Monday, July 14, 2008


Finally! I took some pictures of the apartment so that everyone can see where I have been living for the past 7 months. It has been so great living so close to the school, we walk there every morning. We also are more a part of the daily Dominican life because we are right in the middle of it all. The apartment is a great size, and though we hardly have any furniture it is one of the first times that I feel comfortable calling it home and for the first time have a bit of space that we can call ours.We shall take a tour!

Entry room of the apartment. The table, chairs, and sports equipment do not belong to us.

Moving on to the living area. This room consists of a lot of green paint and a book shelf put together by Miguel with some extra scraps of wood.
The kitchen is something that we are doing a little better on. Notice if you will the mini Dominican stove that we purchased and all the utensils brought to the country mainly by Cara.
Our very mini Dominican fridge.And all of our cleaning supplies.

This is my little bedroom. I was able to purchase a bed at the end of January, and it has been so wonderful to not be on a thin mattress on a bunk bed at the Makarios house in Puerto Plata.Our bathroom sits nestled in between the two bedrooms.
Robin and Cara's room, just big enough to hold their beds that Miguel built.

Our balcony which now extends the whole side of the building.Though we don't have much when it comes to furnishing out apartment, the one thing that we do have and that is particularly wonderful is a place to hang our hammocks!! It is too hot to lie there during the day, but once the sun has gone down it is sweet. At night you can look up at all the stars.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Today we took the new interns to Chichigua. Man, I really love that place. I went around visiting the families that I have come to know. We all sit or stand around laughing about life, just passing time together. It is so good. I think back on when I first arrived in this country and had my first visit to Chichigua on my own. I was so terrified in not knowing how to act or what to say. Wow how things have changed.

The first family that I visited is the Alexi family. Most of their children are grown and no longer in school (three of whom I taught last year). The youngest is Felipe, a bubbly 10 ten year old that has way too much energy for three people combined.

I just found out that their dad, who was considered the leader of the village, no longer lives in Chichigua. He has moved in with another woman in another village, which disappoints me so much. I kissed Marlena’s hands and hugged her and she just smiled and laughed at my affection.

The youngest daughter in that family is Jaina, an adolescent girl confined to a wheelchair, which no longer works and so now to the ground. She squeals whenever I lift her upper body off the floor to hug her. She likes to be tickled too or for me to rub her muscles, which always seem to be fixated in the same place.

The older two girls were upset that they were not able to go to the beach with the current students a few weekends back, so I might try and see if I can plan something special for them. The eldest son I do not know as well because he is the one that I never taught. He is a motorcycle taxi driver and I hope is now helping to support his mother and younger siblings.

I also love visiting with the woman that cares for Estiven, her name is Maria. We always joke around because Estiven always gets really embarrassed whenever I come to see him. I think that he knows how much I like him! But I also know that he likes the attention!

Last year whenever I taught my classes in Chichigua before we had the school building, I was reading a chapter book to my older class- James and the Giant Peach, otherwise known as James y el melocotón gigante.

I only got through about 18 chapters last year and hadn’t picked it up since. Recently the kids have been asking about it. I decided to spend some of my time going into Chichigua and Pancho Mateo when the kids aren’t in class to continue reading to them. So, today I whipped out the book, gave a little summary, and started reading right where we had left off. Guivenson, Ernesto, and Felipe were the three that I wanted to read it to, which I did along with some of the younger kids and even a couple of adults. I ended up reading four chapters to them, after the second I asked if we should stop there and one of the adults sitting on a nearby rock yelled out no to me! It was really precious!

After Chichigua, I went with Laurin and Emily (one of the interns) to the grocery store in Puerto Plata. It had been so long since I had been in there and I was really excited. They had just finished putting a little café on the back side of the store. The cleanliness and fanciness of it made it seem like something you would find in the states. It even had a restroom! BIG deal!! I definitely need to try it out sometime.

I bought a mango and three bananas, two red peppers (not necessarily Dominican, but still tasty), a roll of toilet paper, and a diet coke as a special treat. Soon after parted ways with Laurin and Emily and headed back towards the apartment in Monte Llano. It has been a very good day so far.

Monday, July 07, 2008

el viejecito

This is Yunior, he is 13 and in my morning class. He lives in El Tamarindo, the neighborhood where our school is located. Yunior is such a character. He is one of the few children that I know in this country that actually uses his imagination. The pictures below show one example.

Yunior likes to pretend that he is an old man (un viejo). The first time he showed this was in Weston's English class. He came to class sporting a white beard and white eye brows. He used a cane and walked around imitating how an old man would walk. It is hilarious!

These pictures were taken when an Austin Stone group was here. Some of the members of the group along with some church members from Templo Biblico played a friendly basketball game with the city champs. Ryan King spoke during half time. There was a pretty good turnout, many people from the town came that we did not know, as well as our friends and students.

One thing that I quickly noticed while living in this country is that everyone will dress up in their best clothes whenever they go out. You will notice how well Yunior is dressed for this basketball game. This close up picture allows you to see the detail of his attire. There were a few people that actually thought that he was an old man!! He showed us his "old man power walk" and his struggling attempts to walk down the stadium seats. We all played along too, it was really fun and entertaining!!


This is Weston. Weston has a pasola. The light on his pasola went out, so he resorted to using his head lamp. Weston, Cara, and I rode around Monte Llano like that and it was very entertaining. Though this picture is really funny, what really made me laugh is that his pasola got confiscated the next day. Don't worry though, he got it back after putting in a new light.