Monday, January 28, 2008


In the past week or so, Robin, Cara, and I have started learning how to cook Dominican food. Last week, Amaury and Bernabe came over to the apartment, along with Amaury’s kids, to teach us how to prepare fried plantains. Here they are called tostones. We had a great time visiting with them and cooking together in the apartment.

Later Robin was telling a woman that we know named Jasena about wanting to learn how to prepare Dominican food. She said whenever we could to come over to her house and we would cook together. So, this past Saturday we went.

Jasena told us to be at her house around 10am. Dominicans eat their big meal of the day at noon, so if we wanted to learn everything we had to be there early. We made fried fish, rice, and a vegetable pastelón (a casserole-type dish). All of us were cooking for hours, we finally finished around 1pm and then all sat down to eat together. It was all so good!

The three of us decided that we wanted to try and do this once a week. We thought it would be fun to learn to prepare a Dominican meal one week, and then teach an American one the next. If y’all have any suggestions of what essential American food we should teach them, please let us know!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

carlos alfredo

Last Thursday, one of my preschool students named Carlos Alfredo, otherwise known as Bebe, was really upset whenever his mom Katy came to drop him off. When I asked him what the matter was, he just cowered behind his mom.

Now, I must premise that though he is by far the tallest student in preschool, his name suits him well because of his mannerisms and limited vocabulary. Katy told me that he was upset that he had to walk to school.

This surprised me because that is what he always does. His mom preceded and said that he wanted to ride the donkey to school.

I chuckled to myself at how this child wanted to ride a donkey to school, a donkey!! Man, where am I and what century am I living in?!

The next day I spent about 3 hours in Pancho Mateo, about an hour and a half with Katy and Bebe. I saw her husband Freddy working with a donkey, and then began to understand.

Freddy had borrowed the donkey from a friend to do some work. They want to put a second floor on their home and are slowing collecting the materials in order to build. Freddy is using the donkey to carry sand that he gathers from the river in Pancho Mateo and brings it up to their house. As he guides the donkey, his two sons Ismael and Bebe run along side trying to help out in any way that they can. It was really cute.

Katy told me that they want to build a room above their current house to use as a prayer room. The only thing that is keeping them from finishing this project is money. If anyone is interested in helping them out please let me know. I think that what they are wanting to do is a really cool thing, especially considering that I have never heard anyone else in this country wanting to do something like that.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

welcome back

I flew back into Puerto Plata New Year's Day with a new group from the Austin Stone, they have been helping us get the school ready by doing some major cleaning all throughout the property. We finally got shelves put in the storage closet, so we were able to organize all of our school supplies. Some helped Miguel build a storage box that now hangs in the office to store all of the PE equipment, and many helped clear some land where we will eventually start a garden.

Robin, Cara, and I have moved into an apartment near the school which has been so nice being so close to the school and the people we interact with daily. I must say though that it has been weird not seeing the groups as much in the evenings. I am grateful though for more opportunity to spend with my students and their families outside of the classroom.

Friday we had a welcome back party for all of the students. The group brought Christmas gifts for each child from ASCC in Austin and made sandwiches to pass out made with homemade Haitian peanut butter.

The day before the group went to visit the families in Pancho Mateo and Chichigua after their work at the school was done. I started feeling poorly around midday, I ended up going to our apartment to sit for a minute. Good thing I did because I got sick so I spent a few hours resting. Whatever I had passed after vomiting and I soon felt better.

Saturday afternoon Kate and I took a bus to Santiago to meet another group that was flying in. We took them to see the Makarios farm Sunday afternoon, and they headed to the north coast on Monday to help us prepare for school. Classes begin Tuesday, the weather has been poor, but hopefully we will have a good turn out for the first day.