Trip Start Aug 19, 2008
Trip End Oct 29, 2010

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Sunday, December 21, 2008

LA LUZ:  The electricity in this country is less than predictable as the lights continuously go on and off without notice.  Although it is bothersome, it also creates some interesting situations and experiences.  For example, reading, playing cards, and drawing my candlelight.  Who knew that I would be doing things like that in the 21st century?  However, my absolute favorite thing about the lights going out is when they come back and a party erupts in the whole community with people shouting ecstatically, "Llego la luz!" (The light is back!)  I mean, I guess it is just another excuse for Dominicans to party and dance in the streets, but I've even found my self getting really excited about it too.
THE OBVIOUS:  Speaking of "llego la luz," Dominicans have the tendency to state the obvious in every day speech just to make conversation.  In addition to stating that the lights came back (and went out - se fue la luz), when it is hot, they will repeatedly tell you how hot it is, even though it is hot EVERY DAY here.  When it is raining, "esta lloviendo."  When someone is walking, "estas caminando."  When I tell someone that I'm going to the capital for three days, "O, la capital por tres dias, bien bien!"  Just as I get excited that the lights return, I've started stating how hot it is every chance I get.  What?  It's a good conversation starter!
LA FERIA ARTESANAL DE NAVIDAD:  I was in the capital for the weekend because there was a Holiday Artisan Fair. Seeing all of the different types of artisan products, from handmade jewelry out of coffee beans to bamboo lamps, really was a sight.  They had the fair in Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo.  It was a gorgeous site to have the fair, right in front of a cathedral.  The actual fair was a 5 day event, but I only stayed for 3 days since I went with my project partner to sell Larimar jewelry.  We sold a decent amount for the time that we were there, plus seeing other volunteers is always refreshing.  The best part about the weekend is that a few of us volunteers were able to stay at an Embassy employee's apartment, which meant hot showers, cable television (in English!), and American food products (turkey sandwiches, cereal, and creamer for the coffee)!
WHO KNEW?: that I would find una novia here in the DR (even though she is not Dominican).  That being said, I'm seeing a volunteer named Kelly who is originally from Virginia.  She is in my PC class, is a CED volunteer, and her site is in the North where she is working with an Artisan group that produces ceramic dolls, cups, vases, and wind chimes.  It's nice to have someone to count on and confide even through this new and unique journey.
MISCELLANEOUS: Things have been going pretty well overall.  I'm developing my groove and my place in this community, but it is just a process. In talking to older volunteers, they have reassured me that it takes time to really feel apart of the community and get going on projects, though I feel like things are progressing well.  Luckily there are some projects on the horizon and also continuing ones, like the construction of the new high school and artisan workshop, to keep me somewhat busy. I've been traveling more around the southern region of the country to better acquaint myself with the area and it's proven to be an incredibly diverse part of the country; the gorgeous coast of the Caribbean, the inland desert, and the mountainous highlands. I just love that all of us volunteers have such different sites because we get to experience a little bit of that when we visit.
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sherrypace on

Happy Holidays from the snowy northwest
Hey Justin-

Great to read your updates it brings me back to my PC service. I will echo what other volunteers have told you that it takes time to adjust to life in your community and really feel at home there. So be patient and do all you need to (which I am sure you are) to integrate yourself and it will come. When looking back on my service I think it took me five months at site to really feel at home there and for work to begin in a pace I felt good about so be patient and enjoy the ride! I totally hear you and enjoying some of the more western comforts that can be found there so embrace those opportunities when they come.

Keep up the good work and Happy Holidays!


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