carnaval y culto (carnival and church)

Written Sunday, March 06, 2011

This was a really good weekend. I “compartir-ed” (spent time with) other volunteers and with my host family. Yesterday (Saturday) about six of us went to one of the other volunteer’s doña’s house. I had a half cup of coffee and I really really liked it. So next time my doña offers me some, I will compartir. Last night Doña Mari told me that her friend, who is also hosting a volunteer would be coming over for dinner. When they did, it felt just like a play date that parents have: the two Domincan women (parents) in the kitchen and the two Americanas (toddlers) out on the balcony sharing stories, back stories, frustrations, good times and esperanzas. Then we went inside as to not be separated from the others. During dinner the electricity went out. We just continued eating in the dark, and then my doña lit a candle. Later when the lights came back on, you could hear a resounding “Eyyyy!!!” on the entire block.

I had the best lunch today. Doña Mari made arroz y habichuela con cebolla y carne. Yummy! Later, two other volunteers, my doña and I went to Carnaval. It was pretty fun. Much like a huge parade with a lot more costumes, and the lookers-on dress up as well. There were a TON of people. One of the traditions they do there (that no one told me about) is they take these sacks filled with some synthetic material, and they hit you with them if you’re not attentive. No, really. So there I am minding my business, and I see these three young boys dressed up in the Carnaval garb. “Aww, que lindo los muchachitos.” I think to myself. Next thing I know, WACK! Right on my butt! I yelled at the little boy who was the culprit. In my mind I saw myself ringing his little 7-and-a-half-year-old neck, but at the same time I had the thought that it may not be very representative of Christ, or Peace Corps if I did, so instead, I tried to say something, ANYTHING in Spanish to convey to him my beating heart. Nothing came out. Later I found out that everyone does that at Carnaval. I didn’t feel quite as violated, but I sure did wish someone would have just told me. Dang. After a ton of pictures, I was pretty much ready to go. It was cool, but I’m sure I could do without going to it the two more times that I’ll have the opportunity to while I’m here.

As soon as we got back I saw and heard a church having service while we walked on the road home. I put my stuff down and went right back over there. Doña Mari said they started at 6:00 and by then it was about 7:45, but since they were Pentecostal (at least they looked like it with the drape skits, no earrings and the tail-tell bun hairstyle) I figured they’d be going for a while. When I walked in a man (probably the pastor) was at the front leading the people into worship, saying, “Santo es el Señor! Santo es el Señor! Santo! Santo!” I double dutched between praising God, and observing the service. Then a woman (I belive the pastora/pastor’s wife) got up and made announcements for about 40 minutes. I couldn’t understand her well because she spoke very quickly. But she pointed to me and asked me, “Corazón, ha dado tu vida a Cristo?” (“Sweetheart, have you given your life to Christ?”) “Sí!” I said with a beaming smile. Then she asked me where I lived and I told her with Marisol. After service I kept waiting for someone to come up to me and ask, “De dónde tú eres?” but no one did. It was like I was just a regular visitor. I guess maybe I blend in as a Dominicana a little more than I thought. Either that or everyone was just ready to go home.

When I got back I had some plantain, yuca and pork soup for dinner. It was really good. I’m finding myself eating a lot of foods that I normally wouldn’t. After that Marcel (my youngest sister) and I drew random figures. She asked me if I knew how to draw, and then asked me to. I drew a pig, cow, cat, dog, lion, princess, and attempted to draw her face, and I labeled each item in Spanish and English. Afterwards, she asked me to make her a “tarea” (like…homework?). I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, so I wrote out some simple math problems for her to do. Then I wrote out, “¿Cómo se dice cerdo [pig] en inglés? ¿Cómo se dice vaca [cow] en inglés?” After that we both taught each other how to play different card games. I taught her tonk and pitty pat. We both won some and lost some of each game. It’s funny because I was so nervous about around her and compartir-ing with her. Not exactly sure why. I guess because I’ve never been a big sister before. But this was nice. 🙂

PS – since I don’t have internet all the time, I have to write entries and then load them onto my blog. It´s called being “flexible” (Peace Corps’s favorite word).

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