Tigueres and Sex Ed

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Nov 07, 2007

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Friday, November 4, 2005

Well, thus wraps up my time here in Nagua as of tomorrow. We have all been sadly telling our families goodbye. We are preparing for a fiesta this eve to thank all of our families for their dedication and kindess toward us. We all agree that we have felt like we grew up here.... everyones Dona knows every one of us and as soon as we appear at each others door, we have a cold drink or cup of coffee and a chair awaiting us, with a hug and a big smile from every Dona. I am enamored by this culture and their willingness to take in complete strangers as their own.

This morning, my Dona gave me a little package with two bandanas, a cute little knit cap and a red and blue bracelet. It was such a cute gesture. She has told me to definitely come back and visit or she will be sad. Living only thirty minutes away, I believe I will definitely be taking her up on her offer!

This last week has been quite an interesting one. I have learned that most of the time, when you plan something, it will, in deed, fall through, and you must pick yourself up and march through it with your head held high anyway. For instance, we were supposed to give our last Charla on sex ed this past wednesday. The Fundacion Maximo Gomez where we have been doing our internship was supposed to gather the audience (which was to be leaders of the community youth groups) so that they might spread the awareness of early pregnancy and STDs. However, when no one showed up to the talk, we were frustrated. Apparently there was a big mass at the church for Dia De Los Muertos, so none of them could show. Not to be discouraged, Marielle, our counterpart in Maximo Gomez, a girl who cannot be more than nineteen years old with the fashion sense of a teen pop star, marched across the street to the gym where tons of "Tigueres" (translation: a thug, ruffian of the Dominican sort. These men are usually found to be driving motoconchos, pumping iron, and hissing at American women, yelling "I love you!" or "Me Amor!" or "Rubia Rubia!" incessantly) were abundant. Sweaty and stinky from working out, she gathered the Tigueres for our talk, figuring the audiance was better than nothing. This was a pure example of how you make due with unexpected situations.We were a bit nervous to give our talk to an audience of ten sweaty over-testosteroned meatheads, but it turned out to be a very interesting experience at that. We started off the talk with a game where everyone has a water in a cup, but one person has coke in their cup, which meant they had HIV. Each cup has instructions, which tell the person to have sex, to not have sex, use condoms and so on and so forth. Pouring your liquid into the cup of another person signified having sex with that person, but if your card said not to share (Ie, you were practicing abstinence) or not to share with anyone but your partner (this meant fidelity), you were to not pour your liquid accordingly. However, unfortunatly, everyone ended up with AIDS somehow,and it was very difficult to convey our point when it was a disaster. Second, when we tried to explain why you were supposed to use condoms, all of them acted as if we told them to shoot their mothers. During the condom demonstration, none of them even knew how to use a condom correctly, and it began to worry us that perhaps it was a good idea that these men were able to recieve an education, though I am not sure it made any sort of difference in their lives, nor will it make them more conscious, but it was a very well learned lesson indeed!

Our last activity was to organize a beach cleanup last Thursday, which I was NOT looking forward to. As I raked the beaches, I wondered what horrible thing in my life I had done to deserve such punishment, and I would like to now apologize to anyone whom I have wronged in the past. Sadly, the poorest people live in makeshift shacks on the sand, and have nowhere to put thier trash except in piles on the beach. With lack of restroom facilities, they defacate into bags and throw them in with the piles of junk, which hesitantly we had to sift through and throw into bags. One guy in our group got attacked by a swarm of cockroaches, and I was very afraid to lift up some piles for what I would find underneath. It was only about one hundred degrees, making for a not-so pleasant feeling all over. The youth that were there to help us, gave up after 30 minutes and began to complain, saying it wasnt their trash, so they shouldnt have to pick it up. We handed out water, and afterwards, they threw the bottles back onto the beach without giving it a second thought *sigh*. Well, I suppose you sometimes cannot change, what has beeningrained for generations, all in one day.

Otherwise, my last week here has been a great one and I am going to miss everyone terribly, especially after making the friendships i have made with the other volunteers.

Next week, I may not be online as much as I would like. Monday, it is back to the training center in the Capital, where we will be recieving our cell phones, with 50 whole minutes per month paid for by the good ol peace corps! On Tuesday, I leave for Pimentel (my site for two years) for four days to be introduced to my community! I can hardly wait and I am sure I will be updating you all when I return. Until then, God bless!
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