happy birthday mindles!

14 Apr

We´ve been in the DR for almost a month and a half now, and this weekend is the first time I´ve been sick.  I´m not dying, but having a fever on a 90 degree day is just as fun as it sounds.  Though I hadn´t tried it in the States, the Mio I brought with me sure has made the rehydrations salts taste a bit more bearable.  Here,  Vicks Vapor Rub is a cure-all.  Have a bug bite?  Headache?  Stomachache?  Sore throat?  Just rub some ´mentol´ on where you happen to be hurting and you´ll feel better.  My host mom has been very helpful in trying to make me comfortable, but nothing´s the same as being cared for by your own mommy 🙂  HAPPY BIRTHDAY – love and miss you tons.

The past week we presented our group community diagnostic project in Spanish.  It went really smoothly, and it was a great way to get to familiarize ourselves with various aspects of Peralvillo, and also tools that we´ll need once in-site.  On Thursday, we invited our doñas and other ladies from the neighborhood to the training center for a charla on Somos Mujeres.  The Somos Mujeres (We Are Women) is an iniciative specific to the CED sector, started by PCVs, that focuses on financial management, income generation, and entrepreneurship for women.  Two volunteers conducted a very well-received presentation on how to manage a libro diario (record of incoming and outgoing money), and how to make Mistolin (a household cleaning product that the women will be able to make at home then sell to generate income).  On Friday, another trainee and I gave a presentation on customer service and quality control, and how they differ between the US and the DR.  All trainees have to give one of these presentations, primarily to inform other trainees, but also to practice a 4MAT lesson plan (motivation, information, practice, application), which we´ll use when we´re in-site and giving charlas by ourselves to members of our future community.

We´ve been going pretty non-stop since we´ve been here, but we´ve still found time for fun stuff.  To start, I had my first dance lesson!  Two other girls that live close by, Lauren and Samantha, came over to my house last Tuesday.  We drank vino de cacao while various neighbors and family members taught us basic steps of la bachata and el merengue.  There´s also another dance called la chapa, or more literally, the butt shake, maybe?  For this dance, my oldest teacher was a 14-year-old.  I did my best, but my body is just not able to move in this particular way.  Youtube it.  Anyway, it was quite the neighborhood spectacle, but we got a lot of ´cred for putting ourselves out there and demonstrating that we were interested in the local culture.

We´ve been playing lots of estop, known in the US as Scattegories.  Sometimes we play in Spanish class, lately I´ve been playing with some of the neighborhood kids.  We played quite a bit while we were living in the city, along with Scrabble, Bananagrams, and Taboo.  A previous training group had designed cards for the Taboo game in Spanish, so we thought it´d be a cool idea to leave something for future trainees.  We´re making Apples to Apples!  But in Spanish, and DR specific, so we´ve dubbed it Mangos a Mangos.  We´re in the process of making ´noun´cards and ´adjective´ cards, and hopefully we finish soon so we can test run it.

Been painting my nails a lot lately, it´s a good way to bond with my sister and pass the evenings.  It´s pretty convenient too because, as it turns out, I have a cotton tree in my backyard!  What doesn´t grow here?

That´s pretty much it as of now.  Hoping to find WiFi soon to be able to post photos, or maybe even a video of my new, stellar dance moves, but might have to wait till I get back to the city.  Certainly enjoying life here more than the capital, but there are parts of living in a small town that are inevitable, like chisme.  Rumors here spread like wildfire.  Everyone knows that the americanos are here, so any bit of information is taken and run away with.  I tried to explain to my family the quote ´take everything with a grain of salt´, but it didn´t translate very smoothly.  We walk to and from the community center at least twice a day, and we´re always a spectacle.  They can´t quite figure out what to do with us – Sam describes it as if they can´t figure out if we´re famous people or wild animals, maybe both.  Oh well, life in the campo…

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