Sunday, April 06, 2008


If any of you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you may recall the idea of saying T.I.A. (This is Africa). When things happen or regardless of the insane things that go on, it is still your country. We all feel that this idea fits perfectly in this country. I often find myself mouthing the phrase "soooo dominican!" because that is really the only way to describe the things that go on in this country. This is Republica Dominicana.

Please enjoy the following pictures and videos, along with their captions. Feel free to enlarge the pictures to see every humorous detail. All of these pictures and one of the videos were taken within the 15 minutes of each other, I kid you not. The other video is bonus.
We were the first car stopped at the stop light. As we waited, slowly but surely motos wove in and out of the cars up to the front until we were completely surrounded by them when the light finally turned green. T.I.R.D.
It wouldn't be a day in the Dominican Republic if you didn't see someone drive by carrying something on a moto. This time it is a Haitian man carrying paintings over his head. Why transport your goods any other way? T.I.R.D.
On the main street that runs through Puerto Plata, which also becomes the highway when you leave town pass all the speedy cars and motos on a mission to get somewhere and to get there fast. On the same road passes a man with his horse and cart. Notice that his cart is actually a car axel. T.I.R.D.
The back windshield of the car reads "C VEND." What the owner was clearly trying to write was "C VEN D" there just wasn't enough room. What does this mean? Well, nothing to tell you the truth. However, it would be pronounced the same way as the phrase "SE VENDE" which means "For Sale." Clearly though, one would use letters with the same pronounciation (instead of the actual words which take longer to write). T.I.R.D.
Look closely at this tractor driving down the main road with its entourage of motos. There is a motorcycle in the lift. What?! T.I.R.D.

Garrett and Anne's T.I.R.D. faces.

Friday, April 04, 2008

cup o' tea (or coffee in this case)

Let's see, what comes next? Oh, here is a fun story that y'all might enjoy.

One thing that people do here, if I haven't mentioned it already, is enjoy there cafecitos (little cups of coffee). There have been many of days that I have sat with families in Pancho Mateo visiting and chatting away, and it never fails that I am offered a cafecito of my own. Let me start by saying that before I came into this country I didn't even drink coffee, but it is hard to say no to a friendly gesture here. (And, I have actually come to like the drink very much since being here).

So, the cafecitos are normally served in a normal sized coffee cup, but the amount of coffee is literally almost a splash. However, my dear friend Katy who I know I have mentioned several times (mother of Ismael and Bebe) likes to serve her coffee in little tea cups.

When my friend Leticia was here, we sat and visited with Katy and her kids for a couple of hours. She served us coffee in her little tea cups, each with their own saucer and little spoon. Leticia felt like she was at a tea party!

I would say that the idea of having a tea party in the middle of Pancho Mateo came up a few times because the idea is just so hilarious!

Towards the end of Leticia's time here, we all went to the beach in Cabarete and to the German bakery (which has become an amazing get away treat for us!) If any of you ever come to the DR to visit (hint hint) you must try the cafe con leche (coffee with milk) at the German bakery.

The small size is served in a cup with a saucer and a small pitcher on steamed milk on the side. The large size is served in a styrofoam cup because the coffee and milk are steamed together. (I say all of this to preface to this second story). Laurin (a great girl who is here through August) ordered the small for the sole purpose of the cup and saucer (what a weirdo). However, they brought it to her in the big styrofoam cup, just not completely filled.

She was so sad not to receive her little cup and plate, that she made me go up and ask them for one so that she could pour the coffee into it. The staff at Dick's (which is the unfortunate name of our beloved bakery) looked and me and laughed whenever I told them Laurin's request. Though, I must say that I think that any of us would do almost anything to feel normal, even if it is the basic thing of drinking out of a real coffee cup!

job site

In March a finally decided to head over to the land that Makarios purchased. I had seen it several times before, but not since they started working on it. It is a few minutes from where our school is located. The land is where the new Makarios house will be located. We are currently renting the Makarios house in Puerto Plata, so it will be very exciting once the new house is done. It will be a lot more practical for groups that come down and conferences that could be held. These are a few pictures from the job site and the progress thus far. i believe it should take around a year and half to two years until it is complete.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


For two weeks in March, Leticia came to visit me and spend time in what has become her favorite country. One of the kids that has captured her heart is a 5 year old named Carlos Alfredo, or Bebe.

Pictured is the two of them with Bebe's pet chicken (yes, PET chicken). His name is Gringo because he is white!


If you can't tell, I am playing catch up on my blog. This next entry should have been published mid-February, but y'all are getting it now.

I just wanted to say a quick note about the kids and families that I work with. My birthday fell on a Monday this year, and someone the word got out to the students. On the 18th, I had so many sweet gestures, notes, and gifts from these people who barely have enough to get by.

The picture above are some of the things that I received. 2 necklaces, 3 bracelets, 1 pair of earrings, a pink camisole, and a vase of plastic red flowers from 5 different families. I literally could not believe the gesture. Each gift was wrapped in old worn paper, some included a sweet note.

A particularly cute story was the receiving of the plastic flowers from one of my preschool students Janisa. She got dropped off by her dad with a huge smile plastered on her face, holding a big wrapped box. She could not wait for me to open it and waited impatiently for me to tear the paper off once we were inside. Once I pulled the flowers from the box, she smiled with satisfaction, saying, "they are flowers!"

I kid you not, this thing could not be more hideous, but the satisfaction and pride from a blonde 4 year old Dominican girl could not be more beautiful.

daribelto's noticia

This is a video of some of our beginnings of "las noticias diarias" with our beloved cat and hat. Notice how excited Daribelto is to share his story with the cool new hat, but also how sad Felix Manuel is when I don't choose him next to stand up and talk!

las noticias diarias

With a special thanks to my mom and my sister Rachel, we have been discussing our "daily news" in our preschool class, otherwise known as by the kiddos as (drum roll please) LAS NOTICIAS DIARIAS!!

We use a black cat puppet named Gloria to announce when it is time for our daily news, and then one student at a time stands up puts on the special green hat and tells his story. The kids love it!!