Thursday, September 18, 2008

lots of stuff


Four weeks later…

It’s Thursday and we’re going to go again into Bani at 3:30 since today is our one month anniversary. Well, according to the date it’s not but according to the number of weeks it’s the fourth today. Tomorrow I have to give a presentation to the group in Spanish about my findings for the community diagnostic. (That was the house visits I did) I thought that it would be a lot easier to present on my methods of interviewing since I’m pretty sure 90% of what I did was an example of what not to do. I normally love making presentations and such but today it sucked a little. Doing everything in Spanish takes a lot of extra effort so even things that normally come easy to me take a lot more work.

I’m feeling a little intimidated about having to do this whole thing in Spanish (10- 15 min presentation) because there are so really good speakers in my group. The good thing is that out of the 8 people in my group about 5 of us are at the same level more or less. So, I don’t have to feel really bad. This is different from the last few health groups I think since most of them seem to have had a lot more fluent speakers.

Would you like to hear something ironic? Today when I came home for lunch my Dona was busy as usual but there were a ton of clothes all around. She told me that they were collecting clothes to give to the church and the church was going to donate them to the poor… in the US. Wow, I wonder how much of that type of stuff goes on. I’m glad to be here and all but it makes me wonder if people poured resources into their countries first and then into others how different things would be.

I would like to give you all an insect update. You’ll be happy to know that I have seen no more monster sized spiders in my house. I have seen several cockroaches and while these are very large, I really don’t care too much about them. I have been pretty lucky. Last night I asked my sister why there weren’t more in their house, I wish I knew what she said. My friend had a ton in her house the other night, they were just spilling out of her dresser I guess. My other friend, I feel so bad for her, she has to use a latrine. She’s the only one that has one in our group. Some people even have running water! I’ve been taking bucket baths the whole time. I have been able to perfect flushing the toilet though, I ‘m proud to say. Anyways, poor Randy has it bad in more than one way. Not only does she have a latrine and have to pee in a bucket in her room at night (the roaches come out at night and she doesn’t want them crawling on her when she’s trying to do her business) but she saw the biggest spider to date. She said it was the size of her whole hand and it was just chilling on her wall!! She ran out and her Dona came in to save the day. Randy couldn’t stay to watch because she was freaking out but I guess her Dona said something about the spider being tranquil and scooped it up with her hands and put it outside!! Holy crap!

Well, that’s all for now my friends. If you have any easy recipes or no bake recipes please send them my way!! I hope I can talk to you all soon!



9/16/08 Headlamp desire…

Headlamp headlamp, where can you be?

Headlamp headlamp, now I can’t see!

I wish I thought to buy one…

Cause now it’s just no fun

Oh headlamp headlamp, come take away the night

Headlamp headlamp, can’t you take my fright?

I’m sorry I did you wrong,

Now please, help me get along

Headlamp headlamp, where can you be?

Headlamp headlamp, I wish I could see!

9/15/08 Life in the Campo

Even though I have been in the DR for a while now I still feel like it hasn’t really sunk in. So today I realized I was in the PC when I was just chilling in my house for lunch when I turned around to see a goat walking through the house. He walked right in the front door and right out the back. During another lunch there were about 8 turkeys that wandered in and back out the way they came. I can honestly say, although this is the first time these things have ever happened to me, I didn’t really think it was strange. There are goats, chickens, cows and pigs that walk wherever they want all around the town.

There are tons of poor hungry dogs that flinch when you approach them, obviously from not having good experiences with people. Today I found a puppy and tricked it into letting me hold it- which means it was only about 6 weeks old because by 8 weeks I swear they can’t be tricked- and it was already terrified of people. It’s sad really. I would like to start a program that does something to address this at least a little. I was thinking maybe an awareness program but I have no idea how I would get people to attend. People are awful to animals. This morning on my way to class I walked by a guy who was trying to herd his cows. He did this by whipping rocks at their heads when they went the wrong way. There are sooooo many sickly animals around its overwhelming, where would I even start? I feel bad for my Dona’s cats. Sure, its kind of their fault they’re so skinny since cats are all about mice and such but would you chase something bigger than you? So today I gave them a few of my dog treats and make sure to give them table scraps too. My family gets a big kick out of feeding them the dog treats.

In other news, CBT is keeping me busy! Today we went into Bani to talk with the Director of Health in the health dept. I couldn’t understand what he was saying- not so much because he was talking in Spanish but more because he was trying to speak in English. He would go back and forth but his English was about as good as my Spanish so the accent was so heavy it was hard to tell what was what. Then when he would tell Katie (another trainee) to translate but then he would understand what she was saying and keep talking very loudly over her in Spanish. So, she would stop and then he would, she would start and then he would… it wasn’t good.

But after the confusing conversation we all were let loose in Bani where we used the internet very briefly and were able to run some errands. After that we went home to eat lunch. Lunch is a long break- 2 hours! It’s so we can share with our families and all that good stuff. My family likes to share outside alllll day in the back. It’s hot here so I like to sleep. These things don’t go well together.

Next I went to my three hour Spanish class and right when I got home went with my sister for my three last house visits. These were not nearly as painful this time, thankfully. I generally try to take a shower before the sun goes down but today wasn’t able to do so. I never know what time the lights are going to go out but I know its coming and I don’t want to be in the shower, mid-song when it happens. So, tonight I brought my loaned flashlight (since mine didn’t make it in the bag here somehow) but the lights went out super late- like 8:30- so I didn’t need the light… this time.

After that its time for dinner (which was an apple and a cheese sandwich) and then Spanish homework, jeesh!! I talked on the phone a bit and then hit the hay. It was just about 9:30 but I have to go to bed early since the sleep I get isn’t quality. The ants crawling on me is something I hope to adjust to so it won’t keep waking me up. I’m glad they’re not the biting kind.

My family has the weirdest solutions for things too. They told me the other day that the 50 mosquito bites I have couldn’t be from their house. They said it’s not from my bed (because I use a mosquitero I’m guessing). I hope they’re not from my bed but when my mosquito net keeps mysteriously putting itself up during the day who knows what gets in there. Anyways, it’s clear to my fam that the mosquitoes are not from inside their house but from the street that the house is like 4 feet from. As with the ants, well I guess it’s because I need to wash my sheets.

I had a small victory today in Bani though. It began a few days ago when my sister got me hooked on some amazing cookies called “Casino” cookies. I asked her when she went shopping if she could get me some and gave her like two days worth of my money to buy some. She went shopping and got all kinds of food- stuff I know was just for me like mac n cheese and a LOT of hotdogs.. a little intimidating- but I didn’t see any cookies. So, I asked if she was able to get the ones I asked for and she said she was. I went on and on about how I was psyched about that so she got up to show them to me and said, “Oh these have a different name…” Hmm, yeah that’s because they’re NOT Casino cookies but I of course politely said: “Why yes they do, they are different cookies.” So, lesson learned: don’t give money for something specific, just get it yourself. I couldn’t ask for the money back, not after she bought other cookies by mistake and the fridge is full of food for me. Oh yeah, another lesson learned: don’t buy food that tastes weird/bad when it’s old from the colomado. Colomados are not good about rotating their products and the Oreos I bought seemingly as a great substitute were a little funky since they expired in January.

It was ok though because this all lead up to my small victory. I went with Randy, another volunteer to a phone store so she could get a prepaid phone and was pleased to be able to help her. We were able to get what we needed and had no problems really. Then I went, all on my own like a big girl, to the store, happily found my cookies, made very small talk with the people in line with me and left with a renewed sense of independence. No joke, I haven’t felt older than 12 since I’ve been here so this was no small thing for me.

That’s all for now. I hope I hear from you guys soon!



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