Daily life in the DR

Trip Start Feb 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Friday, August 24, 2007

So I realized that I haven't given any real description of the people or life here in the DR, since a part of me feels like you all are living this experience with me and thus already know all of it already!  I'll try to give a somewhat accurate account, even though sometimes I don't even understand the craziness that is the Dominican Republic. 
For employment, people in my communities work in the fields(tobacco or plantains), work in the factories in the city, drive taxis or motorcycles for the public transportation, or are housewives.  I'm sure it varies in different parts of the country or in the cities, but that's the majority of people in my area.  Kids are in school for 4 hours a day, and unless you are sending your child to a very good private school in the city, the education is definitely lacking.  Lots of kids work, as well, either selling things in the street or working in the fields, as well. 
On every corner, you'll find a Colmado, which is like the general store that sells anything and everything you could ever want, and it all fits into the size of a room like 10 ft by 10 ft.  My favorite part of the country for me are all the fruit vendors!  They sell fruit everywhere, on the street, the corners, wherever, and it's the best stuff, pineapple, mangos, bananas, melon, etc.  It's wonderful and so cheap and convenient. 
There is definitely a disparity of wealth everywhere, even in my campo. There are mansions and gorgeous houses on one side of the road, and down the block you'll see the saddest shack of all time, made of random tin sheets.  Water and lights are a big frustration here, because it's so sporadic.  We'll usually have lights and water in the morning, and then the water is out for the rest of the day, and the lights go in and out all day. People store water in huge tanks in their showers, and we take bucket baths everyday, which I have actually really gotten used to, although I definitely savor the times where I get a real shower, and if it's hot...ahh, hallelujah.  People that have money have generators for when the lights go out, but since I am a volunteer, I have no money, which means I have no generator and am usually in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 every night.  The crazy life I lead in the DR :)  All day long you hear "se fue la luz!" or "llego la luz!", which means, the lights went out or the lights are back!  So to hear "llego la luz!"  is always exciting. 
As far as culture goes, a couple of things pop into my head.  Baseball, dominoes, and dancing.  Theses are the things that Dominicans love, and all of these include lots of Presidente beer to go along with the activity of choice.  Baseball is starting up here, so I'm getting excited along with all the Dominicans, and since there is a pro stadium in Santiago, I'm hoping to get to a few games. 
And of course, there are gorgeous, gorgeous beaches here, with incredible kite surfing, whale watching, snorkeling, etc.  There are also incredible mountain ranges, and the Special Ed. group of girls is planning on climbing Pico Durate(the tallest mt. in the DR) sometime this Jan. or Feb.  The south is more of a desert feel, so the geography here is pretty diverse and all beautiful. 
Ok, I'm sure there is a ton that I'm missing, but there's a little overview for you.  Even though it's an insane country, with random things happening every day, you gotta love it here.  Most days :)   
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