Thursday, August 31, 2006

will you be my mother?


We took Ian to Chichigua today. He was a big hit, and was not fussy in the least bit which was wonderful. We did have to walk quite a bit though since we coulden't take a motoconcho. (motercycle plus baby equals very bad idea). Needless to say, Alexia and I were a little more pink as well as tired today.

soy americana

It is funny how much Alexia and I stand out in this country. Whenever we go somewhere, we inevitably here the word americanas. Yesterday, a man tried to charge us 100 pesos to go to the village. He went down to 50 as I continued to say no, and we eventually walked away. I'm pretty sure that he was driving a tourbus as opposed to a guagua, and thought he would give some American girls a lift and charge them a little bit for it. When we did finally get on a guagua to head towards the village, an advantage attempt was tried again. I gave the man 100 pesos for the two of us expecting 60 back in change. When our stop came, I had to ask for the change that we had not yet been given. The driver gave me a 50. I stood there and said, "10 mas." With no hesitation he gave me another 10, granted we are talking about a dfference of about 30 cents, but still. We felt pretty good about ourselves as we walked away from the guagua. Yeah we're american, but we know whats up!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I realized that in a couple of days I will have been here for one month, crazy to believe! The weather here has been beautiful, though there have been quite a few days of rain. It's funny because t will rain some, and then later that day it is back to being gorgeous again. There have been times of thunder and lightning as well. Board member Kate told us that in her 9 years living here, she only saw thunder and lightening twice. I looked at for the first time today and realized that there is a hurricane brewing west of us in the Caribbean. That I guess explains the weather. But no worries, all we ever see here is rain and it never lasts long.


On Thursday, Alexia and I took Ian on an adventure. We took a taxi to the grocery store, and then walked to the Verizon store (yes, you have to go in person to pay bills). From there, we walked to the hospital to get the rest of Ian's immunizations. The two of us stand out quite a bit here, especially when they see us carrying a black baby. It's ok though because they all are drawn to Ian's quirky sounds and gestures and it makes them laugh.

Anyway, once at the hospital (which is not air-conditioned), I realized that I had forgotten his immunization form at the house. Ahh! It's kind of a big deal to go and leave the house, because everything takes so long and Ian takes naps throughout the day. So, my forgetting the one form that we really needed for these errands was no good. I tried talking the woman to letting him get his shot regardless, but she wouldn't budge.

Another woman that was there inquired about Ian; I told her how he had been abandoned and was malnurished and that we were trying to find a family to adopt him. Her eyes lit up because friends of hers wanted to do just that thing.

I tried talking in the best Spanish that I could to tell her that I was not over the responsibilities of finding a family for him and how there has already been interest amoung other families, as she continued to talk about this couple. We ended up talking for a while, and since we had to go back there the next day since we were not able to get the immunizations then, she said she would be there with the couple to see him. This was not really a problem at all, it is just humorous how forward Dominicans can be.

So the next day we ventured out again after Ian's afternoon nap, immunization form in hand, to the hospital. Though we were early, we were greeted by the couple, the wife's mother, and the friend we had spoken with the day before. Ian was anything but friendly to them, which was envoked by his shot in the leg.

They insisted that we go to their house so he (and we) could see the atmosphere there. We agreed. They are a really nice couple and farely well off. The husband in originally from West Africa and now does business in Italy. They have been married for nearly 30 years and have no children. Ian opened up some to them and they were greatful. You could see how excited they were to have a baby in the house. We stayed longer than we had planned or wanted, and eventually left when Ian was fussy.

I don't see this being a family that we would pursue for Ian for certain reasons, but we sure did have a big adventure those past couple of days!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

la casa

here are a few things about the makarios house that ive learned in being here that i feel obligated to inform you of:

you can see the ocean in the distance
the sun wakes you up each morning between 6:30-7am
the houses are so close together that it feels as though the neighbors are having a conversation from inside our house
sugar ants are ready to take charge of the place within 10 seconds of food being on the floor or counter, no joke, they seem to come from thin air
the rooftop is a great place to go at night and sunset, and i am sure the morning as well
the streets are so bad in this neighborhood that you never go above 10 mph to get in or out, seriously it is ridiculous you never get out of 1st gear

all of these make for great stories that are soon to come!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


alexia and i spent the past week in santiago at the White's house. On Saturday, I spent some of the extra spending money I brought and got my hair braided like the women do here. weave and all! It has been great having my hair in braids (trenzas), because I don't have to do anything to it! Although, I must say, it was definitely up there on the things that cause excruciating pain. I sat in a chair for over 5 hours, as a woman pulled my head back and forth. I realize this entry really has no importance in the overall scheme of things, but just wanted to let y'all know. I tried reading a book I borrowed from the HUB called The Farming of Bones (which is set in the 1930's during a time when Trujillo massacred over 20, 000 Haitians), but it was hardly successful. The book has opened my eyes to a lot of things that have happened to Haitians in this country. I would suggest it, just be sure to read it when your head is not being pulled on.

On another note, since we've been back at the house, Alexia and I have done some major cleaning and organizing. We still have a couple weeks before classes start and our third roommate Jennie moves in, so this week is looking like a lot of preparations. Next week each day, we are going to go to the villages to hang out with kids and get to know some of them before school starts up.

Monday, August 14, 2006

the hub

Today is Monday, and I have been in Santiago since Friday. We are staying at the White's house, which is where I stayed the first night I flew into the DR. They are so hospitable.

Kate's younger sister Kimberlee who is my age, flew into Santiago late Friday night. She is going to be a teacher at a Christian school in Santiago. She and Kate have had an intense weekend, tryng to furnish her bare apartment before her orientation starts and before Kate's flight back to New York on Tuesday. We all went to an English church Sunday morning and then Sunday night went to this place called the Hub.

The Hub is actually a house, but is a place where a lot of peace corp workers will stay whenever they come into Santiago. It is a lot like a youth hostel, but really so much more. There is a house church that is held there every Sunday, if we are still in Santiago then I would like to go. It is run by a couple, Dave and Michelle. The walls are covered with quotes, expressions, and comics that are pretty endearing, and they have a large collection of books that make up their library. I checked out a book while we were there, but haven't started it yet. Kim and I are both excited to try and go there on Sunday to check it out.

la transportacion

Last Thursday was my first time to experience public transportation here. Alexia and I walked from our house to the main street and took a guagua (public bus) to the entrance of a city about 10 minutes down the road. When we were dropped off, we took a motoconcho, (a motorcycle taxi yes, I said motorcycle). I could not take the big smile off of my face. Here I am, sitting on the back of some guy's motorcycle, with Alexia sitting behind me, riding along down the road to the village. It was hilarious for me because I kept thinking, yeah, this is the norm here. What was even funnier was on our way back.

After taking a motoconcho back to the main road, we were waiting for a guagua to take us back to the city. I forgot that guaguas are not necessarily buses, they can also be cars. A small compact car pulls over and picks us up, along with another man who was waiting as well. There were however already two guys in the front seat with the dreiver and a woman in back. So, in a car that comfortably seats 4 or 5, there were 7. Two guys in the front two seats and then one sitting in between, an older woman sitting mext to me and a man to my right, and then Alexia on my lap. Again, the smile could not disappear in thinking that this was completely normal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ruben's farm

Sharla left on Tuesday to head back to the states, so it is just the three of us now. Kate is contnuing to show us the ropes as we find our way around the area. We went to Pancho Mateo and Chichigua today and had registration for classes. Overall, we had 182 kids sign up! It was really exciting, yet I have no idea how we are going to hold classes for that many children.

On a completely different note, the day Sharla left we were in Santiago. That mornign we traveled to Ruben's farm in . Ruben lives out in the campesino, and grows everything from avacados and mangos to beans and coffee. His wife Ana Maria greeted us with a kiss and brought out chairs for all of us to sit in the shade. While we were talking to Ruben, she brought out coffee for all of us. I don't drink coffee because I never have liked it, but I took a cup anyway. I don't know if it was her wonderful hospitality in giving, the kind and genuine words from Ruben, the beautiful scenery around us, or the fact that dominican coffee is supposedly the best- I kid you not, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Nothing was even added to it.

Going to their farm was the highlight of my day. Ruben is such a great man, and that is reflected greatly in his family. His two little girls were so cute, the younger one Naomi let me play with her Elmo doll. I took a picture of everyone in front of their house and also of Ruben cutting a piece of sugarcane.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

la miraba es gratis

So, here goes the first entry of my first blog from my first time in the DR.

This is such a beautiful country. There are huge, lush mountains and beautiful clear blue waters.

Oreintation has been great thus far. Sharla and Kate have been showing me and Alexia all sorts of things about the culture and the people here. We went to the beach yesterday, and believe it or not got a lot of things accomplished.

There are venders everywhere who will come up to you every few minutes the whole time while at the beach. Men selling jewelry continuously said, "la miraba es gratis," meaning there is no cost in looking at what they have for sale. It almost became humorous how much they approached us, almost.

When I figure out how to attach pictures I will. I would love for you to see where we had dinner that night. It was right on the beach, sitting on bamboo furniture with a beautiful sunset background.