Okay, folks. At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, I have to address the elephant on the screen: I’ve not posted a blog in more than 3 years! Since March 2013, things have changed in my life. I extended my service in the US Peace Corps until June of 2014, I dyed my hair (a … More for the sake of my voice
Literacy Intervention Before the Christmas break, I started my literacy pull-out program with 18 third graders in the elementary school. I call it “Leer y Crecer,” which means “read and grow.” I asked the teachers to give me their low-performing readers, evaluated them and put them into three groups of 6, based on reading ability. … More 1 year, 11 mos, 4 days (3 months left)
I spent most of the month of October in….(drumroll)……………America! And I was very happy to be there (in Hakeem voice, from Coming to America). I am so blessed with awesome family and friends and church family at home that I was able to see. Miss you guys! At home I also went to my 10-year … More visiting america, holidaying in the DR
At the beginning of August, I took two girls from my community to a Peace Corps conference called Celebrando el Cibao (El Cibao is the region of the country I live in). We discussed topics like diversity, discrimination and basic treatment of others, in a safe environment. We did dinámicas, arts and crafts and had … More 1 year 6 mo 29 days in (7 months left)
Other than the parasitic nightmare described in the previous post, it’s been a while since I’ve updated, and quite a bit has happened since late July. For starters, my birthday! Sabrill and Damien came up, my host family made me some very yummy food, my church sang Happy Birthday to me in English (LOL!), I … More birthday 2012
First, I hate that THIS is the post that I start you off with after a long period of not having updated you in a while; sorry about that. I started working on another one, and then, well, this happened. Second, because of how freely Dominicans tend to discuss their bodily functions, I may or … More so, you have an amoeba
Summer means the beach. The beach means shells. And shells means…? Earrings! I’ve collected some shells from the beach and started turning them into jewelry. 🙂 All I did was use the hole at the top to poke a hole all the way through with a safety pin. Then I put string through there and … More earrings from the sea
Two to three days a week I go to the homes of two 3rd graders to help them with reading. We go over letters (their names and the sounds that they represent), how they form syllables when paired with other letters or by themselves, and how those syllables come to form words. I’ve really enjoyed … More learning to teach
The 4th was great this year. I had an incident in which a few items were, uh…misplaced (talk to me personally for more on that), so I’ve had to borrow pictures from other people’s cameras. This year I sang America the Beautiful and the national anthem at the volunteer party, and I collected and announced … More 2nd 4th
At the end of June, I visited another volunteer’s site to give a charla (a talk) about Black American Culture. The other volunteers that presented were a Mexican American and a Jewish American. It was so great! A lot of Dominicans think that all Americans are white, with blond hair and blue eyes. I’ve had … More what does an american look like?
On Tuesday, I started working with kids who have trouble reading. PCDR’s education sector has officially transitioned from mostly ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) to literacy and basic education. I did some basic education training with my high school and elementary school teachers a few months back, and, despite initially thinking I would avoid it, … More words and songs
Highlights from celebrating one year of Peace Corps service. One down, one to go. Sometimes, I can’t believe I live here on this beautiful island. I really am living my dream. 🙂 God is good!
I was at the elementary school about to leave when I heard that the father of one of my teacher training group participants had passed away that same day. I had to make a quick decision: go home as planned or go to the home of the father of one of the teachers I knew … More awkward mourning
Written Tuesday, April 24, 2012 So, it’s been a year already! I’m over the hill with my Peace Corps experience, and I hardly know where the days have gone. Twenty-seven months is approximately 810 days; I’ve completed about 418 of those. Pretty soon, I’ll be writing this about finishing up my service (wowzers!). In the … More 1 year 1 mo 23 days in
Written Tuesday, April 23 I live for Thursdays. On Thursdays, I go for an hour to guitar lessons. I don’t know why I didn’t pick up learning guitar before, but I now have a new love in my life! I’ve wanted to learn guitar for a long time, and now I have time to do … More soundtrack
Angry face! I spent a total of about 3.5 hours cleaning out a major ant infestation in my house. And these are the ones that bite! I’d never seen anything like this. I have to be even more vigilant than before now.
On Sunday, I graduated my teacher training course. *Heavy sigh of relief* I spent the two weeks before the graduation working with teachers to get certification requirements finished, inviting people with titles, and of course, planning the event. I made invitations and printed them in color, created and printed the certificates, bought balloons, had Sabrill … More teacher training graduation
In February, Peace Corps Dominican Republic celebrated 50 years with el pueblo Dominicano. We had a pretty big shindig in the capital, which included the presence of the worldwide director of Peace Corps, Aaron Williams (also a former volunteer in the DR). I was on the Communications team working before and during conference. Check out … More we turned 50!
When I first got the the DR, I was so pleasantly surprised at how fresh the eggs tasted. There was this whole lack-of-steroids taste present, accompanied by a free-roam-chicken taste. I didn’t even know how those things tasted before. I commented to someone about the freshness of the eggs, and they replied, “Yeah, they’re so … More why my eggs taste better than yours
Say what? I remember reading in one of the Peace Corps publications something about “learning a new way to communicate.” That sounds so pretty, doesn’t it? But it can be really hard and very frustrating when you’re accustomed to being able to communicate in one way, and now have to in a completely different one. … More say what?
Written Thursday, January 19, 2012 I don’t know if I could do justice with words to describe how wonderful it was being home for Christmas and New Years. It was awesome. My first family stop in the US was to my sister’s house in Philadelphia, and I rode the train to get there. I sat … More home again
Since the last entry about teacher training, my group of high school teachers has tapered off to a consistent five participants every Saturday. I’ve also started another training group with the teachers at the elementary school. While I was preparing for one of the Saturday workshops at the high school, a teacher from the elementary … More more teachers and some youth
Written Saturday, October 8, 2011 Last Saturday, I started my main project: training teachers on teaching methodology and incorporating technology into the education process. After spending time with another volunteer, who has the same main project, I got really excited about beginning. Fourteen teachers from the daytime staff signed up. I didn’t think all 14 … More teacher training
Written Saturday, October 8, 2011 Remember Mamita? The hood rat, uh, I mean street dog that I wanted to take to come live with me? Well I guess you can take the dog out the streets, but you can’t take the streets out the dog. After two confusing conversations with the previous owners, Mamita followed … More must love dogs
Written Saturday, October 8, 2011 It’s been forever since I’ve posted an update to the blog. I’ll try to make updates more often. Sorry for the wait! 🙂 I moved on my own at the beginning of September. I love my house. It’s small, but just right for me. It’s kind of like a studio … More ¿cómo se dice “moving”?
Written Wednesday August 31, 2011 I published this before, but for some reason it didn’t go though. Anyway, here it is again! 🙂 I majored in Spanish Language and Literature in college, so I’ve been pretty invested in the Spanish-speaking world long before I came to the Dominican Republic to live and work. I remember … More apellidos
Written Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Think about the first day of school in one of your grades in high school…let’s say 10th grade. What did you do? Get locker assignments? Get books? Maybe you went over material in the first chapter of the text book, or perhaps just talked about how summer went in your … More the first week of school
Written Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Last week the Education sector had its 3-month In-Service Training Conference (IST). This is where we present our community diagnostics after having been present in and having interviewed our community for three months. It was really good to see all the other volunteers’ presentations and the diversity of communities in … More IST, MRI and mange
Written Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Usually for my birthday, my girls come up and we go out to eat, or to the movies or on a road trip and have a sleepover. This year, two weeks before my birthday, I almost forgot that it was approaching. For my birthday, the neighborhood kids all made me … More my birthday in the DR
Written Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Gary, Dave and Beth (my sister’s in-laws) came down Sunday for their annual medical mission. I went down on Monday to meet them and helped Mr. Gary with the interpretations. I had an awesome time!!!! I really enjoyed interpreting and making the patients feel comfortable with the process, but most … More fun & faith with the foresters
Written Saturday, July 23, 2011 The local Catholic priest asked me to speak on Escojo Mi Vida from a Christian perspective (Escojo is Peace Corps DR’s program that encourages teens to make wise decisions regarding sex) at a campamento juvenil (youth camp) that the Catholic diocese was having. It was so great! 🙂 There were … More talkin bout sex with catholic yungins
Written Wednesday, July 13, 2011 I started an ESL (English as a Second Language) class a few weeks back. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed teaching English. It’s been different in that, when I teach ESL in the States, I know that my students have real motivation to want to learn, and speak English during … More first ESL class in the DR
Written Wednesday, July 13, 2011 For the last several weeks, I’ve been taking care of a dog that’s stolen my heart. I’ve named her “Mamita,” which means “little mama.” She had an owner, but they decided they didn’t want her anymore because she “got too big,” or at least that’s the word on the streets. … More mamita
Written Wednesday, July 13, 2011 The volunteers got together to celebrate the Fourth of July. I took a guagua (small bus) to get there, and on the way there was a Haitian man on the side of the road waiting for the bus. The cobrador (the guy that charges money and tells the driver when … More black like me?
Written Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Yesterday, I was experiencing leg pain for much of the day, but nothing really debilitating. Last night I was woken by a painful sensation in my leg that I’ve never experienced. It was so intense! I tried going back to sleep, and finally I did. A few hours later, I … More on my (sciatic) nerve?
Written June 4, 2011 Note: If you get squeamish about gross stuff, maybe you should skip this entry. I wrote this in my journal, and wasn’t sure if it I should post it. Mneh, why not? Sometimes you hear these noises, and you’d just rather not know what they are. Other times you hear things … More the enemies
Written Saturday, June 11, 2011 Last Friday I took my Senegalese twists out, and spent what felt like the whole day Saturday washing my hair, etc. I have really thick hair, so I actually started taking my twists out bit-by-bit a few days before actually taking them all out, so it wouldn’t be as taxing … More hair matters in my site (…or maybe it doesn’t)
Written Sunday, May 29, 2011 Since swearing in, I’ve just been acclimating myself to my community. Here are a few updates: Marcia. So, for a few days we had a chicken take up residence under the bushes next to our pouch to incubate her eggs. When I got back to my site after swearing in, … More day 89
Written Sunday, May 15, 2011 On Wednesday, I officially swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer! I was incredibly elated. I started the application process in early February 2010 (almost ready to get on a plane and get to work) so to actually be official is pretty exciting. The ceremony was really nice. Not gonna … More swear-in and pa’lante
Written Sunday, May 8, 2011 On Tuesday, we got our site assignments. I opened my assignment packet and read the first few sentences that graced the cover letter: You are about to embark on a journey that will change your life. Peace Corps will give you the opportunity to directly affect the lives of many … More my site
Written Monday, May 2 We finished CBT (technical training for our sector) and returned to Santo Domingo on Friday, but not before I had one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve ever in my life experienced. I have to share this on the World Wide Web, because sometimes you’re so humbled (or humiliated) that you … More back in the city
Written Wednesday, April 20, 2011 Well, kids, it’s been 50 days since beginning this journey, and it’s truly only begun (I mean, hey, I haven’t even sworn in yet). However, despite my short time here, the contrast between a normal day 50 days ago is very different than a normal day now, so there’ve been … More 50 days in: Oh, how we’ve changed
Written Wednesday, April 20, 2011 Saturday afternoon a tornado ripped through Raleigh and other parts of North Carolina. I found out around 8pm that evening, right before going to watch a movie with the other volunteers. I called my sister in Raleigh to make sure they were okay, and she got back in touch with … More storm back home
Written Tuesday, April 12 Last Wednesday, I sang “Here I am to Worship” at the church Unción del Santo. It was good, but not my best vocally. I think it the people were blessed by it though, and I had a good time. It’s been such a blessing having faith community again. Last night I … More singing, birthday, beach, bugs, jóvenes
Written Today 🙂 This past Sunday, I visited the church again. Even for a Pentecostal church, their services are long! Lol but I enjoyed myself. Their praise team is really good, as well as their musicians. I thought it would be a good idea to meet some of them, and sit in on a praise … More canto a mi Dios
Written Monday, March 28, 2011 On Thursday of last week the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) group traveled to El Seibo, where we’ll spend the next several weeks in technical training for our sector (what PC calls community-based training, or CBT). This has been a really nice change from congested Santo Domingo. The community is … More cbt
Written Today 🙂 On Thursday we went on our volunteer visits. Each trainee visited a current volunteer within his/her sector to get an idea of what it’s like to be an actual volunteer. My volunteer lived in Manabao, which in the mountains. It was coooooooooold! At night I to layer up with several blankets and … More volunteer visit
Written Tuesday, March 15, 2011 On Monday we discussed race in the Dominican Republic, and specially, how Dominicans view themselves. Dominicans (and most Latinos) don’t look at race as “black,” “white,” etc. but rather view their race, regardless of physical features, as solely “Dominican.” This point of view is what caused recent changes in the … More la raza
Written Tuesday, March 15, 2011 On Sunday we met up in the Zona Colonial in the center part of Santo Domingo. The guagua left not even a minute before I got to the stop, and didn’t come again for another 45 minutes. Nice. But we got to our group in time, so no worries. Peace … More colonial zone tour / hair day
Written Sunday, March 13, 2011 On Friday, we got our cell phones! Nice. When I got home I discovered some good news and some bad news. The bad news: the water went out again. The good news: I’m now able to bath myself with just two pitchers of water (yes, pitchers, as in what you … More cell phones and the beach 🙂