Monday, September 29, 2008


Towards the end of my time in the DR, an opportunity arose for the Makarios staff to partake in an event held in Mexico City.

Passion International has been on a world tour, holding conferences in cities heavily populated with college students. They will be in Mexico City the first weekend in October. Passion has implemented a program called "Do Something Now," in effort to bring immediate help to the city where they are located. While in Mexico City, they are teaming up with a local church who are trying to improve the education of children in their surrounding area. They have an educational program that currently has children come every Saturday, but would like to extend their program to five days a week and develop the material that they teach, if given the resources and opportunity.

Passion International has asked Makarios to come and help. Though I am currently no longer working for Makarios, there were no returning teachers for this fiscal year (staff yes, teachers no). Therefore, I decided to team up with current Makarios staff to help develop this school program in Mexico.

I realize that me teaching Haitian and Dominicans is completely different from Mexicans teaching fellow Mexicans, but feel that sharing the knowledge and experience that I have gained over the past two years will be extremely beneficial.

I fly out Wednesday, October 1 and will spend one week with some of my close friends and former co-workers that remain Makarios staff in the Dominican Republic, as well as three others flying out of Texas, including Sharla, the Makarios director. We will be able to participate in part of the conference put on by Passion International over the weekend, in addition to the "Do Something Now" campaign for Mexico City.

I am very excited about this opportunity to share what I have learned (what has essentially been my life over the past two years), see dear friends, and experience Mexico City. I return October 7th, and will share the experience once I am back!

Monday, September 22, 2008

over and out

This is the plane Weston, Laurin, and I flew out on. You may be wondering why we are loading up this way, standing outside and walking up the stairs that lead to the plane like they do in the movies. Great question.

The power went out at the airport. Of course. We were sitting in the dark and in the heat waiting for our flight in the Puerto Plata airport. What a way to leave the country. So Dominican.

Weston's thoughts of this last DR moment are pretty much summed up by his facial expression.

the last night

Weston lived with Luz and her family in Monte Llano. She threw a going away party for Weston and the other three of us that were leaving. It was really great to spend time with all of our friends at the same place and time. We had a really wonderful time hanging out and talking about some of the things from our time here. The whole night was very Dominican, the video below shows you just a bit of that.

group shot

DR in country staff picture and then some, taken a couple days before leaving the country. It was taken on the balcony of our apartment.

Back row: Kate, Paul (summer intern), Garrett, Weston, Jonathan (working construction with Garrett through December)
Middle: Megan (Laurin's friend), Anne, Ashley (new teacher for this school year), Sharla (just flew into the country), Jennie, Rachel (non Makarios, runs an Art Coop that employs Haitian women)
Front: Cristina, her husband Claudio, me, Laurin, Robin
(missing: Cara, who was visiting family, we missed her)

pablo está loco

Chanted by my girls during the soccer camp while switching stations. It turned into a pretty big procession.

group effort

Sunday, September 21, 2008

precious moments

what is a limoncillo?

I would say that a limoncillo is a mix between a lime and a grape. They grow in bunches like grapes do and are relatively small, but like a lime, it is a green color and you cannot eat the rind. You see them everywhere in the DR, and can buy a big bunch of them for 10 pesos (30 cents).

At first I didn't like them much, but over time they grew on me. Sili's mother would always give us some whenever we were in Pancho Mateo visiting with her and her family. Pictured above making limoncillo bundles to sell are some kids in Pancho Mateo who I taught my first year in country: Lizmiel, Anibelka, and Aderlin.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

dreads after one month

taken while in Jarabacoa


The last weekend in the DR, Weston and I went to Jarabacoa to visit Layne and Caitlin. We had a bit of an adventure getting there, starting with riding next to a rooster on the public bus.
Layne met up with us in downtown Jarabacoa after a bit of confusion in the location. We rode on his motorcycle with him (and our bags) back to their apartment in the mountains. On the way we got in a bit of an accident because of (the combination of) wet roads, uphill mountains, motorcycle's bad alignment, and probably too much weight. We had slowed down because of Layne's insticts, but that didn't prevent us from topping over. Weston and I are leg posing, Layne is not.

As you can see, we got a bit banged up, but no serious injuries, just a fun story to tell.

Though it rained most of the weekend (I believe because of Gustav), we had a great time exploring parts of the city. We hiked the trail that led to the largest waterfall in the city, Salto Jimenoa.
Here are all of us at the base of the waterfall. You can't tell from the picture, but I am wearing a showercap under my bandana so my dreads wouldn't get wet (I felt very Dominican!). Because of all the rain, the water(and waterfall) was no longer clear and pretty, otherwise it was a beautiful view.

Overall it was a wonderful weekend spending time with great friends.

ruben el gringo


Here are some fun pictures of the recent graduates. They were used in the slide show for the graduation ceremony.


The Chichigua boys stayed during the day and helped out around the school during the last week of class. Pictured above are Guivenson, Ronal, Ernesto, Yunior, and Ronni. Yunior is Evelyn's eldest son and a former student from the year before. Guivenson will be the only returning student this year.

One of the things that they did while at the school was help clean up the property in the back. They cut down the coconut that were ready and picked up all the loose parts of the coconut trees. Each day Yunior saved a large coconut for me, very sweet. Somehow they can cut open a coconut so easily. It just takes one whack with the machete and voula! it is done.

Here is Yunior cutting open the coconut. He makes it look so easy!

Here I am with the coconut Yunior gave me the following day. First a hole is poked on the top so the coconut milk can be drinked (it's really more like water actually). This is Franchesca drinking some of the milk. Afterwards, the coconut is cut in two and the actual coconut flesh is scooped out. The kids really liked that part too.

I decided to give cutting the coconut a try. I mean, these are just kids cutting them open, surely I could do it, right? Well, it wasn't so easy. I probably took me 20-30 swings of the machete to finally get it to split in two. You can see how butchered the coconut looks in the picture! So, yes, it was harder than I thought, but still a lot of fun.

layne and caitlin

Monte Llano girls Rachel, Candace, and Jessi



me and Caitlin
group shot taken by Robin

Layne and Caitlin were dear friends of ours that lived in Monte Llano and worked in a village past Pancho Mateo called Caraballo with an organization called Kids Alive. (Candace and Jessi also work for Kids Alive). Layne and Caitlin were given an opportunity to continue working with the organization, but in a different, more established area in Jarabacoa (a mountainous city in central Dominican Republic). We had a going away party for them at Rachel's house and talked about how much we like them! It was really sad that they left, but I knew that I would get a visit in to Jarabacoa before leaving the island.