated to the girl, and she breathed a sigh and told us she thought she was because 6 months ago she had been pregnant and lost the baby.  We wished her luck and told her to get to a clinic near her community for further check-ups and sent her off.   She got up and left.  The patient to my right (that had been there talking to the other nurse and the translator the whole time) taps me on the shoulder.  She then goes on to tell me that the girl that just got up and left is her daugher, cries at everything, faints at the first sight of blood, and is stupid.
    I told the little group with us what the lady just said to me.  My nursing student who I was translating for, another nurse, the doctor, and me just sat there in shock for 5 minutes wondering if the mom had overheard the conversation-pregnancy talk we just had with her daughter.

*August 8, 2011: I THOUGHT it was the beginning of a 2 month basic and 2 month advanced English class.  The 18 students who had graduated wanted a harder class and 30 students signed up too late to do the basic class so I told them Id do another class.  I spent 2 weeks of showing up when no one else did so I dropped the English classes.  A few people asked after when I was going to start and I told them I had gone house to house with cards saying the dates and times and no one showed up.  So if they wanted it I wasnt going to do class for 1 person.  They could find 15 friends and tell me the time-day and wed starts...Im still waiting for them to find friends to start class.

*August 17, 2010: freshmen!!...arrival in the DR.

*February-March, 2011: sophmores!!...6 months in, 1st group after us arrives in DR to start training.  A group of environment, technology, and education volunteers came in around Feb-March 2011.

*August 17, 2011: were juniors!!...1 year in the DR.
    A group of health, business, youth, and water volunteers arrived August 17, 2011.

*Feb-March 2012: well be seniors...another group of environment, tech, and education volunteers will come in to start training.

*August 2012: the August 2010 group (my group!) graduates in Aug-Oct after finishing 2 years of service

*September 1-4th, 2011: volunteer visit.  The volunteers that arrived in the August 17, 2011 group will make weekend visits to see 1-year volunteers...therefore, I get a visit from one!!  Im still figuring out what were going to do.

*October 2nd-24th: best birthday present ever...mother is visiting!!!

*October 28, 2011: 1 official year of the August 2010 group being in their site.  Me being in Guasumita for exactly 1 year.

More important stuff: July 30, 2011.  Fridge!  and shorts! 9 months in Guasumita it was time for both.  I got a mini-fridge and having cold water has never tasted better.  Summer in the DR means I needed to stop wearing jeans.  Guasumita is very religious and for people to not gossip about me-say I was a slut-respect me it meant working 1st for awhile, before wearing anything that didnt cover my knees.  I had been planning activities around the electricity schedule so I could be in my house for the fan and walked around outside to find shade when there was no electricity.  The shade in July in jeans had me swearing like crazy and they were all complaining of the heat.  They knew DR heat was more extreme that US heat so I felt like I was ok to finally wear skirts-shorts.  I had been good for 9 months.

Moving out: I had mentioned maybe having to move out in October because the family I was renting the house from had mentioned in the future they maybe wanted to move into the house.  Apparently the future was 4 months after I had moved in.  They were going to give me 10,000 pesos in Octobe and I was going to find another house.  The gossip is that the lady is pregnant.  Shes a nurse and bring in money, but supposedly she isnt working so they might now have the money to give me in October.  Keep your fingers crossed!

New projects:
*Reading: Im going to ask the school Monday to give me a list of the kids that need to learn how to read and use a recently finished Peace Corps manual to, 1 child at a time, teach them to read Spanish.

*Vball: the girls want to learn more.  Im trying to find teams for them to play with and a lady in Don Juan, a nearby town to come give them practice.  I also want us to take the 20 min walk to watch the team in Don Juan practice.

*Library: be on the lookout for me asking for money through grants starting Monday.  We wrote up the list and its going to cost $8,000 US dollars.

I made it 1 year, which is the hardest point to pass everyone had told us.  I didnt think it would really get hard or took those comments that seriously.  After making it through the 1 year mark and looking back...the past month was the hardest month Ive had so far.  I thought about it all, got past it, and am ready for a visit home and to also stay until October 2012.
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Mom on

So looking forward to seeing you soon!

Aunt Patty on

Love your updates!

Mom on

Thanks for the pics! Can hardly wait to hug you!

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