(Soon to be) Home Again

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

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Monday, July 23, 2007

Hello All!
  Once again, time seems to be flying by and I am not blogging!  But fear not, I am alive and well. I spent the latter half of June and the first half of July sick, but I am back on my feet and healthy again.  I first had a kidney infection with a fever that lasted for ten days, and just as I was recovering from that I came down with a bad cold that lasted through my birthday.  I did have a nice birthday and I really appreciated all of the phone calls, emails, and even care packages I received!!  Thanks to all of you, I really am lucky to have such thoughtful friends and family.  Because I was sick, I was unable to run the half marathon that I had been training for, which was a big bummer.  The doctor put the kabosh on that, and probably rightfully so.  My body was pretty worn down from being sick and it is better that I sat that one out.  However, I am trying to find out if there are any other races coming up so all my early morning runs don't go to waste.  
  I am gearing up for my trip home in EIGHT DAYS!!!  I am really excited and can hardly wait to get back, see friends and family, go to Clare's wedding, replenish my supplies of American goodies, eat at my favorite restaurants, get my Harry Potter fix, and replace some of my ripped/torn/stained/faded/bleached Peace Corps wardrobe.  When you do your own laundry in a bucket with cheap detergent and then dry everything in the sun, it sure does a number on your clothes. 
  Before I go, I am trying to get some loose ends tied up with my work and get the community members organized to get some work done while I am gone.  Our water filters are finally being delivered this Thursday, gracias a Dios.  I have been giving educational workshops and we are charging a small quota to the families who want to participate, and we recently formed a committee who will be in charge of organizing work schedules, etc.  The idea is to train a core group of people who will know how to install water filters (fairly simple) and build ceramic stoves (a bit more complicated) so that they can potentially duplicate the projects after I leave.  Speaking of the projects, thanks so much to all of you who are buying the lovely and stylish rice sack purses!  The doņas have been cranking them out and I have to say, they just keep getting better and better.  I told them how many of my friends and family want to buy them and they were so happy and I think amazed.  Even the modest amount of their contribution for the water filters and stoves ($500 dominican pesos, or about $15 US dollars) is a large amount to these families and your support is greatly appreciated.  Also, many thanks to the generous people who have donated money to purchase books in Spanish.  If you are interested in helping out, there are two options.  First (for those who live in or near Indy), you can buy the books yourself and I will pick them up when I am home to carry back with me in my luggage.  Alternatively, you could send a gift certificate to a chain bookstore such as Borders or Half Price Books, which I will then use to buy the books when I am home.  I don't want to abuse your kindness and generosity by badgering you all for money, but many people have expressed a desire to help out and/or asked me if they can send me anything, and the truth is that spending your money to provide clean drinking water and educational materials is more important than sending me trashy magazines and candy.  Although don't get me wrong, I LOVE the trashy mags and candy :)
  In other random news, I have been using my new stovetop oven device like crazy and I love it!  So far I have made brownies, mango crisp, cornbread, banana bread, and baked ziti, all of which were delicious.  I am bringing it home with me so I can take it camping, etc, in the future.  Let's see, what else?  Stella is as cute as ever.  She turned one year old in July and still has some naughty puppy characteristics, but I love her like crazy.  I am going to leave her with Matt for 5 days or so while I am home, and then my host family is going to take her for the rest of the time.  I felt like 2 weeks was kind of a long time to dump her off on the fam so I am trying to spread it out a little bit.  I tried to train Stella to hunt rats but in all honesty she isn't very good at it, so I resorted to putting out poison and the infestation is under control for now.  I don't know if I killed all of them, but at least for the time being I am not being kept awake by rats running along the roof and rafters and chattering and fighting all night long.
  Hope all is well in the glorious nation of the United States of America.  Can't wait to be back there soon!  I am looking forward to seeing many of you. 

Take Care
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