Monday, April 13, 2009

3/27- 4/9

I don't have much time right now (as normal I know) but I read the two comments I had from Lisa and Deb and I wanted to say... YYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY Mary Alice!!!!! That's so exciting!! Could you email me some pics? I'm so happy for her!!!! I wish I could have seen her prego but thats ok, she'll just have to have another one when I'm there! lol. Thanks for the comments, its so nice to know that the blog is being read. As far as packages go, it takes anywhere from 10 days to 4 months to get a package but I think the average is about 6 weeks, so that's not too bad right? Anyways, I hope you all are doing very well and I'll be sure to keep writing!


4/9 Thursday: Semana Santa
Monday marked the start of Semana Santa or Saint Week. Most people go to the beach or a river during this week to celebrate. Last Sunday was called Domingo de Ramos (literally translates as Sunday of Branches) and this Sunday is the Domingo de la Resurreción, which I think you can figure out the meaning of. While there aren’t many people who left for other towns in my town (or came for that matter) a lot of people in other places go to a relative’s house for a mini vacay. My community doesn’t seem very religious at all but even the people who I have never seen go to church are either planning on going on Sunday or went last Sunday. I apparently am going to violate a rule that pretty much everyone follows which is not working from 12 noon on Thursday until Monday. Unfortunately I already told a water PCV that I would go to his site on Saturday to help out with a group of high schoolers who volunteered to help build his aqueduct. The only thing that makes me sad about the whole situation is that I’ll be missing out on an awful lot of habichuela con dulce which is delicious.
I know, saying that I love a dessert made out of beans is weird coming from me, the girl who detested beans when arriving into country. What is this delicious treat you ask? It is a ingenious mix of beans, coconut, crackers and a pumpkin type of veggie thing along with I’m sure a LOT of sugar and cinnamon and whatever else the person cooking wanted to toss into it. It’s delicious. It’s so good that Minga was going to make me a cake for my birthday (as a gift) and I traded it for the bean dish. Nuts I know.

4/7 Tuesday: Drama, Machetes and Bites- OH MY! (say it 3 or 4 times fast…)
Today I became a Dominican I think. I spent two hours with Wandi cutting my yard with a machete. Lots of people do this here but I don’t recommend it. I recommend letting the yard grow out and having bugs and snakes instead. I now have 6 blisters on my right hand, two of which have explotaron and me duelo mucho (aka they popped and they suck). Tomorrow, si Dios quiere we’re going to dig up the dirt in a nice large square for the garden. What fun.

In other news, I know that I should be a good representation of the great USA but a person needs boundaries right? Well, thanks to those boundaries Noel is pissed at me. I’m not sure what all I have written about this and am too lazy to re-read everything again but long story short he was mad at me last week for not switching to his motorcycle when I was already in town with another kid. Then he took me to Navarrete in the morning on Friday when Ernie, Karina and I had to leave. Ernie and Karnia got on the other motorcycle and I got on his. I paid 70 pesos for me and 140 total for the girls. On Sunday when the three of us were leaving Jarabacoa the girls asked me if we could go shopping in Santiago to which I said sure. I sent Noel a text telling him that we would be in Navarrete around 5 more or less and that he should send me a text if that was ok. He had called me earlier twice but my phone was still on silent from the conference and so I didn’t hear the call. I didn’t have any minutes on my phone to call him so I could just text. When the girls and I arrived in Santiago, the stores were closed so we left earlier than I thought. I sent Noel a message saying that we were on our way from Santiago and we called from Karina’s phone but he didn’t answer. When we arrived at the entrance in Navarrete he wasn’t there and I still hadn’t received a text from him. I wasn’t sure if he was still mad at me from before or if his phone had service and he had received the messages so we just got on a motor each and went up. On the way we passed him and he began yelling “It’s not 5 o’clock!”.

Well, I knew he would be mad at me even though any sensible person could see that’s just not right. I found out he was working at the entrance all day so it’s not like he made a special trip for me or anything either. I figured that it was crappy of him to be mad at me either time, last week or now. If he thinks that I’m just peachy with him being unjustly angry with me, making me feel like I should apologize whenever I go with someone else then forget that. I also think that it’s sucky that he has always charged me more when I make sure to always give him business.

When I saw him today we got into an argument. I didn’t intend to get in an argument; I just wanted to stand up for myself without apology. On Friday when he took me down the mountain I apologized for any misunderstanding and he was still pissy with me. This time I thought I would try a different route. I said hello to him and he asked what happened on Sunday. I said, “Yeah, what did happen on Sunday? Why didn’t you answer your phone or text me back?” He said he didn’t have any minutes on his phone. I said he called me twice on Sunday though. He said that I shouldn’t have told him 5 and then showed up at 3:30. Then he said that it was him that looked for me at 6 am on the day that I left (which, by the way it was 7:30) and that he should have been the one to have two passengers not the other guy so he was mad about that. That took me off guard. I told him that I can’t control other people and it’s his job not mine to get people on his bike. If he wanted two passengers he should have said something. Obviously I wasn’t going to pay him for taking two people when he took one person and pay the other dude for one person when he took two. Duh. (although I’m not sure how that translates) To that he told me that he wasn’t going to look for me anymore and I would have to find someone else. Like that’s going to be hard; there are like 10 dudes working at a time at the entrance. I almost said great because it would save me money to go with someone else but instead I just said that was fine with me.

And so, I wasn’t exactly being a representative but I’m glad I’m not being a doormat. I think maybe I could have handled it better but maybe being stern about it will help me. If he only wants to be friends with me to get my money or my cakes when I bake them then good riddance. Although this is a little concerning since now I can’t go with Franklin, Noel or Neno (I can with the other two but I feel weird). Plus I have this little paranoia that once one person doesn’t like me here a bunch of people won’t. Although, who knows? Maybe he’ll get over it.

Another fun story would be Wandi’s little brother, Argeni. I continue to get texts from him and looking back at some of the first texts, they’re a little disturbing. Of course when I read (that’s past tense) the first ones I thought they were a joke from someone so I didn’t think anything of it but now…. Ick! Let me give you an example of these texts:

“Betsi, I would like to tell you that I am very happy (happy written in English even) to, see you, to know you, and to be able to look at those eyes and those lips which are so lovely. I would like to be your friend. Many kisses for you forever, ~Argeni”

Or then there’s this one:

“Although you don’t think Betsi that I love you with all of my heart, I love you like no one else. Although not right now, I would like to give you a kiss. Please think in how I love you. ~ Argeni”

Pretty deep for a 14 year old right? Well, he did just turn 15 on Saturday maybe its not that impressive. I’m not sure how many I have received from him but I’m guessing like 20 or so. I can tell you one thing; I think that Wandi thinks that we are in some type of weird-dating relationship. Last night he even tried to brush my hair! What a weirdo!!! What the heck am I supposed to do with that? Ugh. He’s been staying home from work the last two days (which he has also had off of school) due to a “stomach ache” and today Argeni stayed home due to a “sore arm”. Wonder where they were most of the day? On my porch with me making bracelets.

Ah, bracelets. That’s another short story. Yesterday Ernie wanted to walk to Ann and Tim’s house to learn how to make bracelets since Ann knows how to make really cool ones. I have never made a bracelet in my life. I missed that phase in my teenage years. Was it because I never went to camp? Was it because I was homeschooled in 7th and 8th grade? Who knows? I didn’t know how to make them and Ernie wanted to learn so we can sell them for our Escojo class. So, we walked an hour and a half to Ann and Tim’s house and learned two ways to make bracelets. When we get good at these we’ll walk back again and learn a more complicated way. I’m not sure what we’ll be fundraising for but I guess it’s better to be prepared right?

Well, the power has gone once again so I guess that’s all for this letter today. This may have been a slightly negative letter so I would like to throw something good in there. When I got back from Jarabacoa I noticed that the water in my bathroom doesn’t smell like beach so maybe someone filled it while I was gone! I just hope that they put the lid back on tight so nothing gets in there and dies again. Maybe I should check that…

One more thing back to the negative, I am covered in mosquito bites and these other nasty bites where the bug bites you, leaves a tiny blood spot, and then the exaggeratedly large red spots itch incredibly the next day. All from playing in the “grass” today. So, if it’s cold there and you all are miserable just think: at least you’re not wondering if something has died in your bathing/brushing teeth source, not covered in 50 weird bites that itch a LOT, aren’t getting creepy love letters from the 15 year old next door neighbor, DO have power all the time, don’t have a 17 year old boy trying to brush your hair, don’t have several blisters on one hand from cutting the grass in your yard with a machete and don’t have the great privilege of looking forward to more blister-forming work tomorrow shoveling up the yard which is actually a steep hill. At least I have a toilet (yes I know you do too but at least I have a toilet). Ah, life in the Peace Corps; it’s a beautiful thing.

4/3- 4/5 Friday- Sunday: Escojo Conference Weekend.
This weekend was the weekend of the Escojo Conference in the Ciabo, the region where I live. Let me take a minute to explain what Escojo is exactly first since I don’t think I’ve explained it well enough. It is a “movement” started by a PCV just 5 years ago. It’s a class/course for youth between the ages of 12- 25 that lasts anywhere from 12- 14 weeks generally. A PVC begins the course teaching from a manual created by the PCV who began the course 5 years ago. The manual is modified each year and updated by a committee of PCVs. There are a lot of chapters in the book which are focused on HIV/AIDS/STDs and pregnancy prevention but also have chapters on drugs, alcohol, making healthy decisions, discrimination, gender equality, body parts, abstinence, how to use a condom correctly… ect. There are about 24 chapters in the book and the course should cover at least 12 of the topics. I have the class once a week and it generally lasts for about an hour and a half but I would like to extend that to two hours. The idea is that the PCV has the first course and then graduates whoever met the requirements of the course. After that, if there were outstanding students, the PCV picks a few to help teach the next course. Then the course after that they teach with less help from the PCV. After a little while the student leaders or promoters should be able to teach completely alone. Then they will begin they cycle of picking leaders and teaching them how to teach thus making the project sustainable since the youth themselves will probably leave when they get older. In theory it sounds great but it is a lot of responsibility and a lot of times the course ends up falling through after the PCV leaves. In a perfect world it would work and sometimes it does. PCVs do what they can while they’re here and try to be positive about it.

This weekend I took Karina and Ernie with me to Jarabacoa, the town where we had our training. We were in a center and the kids weren’t allowed to leave so they didn’t get to see the town but there wasn’t time anyways. We began the days with breakfast at 7:30 and had activities until 10 pm at night. We arrived on Friday around 11 am and left Sunday at 1 pm. I am really excited about the whole experience because I feel like my girls were really empowered by it. They’re really enthusiastic and motivated now. One thing that I really love about this course is that the majority of the students really want to learn, there’s just a lack of information which the course helps to pacify. Most of them are sponges for the knowledge. Ernie often sits in my house for hours and pours herself over a book I have which is called Where There is no Doctor (about how to treat things in an extremely simple way for people who live in areas without care).

As you all know, it’s not perfect in my course. There are just a few who are in my course because somehow it became cool to be in my course and they want to be cool I guess. They’re annoying but I’m trying to deal with it. I think that when I switch the place to the Mother’s Club on Saturdays and people have to make an effort to get there it will weed out the slackers, or so I hope.

There is such a lack of education here about sex it’s shocking. A lot of people think that if a girl urinates after sex she won’t get pregnant. They don’t know that the vagina is a separate entity from the urethra so they believe urinating will flush out semen. I asked Ernie and Wandi last week if they thought a woman could get pregnant if she urinated and one said no the other wasn’t sure before saying yes. Wandi and Ernie also told me last week that a teacher was teaching that if a woman uses a towel after a man used it and didn’t clean it first, she’ll get pregnant. I didn’t say anything about it since I didn’t want to devalue the teacher but I will mention things in my class about it and let the kids form their opinions about it after they have proper information.

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was Saturday night when we had a talent show. Two acts that stood out to me among the joke telling, dancing, and singing were when a PCV and her youth sang a song. First the youth went, singing the song in Spanish. Then the PCV sang the same song in English. Then they sang it together, each in their native language. It was such a great example of what we are doing here. We’re mixing with the culture, bringing our own, not changing ours or theirs much but adapting together and learning together. When the two cultures are together, accepting differences and mixing well it can be a great and beautiful thing.

The other thing that I really liked was when a group of about 6 people, 5 youth and 1 PCV did an African dance. The DR is a mix of culture from Spain (the conquistadores) and Africa (the slaves) and as I have mentioned before, the culture here generally wants to “purify” themselves back to the Spaniards and have lighter skin. Seeing that the group knew the dance already (the talent show wasn’t announced until Friday when we arrived) and that they embraced it was really great. It showed me that Escojo really is having an impact on youth and their views and ideas. The dance was so well received that the crowed began to chant that they wanted an encore. The performers got ready to do the tiring dance again and about half of the crowd ran up to the front where we had the “stage” to learn how to do it and participate. It was really great.

During the weekend we played a LOT of games, or dinamicas. I told Ernie and Karina right away that they were going to be in charge of leading a game or two in each of our courses so they should write them all down this weekend. They loved the responsibility of it and I loved that I wouldn’t have to try to learn all these songs in Spanish in two days! Not to mention that now I don’t have to try to be all enthusiastic, looking like a freaking weirdo leading these games. What a relief.

One other great thing about this conference is that I was able to meet the regional coordinators. Every one in a while there is a youth that is outstanding and so is nominated to be a regional coordinator. These youth are invited to give presentations at conferences and when PCVs need help they can call these youth and invite them to go to their communities to give presentations, lead games or just give advice. I think that it was inspirational for my girls to see youth, the same as them, given this responsibility and gave my girls something to shot for. One coordinator that seemed especially good to me is a guy named Wilkin. Lucky for me, although he moved to Santo Domingo recently, he used to live in Altamira- which is about 30 minutes from me. So I asked him if when he is visiting his family if he could let me know and come by to help out. He said he would be more than happy to and that I should call him for anything I need. Sweet.

Last December I wrote a grant for a coordinator who lives close to me. A small problem with sustainability is that when the PCV goes, so does the money and these groups need money. Fundraising can only go so far and it’s hard to motivate people to do as well. So, I was assigned a girl who has a PCV still but her PCV is done with her service later this month. The girl’s name is Maribelis and she’s just 13. She is in charge of her group completely and seems pretty cool. We set up a date that I’m going to take either Karina or Ernie and go to her town to give a presentation in her course. We also tried to set a tentative date when she or one of the two other girls who were with her could come to my community to give one. Maribelis leaves each summer for Santo Domingo to stay with family so we’ll have to work around that. Although I still don’t know if I’ll be having my group meet during the summer since I’ve heard from other PCVs it’s very hard to continue in the summers with so many kids gone. Ernie told me not many people leave La Lomota for the summers though so we’ll see. When Maribelis needs money we’re supposed to meet up and she has to submit a report along with a budget (or receipts if it’s a reimbursement) to me, which I review before giving the money. I hope that this will work out well but we’ll see. Now that I know her, I’m not nervous about talking to her on the phone like I was before. Talking on the phone is Spanish is tough.

So, anyways, that was the weekend. I was sick the whole time with digestive issues and almost had to go to the capital but aside from that it was good. I’m really looking forward to the next conference, Celebrando el Ciabo in August.

4/1 Wednesday: Happy April!!! So much to be happy about!
Happy April Fools Day!! I have been thinking a lot lately and I decided I have a lot going for me here right now. First of all, I have my 4th Escojo class today and I am feeling so much more comfortable with these classes. I also talked to another PCV who lives by me and she’s coming to visit me on the 15th to help me with the body parts class. I talked to Idonnah (the PCVL) about getting an Environmental Manual to help me teach an Environmental class. I think its soooo important and I really love issues with the environment so I’m excited for it. Idonnah suggested I do it in my Escojo class but that class already has a very full schedule. I figure that I’ll have it open to whoever wants to do it (at least 12 years old) and if the people in my Escojo class don’t want to go to two meetings a week (one for Escojo and one for this) they don’t have to.

Then I was thinking about starting an English class soon. There’s been a lot of power today so I was able to look through a CD I have that has a lot of tips for teaching an English class. There is a lot of interest in my community for this or so it seems. These classes cost me money to have, to print things or even to write out stuff on my paper. Because of this, I think I’m going to charge an entrance fee which I think would keep people motivated to go as well.

When I walked to Minga’s today I saw that they are painting the club de Madres building and so I’m going to talk to Idonnah about what types of murals the PC Office has. I need to talk to Mercedes and the Club de Madres as well of course and see if they’re interested. If it’s ok and goes well, I would really like to do one with the community at the school as well.

Another thing I plan on doing is meeting up with Kenzie this month to write a grant together to try and get some computers for the school. I think that it’s really important to have at least a basic knowledge of computers and most people here don’t even know how to turn one on. Depending on how that goes I would really like to find a way to help finish building the library that the school has.

What other projects are there you ask? Well, I could always do nutrition classes (not much of a fan of that though) and I plan on building/planting a garden in my yard as an experiment (also not much of a fan but it could be beneficial). After I learn how to do it a little better I’ll see if there’s interest in the community for it. If so then great. If not, at least there’ll be a garden here for Ernesto and his fam to use.

Yesterday Ernie randomly came over with shovels and said it was time to clean up the yard to make it pretty for when Mom and Rach visit (23 more days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) They then proceeded to weed the entire yard of the grasses and other stuff growing by shoveling the whole thing. Yes, I said shoveling. One person had a machete and was cutting stuff down with it, two people had shovels, and an 8 year old and I were picking up all the trash. Vanji was sweeping my yard. It was a good idea but shoveling the yard like that made it nearly impossible for me to walk through now with it’s current still-damaged from the landslide state. Ernesto told me that they would start working on the wall this week but now he changed it to the week after Easter. I told him I was worried about pushing it off so much since I wanted it to be done before my Mom got here, something that I thought couldn’t be a problem since it was so far off: wrong. He’s not working on it right now since he’s working on someone else’s house now. He told me he would work during Semana Santa which is next week, a week normally reserved for doing absolutely nothing. We’ll see. I guess if it’s done, it’s done and if not then we’ll just have to walk the long way around to get up to my house. I have to pick what things to be stubborn about and this isn’t one of them.

When I got back on Monday, Ernesto told me that a doctor from Navarrete had visited that day and he had talked with her about the trash issue. I guess she has ties with the municipality somehow and she said it wouldn’t be an issue to get trash pick up here once a week. I found out that the garbage pick up only happens about once a month at the school, not each week like I assumed. I have doubts that this doctor will be coming back to the community since that’s the way things work here so I would still like to get a committee started to monitor the trash pick up.

Aside from all the potential projects, I actually have a lot of compromisos this month. It seems like each month (well, except March) I look at it and I’m like, “Dang, where’s the time to do all this stuff?!” I told a water PCV I’d go to his site for three days to help dig trenches and translate to a group of 30 or 40 high schoolers who are going to be here to help build the water system. I don’t know how much vocab I have with water stuff but I guess we’ll find out! I’ve got another trip planned to SD to work on a grant with Kenz, my mom and sister will be here the last week like I mentioned, and I have an Escojo conference to go to this weekend! I wanted to get in on the bola race really bad but I guess it’s for the better since I don’t really have time for it.

I’m beginning to feel a little more enthusiastic about my Escojo class as well, adding my own little touches and trying to make it more game filled. Today’s topic is about making health decisions and recognizing that there are pros and cons to every story. I initially skipped this one since there was a lot of discussion with it and I was intimidated. Now I’m figure I’ll take a stab at it and if I don’t understand what they’re saying I’ll just nod my head and ask the class what they think about that. That’s what I did in the last class and it worked like a charm. Plus when I feel bad about my Spanish I just stop and think: “Hey! I’m actually teaching a class in Spanish for heaven’s sake! I must know something so don’t get discouraged and keep going.” Ah, the ups and downs of the Peace Corps…

3/27- 3/30 Fri- Tues: My time in La Capital
This past weekend was pretty fun. I arrived in Santo Domingo around 12:30 on Friday, just barely missing my opportunity for a free lunch with Romeo. But I was lucky in the sense that I actually caught my bola with Tolo down the mountain in the morning. He told me to be ready to go by 8 or 8:30 and he “showed up” at my house at 7:30. I was brushing my teeth when I heard a car honking. I went outside to see if it was just someone driving by or it if was Tolo and there was no one there. This is because he honked as he drove past, obviously thinking that I would know that it was him. Despite the fact that I have only had one experience with him where he was early or on time (the last time I was going to get a bola with him), the fact that people drive honking their horns all the time here and the fact that he didn’t even honk and then stick around, I had a scary feeling that it was Tolo who was honking for me and then left without me. I hurried and very soon after the honk Marvey showed up at my door telling me that I had to get to Minga’s. When I showed up, about 10 minutes after the honking, Tolo told me “Oh, you sure like to sleep a lot. You sleep a ton. I went to your house looking for you and you were sleeping.” First of all, no I did not get completely ready and walk to his house from a sleeping state in just 10 minutes and second of all, I explained, that when a person goes to bed 3 or 4 hours after someone and they wake up an hour after them, the person is actually getting less sleep. I don’t think he got it. Ah well, at least I got a free ride.

My first day in the capitol was spent the same as every first day there; on the internet catching up on a month’s worth of stuff. Friday night I did absolutely nothing after the office closed at 8. I was tired. I felt lame. I get out of my site for the first time in a month and I all I do is go to bed! This is what age does to a person…

Saturday Jess, Kenzie and I left for Baní. I guess we were supposed to get there by 11:30 but we missed that memo. There was a Mini Vac meeting we wanted to go to (if you get to them then you get 550 pesos reimbursed to you someday (still waiting on mine from mid Feb) plus transportation costs if it’s in your region) and to make it better; the Mini Vac was on the beach! We took what we thought was the bus to Baní, and it was, but it wasn’t an Express bus so it stopped… a lot. All kinds of vendors got on the bus here and there trying to sell things from sunglasses to apples to pizza. I bought an apple, my first one in country. What was supposed to be just over an hour ride took 2 ½ hours. We arrived to Randi’s house and then all headed off for the beach Palma de Ocoa. We went to this one in CBT and it’s really pretty. After ordering some food and waiting an hour and a half for it we had the meeting with the other PCVs and headed back to Randi’s site. There was to be a beauty pageant at the local discoteca that night so we were pumped to be able to get out and dance.

As a little side note, Randi’s house is very large. It’s got TWO bathrooms (with toilet), a latrine and a kitchen SINK!!!! I couldn’t believe it had a sink, that’s luxury right there. We all got ready and headed over to the discotec around 9:30, which I thought was pretty late since in my community things are winding down or down by that time. I was already being a fun sponge before we left, being the only one laying on the bed half awake while the others split a drink. To our surprise, the pageant didn’t start until 11:30 at night! We left before it was over since we’re all lame-o PCVs and are used to going to bed by 11 or earlier. On the way we stopped and bought some jimmies or street burgers. Being a former food inspector I knew that I should not eat a burger from this place but having eaten one before and being hungry I thought I would take my chances. We all indulged in once very delicious, small burger (I had a burger and slit a hot dog) and the next day Randi and Kenzie were both really sick. 2 out of 7 people isn’t so bad though right?

We were going to visit the host fams from CBT on Sunday but with two of the 5 health PCVs there at the time being sick we decided not to. We were also going to stop in Baní for their Carnaval but didn’t since Jess wanted to get back to her site and Kenz wasn’t feeling so hot. I was pretty dang proud of myself because I single-handedly flagged down a bola for Danny, Jess, Kenz and I to Baní from Randi’s site, saving us each a whopping 25 pesos. It was the first time I actually caught a real bola.

When we got in Baní we walked around looking for the bus stop from the random side street where our bola let us off. When a bus came up it wasn’t an Express but the Cobrador was so dang pushy and then I swear there’s always somehow a random person on the street that is pushy too, so we ended up taking another stupid bus that wasn’t an Express. Luckily it was Sunday so not as many people were traveling and it didn’t take as long to get to SD.

On the way to SD we passed a pretty bad car wreck. People on the bus were yelling that there were kids involved. It must have just happened because there were limp bodies in both of the cars and the people who were awake were still in the cars, just staring off into space. Not a good situation but amazingly only the 2nd or 3rd accident I’ve seen here.

About 5 minutes after the car wreck, our bus had to deal with more drama: Kenzie. She had her head out of the window and was throwing up. There were some dudes sitting behind her who were trying to help. When she began to throw up they were yelling at the one sitting closest to her to do something so the one jumped up and began patting her head while it was hanging out of the window. I was going to tell him not to but then I thought, “Well, I don’t know- maybe she likes it…” she didn’t. Then they were yelling at the bus driver to “give her air” since the bus driver was pissy the window was open and had shut the air conditioner off. The Cobrador had told her earlier to shut the window but she said she was about to vomit. He had a worried/sickened expression and kind of backed away without saying anything. When she did throw up the Cobrador suspected so but to be sure he opened the door of the bus and hung out to the side for a better view. Yep, there was vomit alright.

By the time we got to SD, Kenz was feeling much better. We spent the rest of the evening at the office, working on things we needed for some projects, and then headed off to the Pen. While I was at the office I overheard one PCV, Todd, offering another PCV a bola back to Santiago. The second PCV couldn’t take it so I asked if I could. Todd said sure and that we would be leaving sometime after lunch the next day. Sweet.

The next day, Monday, I went to the office when it opened since I was trying to get a different cell phone and that can take a while. Mine has developed a new problem where people can’t understand what I’m saying now on top of the fact that it hangs up on people all the time. The guy at the front desk told me that I would have to give him at least 3 days to get a new phone. Great, so much for that. Guess it’ll have to do until May when I’m in SD for like 10 days due to language training and some other stuff.

While in the office, I made some SDI (Sexually Transmitted INFECTION- that’s right, they’re not called DISEASES anymore people)- or ITSs as they’re called here- slides for my Escojo class and I had to get them printed and laminated. They took forever to make thanks to PC’s security internet blocks. I wanted graphic stuff to show these kids! I know it’s contradictory since I’m embarrassed to talk about freaking body parts with the kids but for some reason I’ve never been shy with STIs. Hey that could be a song!:

“Don’t be shy,
Check that STI!”

What do you think? Anyways, I took my flash drive to a print/copy store which I discovered to be really busy. It was pretty funny when my power point popped up on the computer screen of the guy helping me: BAM! A big picture of a woman’s vagina covered in huge, red warts/sores. Right away about 4 other people crowed around to look as the man scrolled through the images. As they walked away I heard one girl say to another, “Ya tú sabes…” (now you know). I noticed when the other man was laminating them there were two other guys standing there silently staring. It was hilarious. Expensive too. I hope those slides last for a loooooong time.

I was lucky enough to catch a free lunch with Romeo and some other PCVs around 12. Pretty soon after I sat down with my food Todd called me and told me the bola called and it was on its way meaning it could be there in 10 to 30 minutes. Yikes! I wolfed my food, said thank you and power walked back to the office from the restaurant. The rest of the afternoon the bola kept calling and saying he would be there in 20 minutes but he really showed up at 3:30- over 3 hours after he first called. I wasn’t complaining though, this bola was saving me 255 pesos! I ended up being dropped off even closer than Santiago; they dropped me off in Navarrete! I caught a motor that tried to overcharge me 10 pesos and then was relieved to find motores at the entrance of my street still. It had gotten pretty late since we stopped at a sweets store so I was worried no on would be there. I tried texting Noel but didn’t get a hold of him. I made it up to my house before dark and the whole thing only cost me 90 pesos! What a deal! I got a ton of freebies this time around:)

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