I'm a Volunteer!

Trip Start Feb 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Where I stayed
Mariott Hotel

Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hey guys!  Well, the big news is that I am now an actual Peace Corps Volunteer, which doesn't sound like anything new, but we've been the "trainees" for the last 2 1/2 months, so when we were sworn in last Wednesday, it felt like a big deal! 
After being sworn in, we had a couple of days together as a group to hang out, SO we decided to live it up before we had to start our reality life of cold water bucket baths(if you're lucky enough to have water), rats, rice and beans every day, and not understanding anything being said to us :)  So we spent our last days hanging out at the PC Office, which is a faboulous hang out/getaway, ate amazingly cheap food at the US Embassy, and they also let PCVs use their pool and tennis courts, which is beyond nice...I have come to love the Embassy!  Then we went shopping the the capital's Colonial Zone, which the girls enjoyed even though the boys bailed.  A couple guys from our group rented hotel rooms at the Mariott, which man, was a total treat.  I took a hot shower, with actual water pressure, watched ridiculous American TV, and slept in a comfortable bed in an air conditioned room.  Life was sweet.  That night we treated ourselves to the Hard Rock Cafe, and I thouroghly enjoyed my Spinach Artichoke dip and Diet Pepsi.  We completely spoiled ourselves, and this is honestly not the life of  PCV, I promise, but I think it was necessary for us to do this before we took off.  I have no guilt...it was glorious! :) 
Now I am at my official site in a campo site close to Santiago, and life is pretty great.  My family is crazy, but I love them.  They are completely overprotective, and I had to fight to let them let me leave the house alone...EVER.  I couldn't go to the school sola, walk around my town, go into the city...nada.  It was driving me crazy, BUT I've made progess this week as I've been going to the schools everyday, running by myself in the evening, and today I'm even in Santiago...SOLA...ahh, I didn't realize how much I valued my independence until coming here.  I will be living with my last family for the next three months, and then I am able to move out on my own, which my family does not like talking about! :)  The dona, grandma, and all the aunts are trying to marry me off so that I don't have to live alone...women just never do that here...well, maybe not never, but it is extremely rare.  So we are having some discussions on the differences in cultures and how I really will be OK.  They still make the little boys walk with me usually during the day, but I'm ok with this because they bring me amazing mangoes, which I am all about.  It's mango season right now, and life could not be any better...fresh pineapple, bananas, mangoes, avacodos, cherries....fruit juices...I'm not sure how I will ever buy fruit again in the States after being here. 
A little about my project:  this is my first full week here, and for the first three months I am doing a community and school diagnostic, where I go into the classes and observe what they need, talk to the teachers, community members, etc.  I'm not sure how to fully explain the school system  here, but I will just say that it needs alot of work.  I have two schools, in different towns, so I've been going to both of them and doing my diagnostic.  School is out here in about a month, which means that I can't go to the schools anymore, but I am hoping to do a summer camp of some sort, probably something with literacy, because that is the biggest problem here, in my opinion.  The kids also really want me to have an English class, and even though that's not what I'm here to do, I am a sucker and will probably do it.  Joel, one of the boys that brings me mangoes really wants to learn English because he wants to go to the US to be a professional baseball player for the Mets...he is adorable, so we've started having some classes.  After three months, our whole group meets back in the Capital to give the results of our diagnostic and have an in service training for a week.  Then school starts up again, and I will start my project.  There's a lot to do, and even though the education system here is so sad, I am really excited to get working. 
Hmm, what else...my latest "I know I'm in the PC moment"...so I was taking a nap after lunch the other day(I love siestas here!), and I wake up to the frickin' rooster crowing.  This is not unusual by any means, but I open my eyes and see that the bird is on my nightstand about a foot from my face.  So I wasn't really expecting this and proceeded to freak out, run into my bathroom, the rooster starts freaking out cause he didn't know why the crazy gringa was screaming, my family comes running in all worried about me, and once they realize what happened laughed for a good 10 mins while Fernando, the little boy gets the chicken out of my room.  Have I mentioned how much I hate the roosters? 
OH!  Package update.  First of all, THANK YOU mom and dad for the sweet care packages, you're the best.  Second, I am not changing my mailing address, so people can keep using the address in the Santo Domingo.  I will be going into the capital every now and then to go to the PC office and whatnot, so I can pick up my mail there.  Also, if you send a package, use a padded envelope not a box, because I won't have to pay taxes on it and it gets here faster.  Some friends also told me, even though it sounds kind of crazy that people should draw crosses on the package or write things like "God is watching you" so that it deters people from taking it.  I've been really lucky with packages so far, though, and have received them without any problems. 
Ok, all my updates won't be this long!  Take care guys!  Hasta luego...
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kelsianne82 on

Thanks Leif!
Hey Leif...I'm glad that someone is posting comments on here! We have had some good adventures down here. It's a sweet country!

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