SALUDOS a todos!
Time in the DR, accordingly with the culture, has been passing quite slowly. I am amazed at what all has happened in the one week (WOW) we have been here so far. I already feel very comfortable in my host family, as I said in my last post, and it gets better every day. On Monday my family “surprised” me with a biscocho (cake) and suggested that I grab some beer (per Dominican tradition?)… SO I went and grabbed a few volunteer friends and bought only the best… Brahma Light, the DR’s finest. $1.62 for one liter of glorious Coors-Light-esque beer. I think I also forgot to mention that I spent my very first night with my host family enjoying some Brahma Light’s… a good way to make an awkward transition to host-familydom a little more comfortable I guess. Anywho, my birthday was really great – we got the whole family, tías, primos and all over to the house and they had a new and fantastic version of Happy Birthday which involved everyone hugging me and putting cake on my face. Gotta love Latin American culture.
The other excitement in my life can be credited to the 51 other volunteers in my training group. Sixteen of these are in my specific program: Appropriate Technologies. Inside this group, we are splitting up between Water Engineering (water systems and the like) and Appropriate Technologies (latrines, solar technologies, efficient & clean cook stoves). More importantly, most of the volunteers have been really easy to get along with so far and I am looking forward to getting to know them better. Naturally, I have found a desire to gain some real community within this group and luckily it has been pretty easy. There are so many interesting and open people in a group such as this, and when people are torn from their normal society and thrown into a program as unique as the Peace Corps I think becoming good, open friends becomes a bit easier. I was lucky to meet a few volunteers on my plane from Seattle to DC and also have gotten to know a few volunteers who live in my neighborhood. We have been able to share so great conversations on our 30 minute walks to and from school which has been a big help for my sanity. And this is only after 9 days, so I can’t wait to see how the friendships flourish throughout our training time.
Volunteers have already started to organize events to play basketball, volleyball, soccer, do yoga and even CrossFit. CrossFit… if you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically the most intense and fast work out ever.And apparently it’s more of a “state of mind” than a workout regimen. And yeah, I tried it for the first time yesterday. Let’s just say that I couldn’t lift my arms above my shoulders today. Putting on my shirt and sunglasses today were the worst… and lifting food to my mouth during lunch and dinner was also a task. My scrawny tired arms will be ready for my next work out in like 5 days at this rate.
In other news, I learned a lot more about my sector today during our first technical group meeting and talked about WHAT we want to do, WHO we want to do it with and WHERE we want to work. It was hard to answer, but I already know I will be in the “Water Track” doing water projects which I am SO EXCITED about. It’s a brand new program building off a previous program known as “Water & Sanitation” but during training we will be taught how to build water tanks, cook stoves, latrines, simple water systems, filters, etc. Its going to amazing. Oh, and we will be in the mountains in Montabao at 3500 ft, where it will be 60-70 degrees. YES. Its getting me really excited to start work in my project site, which they have told me will probably be some VERY remote site with basic amenities which may or may not include internet/electricity.
That is my life update. Sorry it has taken a while to get a full post in, but you must understand the difficulties in my internet situation. I love you all, I am thinking of you constantly and I ask for your prayers as I enter technical training and my project site. God bless.