Mosquito Madness

Trip Start Feb 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Friday, June 8, 2007

Hey guys-it's summer-woo hoo!!!  I've officially been in my site about a month and a half now, close to 4 months in country, and time is going fast.  This past month I've been working b/t my two schools testing all the students the teachers referred to me in grades 1st-4th, that have problems reading.  I've tested over 100 kids, and I love working with them, it's just really sad to see a 14 yr old in 3rd grade who doesn't know the vowels yet.  The school year is almost over, but now I have my list for students that I will be working with next year.

This summer, I am doing a teacher training camp in July with a few other volunteers back in Sabanan de la Mar(where we had our 5 week training).  Then at the end of July, we have another training session with our group again for a week, and then school starts in August.  I'm hoping to move into my apartment the beginning of July, and it supposedly has electricity and running water-things I never knew meant so much to me.  I think it's actually harder that we have water and lights for part of the day and then they just go out randomly, because you get used to it, and then it's taken away, giving you the feeling of some sort of injustice.  I still don't really know why it gets cut off all the time; I hear different theories about it, but pretty much the government just shuts off the electricity and water to save on money is what I get from it all.  My Dona told me one night that when I go back to "Nueva York", which is what they call the US, because everyone they know lives in New York, but she told me to tell our President to turn on their water and lights for them.  I was like, hmm, President Bush and I haven't spoken in awhile, but I'll get on that...ahh, some of the things they think I can do here! 

There are a million new things that I'm learning to love at my site, like yesterday I was walking the dog on one of the back roads that I hadn't gone down yet, and it was the most beautiful walk I'd taken yet.  The mountains were right in front of me, it was an old back road, in the country, so there were no people hissing at me or calling out "Americana or Rubia", so it was peaceful, and then I came up on these forests of cocunut trees, which I know are a common thing here, but it was something new and gorgeous to me.  The family is shocked that I walk the's their "guard" dog, and they keep her in this tiny, tiny cage, and the poor thing never gets out, and she is absolutely beautiful and sweet, but she's really big, so everyone is scared to death of her.  So I walk her everyday after my run, because she is a pain to run with, but now the family thinks that I am some sort of animal genius because this dog hasn't killed me.  So much to teach this culture!  I also need to start some kind of women's liberation club or something, I don't know, but seriously, the men in my house just order the women to bring them food all day, even the little 11 yr. old in my house orders his mom to bring him whatever he wants, never says please or thank you, just expects it as a normal part of a woman's job here.  It drives me crazy.  The mom even gives the 11 yr. old a bottle of milk in his bed in the morning and at night...this is weird, right?  If you are old enough to go to the fridge, get the milk, heck, even wash your cup afterwards, you are too old to be brought milk, in a bottle.    

Another thing that I don't understand is all the catcalls here on the street.  It's not bad in my campo community, but when I go into Santiago, it's crazy.  I can't walk 10 feet without the guys yelling out or hissing.  But it's so strange to me.  If we were in the US, and I saw a Dominican guy on the street, and started yelling out "Dominican" "Brown guy"...that would be really weird!  But that's what they call out here..."americana...gringa...rubia"...american girl white girl or blonde girl...or my favorite is when the little kids just call me "America".  It's just weird to me for it to just be a normal thing here to call out to people like that. 

But on a plus note, my Spanish is getting better!!  It's still pretty rocky, but I can pretty much understand everything being said to me, even if I can't find the words I want to reply, at least I know what going on around me for the most part.  The other night, I was sleeping over at my friend Jen's house, and I woke up in the middle of the night all confused and not knowing where I was, but she told me the next morning that I was speaking Spanish, so I'm taking that as a good sign!

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer back home!  Take care and keep sending me updates; I love hearing about life back in the States. 
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