The Crazy, Beautiful DR

Trip Start Feb 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hey guys!  So life here is always a little crazy, right?  Crazy in a good way, but nonetheless, crazy.  Right now, I'm trying to avoid getting Dengue aka "Breakbone Fever".  Yeah, it sounds like the most awful thing in the world, right? and five volunteers have gotten in within the last week.  Every thing in your body is just suppose to hurt, thus, breakbone fever...even your eyes hurt.  It sounds horrible, and I am using my mosquito repellent like no other! 

Things have been really busy lately, as I'm trying to get into both my schools and do my school diagnostics.  I've observed and spoken to all the teachers about problems they are having, and things they want to do in the upcoming year, and this past week, I have been testing all the students that have a low reading level, or no reading level, I guess.  Sadly, there are a lot of kids to test.  I split my time between the two schools, so I'm pretty busy all week, but it's good to be busy, I think.  After these first three months of my diagnostic, we all go into the capital and present it to the rest of our education group and Peace Corps spanish...yeah, need to start practicing this presentation thing!  Then I come back and either do a summer camp in my community or go help out with someone else's...we'll see how much I can get done before the end of school...right now planning a month long literacy camp for 60 students is a little daunting, but I think it will be amazing if I can get it done! 

So the men here...hmm, they are a little bit of a problem, because I am extremely indirect, whereas they are unbelievably direct.  I go for a run every afternoon after school is over, and run to my other community, which is a couple miles's a great run, and it's nice to have some down time and not having to speak Spanish.  All is well.  But the other day, I was running, and this guy on his bike starts going with me, which didn't seem like a big deal at first, because I thought he would go back after a little bit.  He didn't.  He rode along side of me the whole run, for about an hour, and then told me he'd be waiting for me the next day to go with me again.  Ok, so I figure, not a big deal, I'll just run at a different time and run a different route.  Problem solved. A couple days later, I am at my school, when a little girl comes to get me from the classroom, saying someone is looking for the girl who runs...which I didn't really understand at the time...I was pretty confused what the heck she was talking about. But I go outside, and there is the crazy bike boy waiting for me, asking me why I never ran by the other day.  Ahh, AWKWARD.  I'm trying to be more direct with people here, but it's hard for me.  I thought the indirect communication the Dominicans are so known for would work, but I guess not. I'm hoping this guy is harmless!! 

Another "cultural experience"...the other week, a couple of us girls went up the mountain to another volunteer's site, which is GORGEOUS, but it's also known for it's cock fighting arena, and it's a really big deal in the community. The girls convinced me to go, saying I had to see it at least once; so I went.  It was crazy intense.  All the men bet on their chicken, and then go absolutely insane once the fight begins, as all their life savings is probably on this one bird!  I couldn't really watch the fight, because as you can imagine, it's just awful.  They fight to the death, and yeah, I can't handle it, so I just watched the men in the arena, which was pretty entertaining in itself.  I will not be going back again.  It's fun before the fight, everyone dances and plays dominoes, which is always a good time, but I can't watch the cock fighting. 

There's always something new to experience here, and some experiences are better than others, but I guess that's what this is all about, right? 
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