I'm still alive!

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Apr 06, 2008

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Monday, June 19, 2006

Hello family and friends!
Sorry it has been so long since my last blog posting. I am still alive and doing great here in the DR. I have officially been in my site now since June 8th, and am feeling settled in and really enjoying myself. I have started with the interviews for my community diagnostic, and have until the end of July to finish them, compile a report, and present to the other volunteers, our project partners, and some of the PCDR administration. The interviews themselves aren't too bad, but getting back and forth to town to use a computer makes things take a lot longer than they would at home. It is coming along though, and I should have no problem getting everything done in time. I have also started an English class for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders which is going pretty well. Speaking English and being able to teach it as a second language are definitely two different things! But I think they are learning and picking up on at least some of the information, so I am happy.
As far as my day to day life, I have gotten into somewhat of a routine, which is nice after the first few days of waking up in the morning and wondering what in the world I am supposed to be doing. Every morning I go hiking before breakfast to stretch my aching body after a night on a lumpy Dominican bed. In the mornings I try to get some sort of work done, whether it is interviews, or visitng houses, or doing paperwork. After lunch I usually take a short nap because it is too hot to do anything else, and then in the afternoons I "compartir" with my community by sitting in the street in a plastic chair and talking to people, watching telenovelas (Latin soap operas) with my family, or playing cards with a group of muchachos and muchachas. Once in a while my family and I venture down to the discotech to do a little dancing, but I don't really like to go beacuse all the drunken men like to take that opportunity to harass me, which can get a little uncomfortable. It is nothing threatening, but being the Americana I naturally stand out and draw a lot of attention, not necessarily good attention. So I am learning who and what situations to avoid, and I think the more people I get to know in my community the less I will be bothered.
In my free time, I have managed to make a weekend trip to the beach with some other volunteers, which was great. I also spent a night in Santiago, the second biggest city in the country that is less than an hour away by bus. There is a pension there run by Canadians specifically for Peace Corps volunteers and development workers, so we had a cookout there and then went out to do a little merengue dancing. The pension is great, and I think I will definitely take advantage of it when I need a break from my site. In two weeks I am going on a beach camping trip with a bunch of other volunteers for the 4th of July, so between now and then i am going to buckle down and get a lot of work done so I can enjoy myself and not stress out. We are going to Bahia de las Aguilas, which is a beautiful undeveloped beach in the southwest part of the country. Should be great, I'll post some pictures when I go. Ok well my internet time is about up so i am going to run. I miss everyone and will try to be better about posting blogs! Take care.

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