Thursday, March 6, 2008


This is my favorite saying here. It means, “Give me a little bit!” My host family is always saying this, as we share everything when it comes to food....unless it is my food. I just recently started making my breakfasts and dinners, and let me tell you, my wheat bread, canned ravioli, yogurt, and peanut butter are just weird to them. I can’t wait to start trying to get the women to use vegetables in their rice. It should be a fun challenge.

So everything is going pretty good right now. I’m all settled into my little casita. I just bought a new bed, counter-top stove, small table for my books, and a fan with my settling-in allowance. Some neighbors were nice enough to fill my stove tank with gas, and hook everything up. I didn’t even have to ask. They just came over and started working on it. I’m amazed every day by the Dominican’s generosity and kindness.

My In-Service Training went well. I learned more about forming/working with my youth groups, nutrition, and gardening. In the future, I would like to work with the community to start a school garden, so the kids can learn some responsibility and sell the veggies. As I’ve never gardened before, I don’t know how much of a green thumb I will have, but hopefully there are enough people in my community to help get it started.

After training, a bunch of volunteers and I went to La Vega to celebrate Carnival. We had a lot of fun roaming through the crowds and watching the parade of people dressed up in elaborate costumes. We also had to keep watch over our booties. People were hitting us with these rubber ball type things. It’s a tradition that goes back centuries, when they apparently used to use pig bladders. Nevertheless, I still ended up getting MASSIVE bruises that lasted two weeks.

For my birthday, I went to the nearest city to where I live to celebrate with five other volunteers. It was also Independence Day here and the last day of the Carnival celebration. Normally my birthday is pretty dull, but I’ve never seen so many people having a good time. There was another parade, and luckily the spanking was much tamer. My favorite costume was a guy dressed as a latrine. After the parade, we went to the discotheque for some Bachata and Merengue dancing. My host sister and a few relatives showed up to celebrate as well. It was a fantastic birthday.

Well, I have my first youth conference to attend this week before starting the nutrition course and youth groups. I’m taking my host sister and a really interested neighbor to the conference. We discuss topics such as HIV prevention and how to be peer leaders. The youth are also really excited for the pool.

That’s about it for now. I’m going to stop in at the clinic on the way home to see about getting baby weighing materials, and hopefully I can catch a bola (free ride) back to my house. Last week, I hitched a ride into the city on the back of a big chicken truck with four Dominicans and me standing in a row with the wind blowing through our hair. Haha, I love my life...

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying life and I pray that it is finally starting to warm up back at home. It sounds like Michigan has had quite the winter this year. To tell you the truth, I kind of miss snow...never thought I would say that!