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

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hello All!
  I am here in the capital and I thought I would write a quick post to fill you in on my oh-so-exctiting life here in the DR :)  Things are going well and I cannot believe it is almost November!  I have been working on stoves almost every day, which is immensely satisfying.  I like the kind of work where you get it done in two days and see the finished result, which is not always the case in grassroots development!  The man I work with is in charge of pegando bloc (literal translation: sticking cement block together).  He does that, then I come in afterwards to install the ceramic pieces and smear them with sticky clay mud.  Then we fill it all up with dirt, make the cement top, and stick in the chimney.  We are going at the rate of about four stoves a week, assuming that it doesn't rain and no one dies, thereby requiring the entire community to drop everything and go to the wake/funeral/nine days of prayer services.  Check out my flickr site http://flickr.com/photos/90483948@N00/ for pictures!  I have lots of help from the people in my community, especially with cutting up the sheets of zinc to make chimneys and tops for the hornillas (holes where you put the pots to cook, I don't know the word in English).  I loathe working with the zinc - it is cumbersome and I end up cutting myself like 50 times a day, so it is nice to not have to to it all myself.  In other project-related news, we are planning a national Brigada Verde (Green Brigade) youth group conference for the end of November and I am taking two kids from my community, so that should be fun.  We are also drawing up an aquaduct reforestation project to replant trees near the local water sources.  Many farmers here clear-cut land to plant cash crops, not realizing that removing the trees that protect the rivers and springs disrupts the water cycle and can cause the source to dry up.  It is in the early stages but I am excited about it, as water is a big issue here.  It is sort of a tragedy of the commons.  For example, in my community the water higher up on the tube line where I live comes on around 7 in the morning and then stops coming out of the tap by 8.  So we all scramble to fill up every bucket, etc,  further stressing the water system and causing the shortage.  If no one hoarded water there would probably be water in the tap for the better part of the day, but we all do it because everyone else does and no one is willing to change their ways.  It is one of those frustrating situations where you can see the solution (i.e. everyone stops hoarding water and there will be enough for everyone) but in order to make the change EVERYONE has to alter their behavior, which is hard to do.  So that is that.
  Life in general is going pretty well.  As I always seem to end up blogging about, time here just flies.  They say that Peace Corps will be the longest days and the shortest two years of your life, and it is true indeed.  Sometimes the days creeeeep by, but then I look back and am amazed at how far I have come.  Hard to believe that when Mom and Dad leave at the end of November I will be at the 5 month countdown.  I am planning on working hard until Christmas and hopefully, si Dios quiere, get 25 stoves done before I head home in December, then finish up the rest (15 or so) by the time I leave in April.  My clock is ticking, so if there are any of you out there who are interested in coming down to visit, make your resevations now! 
  I hope everyone is doing well.  Be happy, take care of yourselves, and start cruising the internet for your tickets to come down and visit me!

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