Welp, I can officially say that I’ve been to a cockfight. My friend Wandy brought me along to one on Saturday, as it happens to be one of his favorite pastimes. If it weren’t for baseball, cockfighting could probably be considered the national sport of the Dominican Republic – it’s an integral part of the culture, and there’s even a National Federation! A fight consists of two roosters, each of which has plastic spurs glued to their legs, and lasts up to 15 minutes in length, or until one is severely injured/killed by the other. Having always been a huge animal lover, I think the three fights that we watched satisfied my cockfight-viewing quota. Overall, it’s a very loud and rambunctious atmosphere. I am happy I went – it was an important cultural event to experience, but given that I was one of three women present and two roosters left blinded, I’m not sure it’s something I’ll be craving to witness again soon.
I went to the beach on Monday! I joined up with my project partner, Ronny, and a group of people from his church who were taking a paseo to San Rafael, a beautiful but rocky beach about an hour south of Pescadería. We arrived around 10am, and stayed until almost 7pm – everyone brought loads of food to share, and it was a great day spending time getting to know people. The water was warm, strong, and SO blue. We played baseball, swam and surfed in the ocean, and rinsed off in the fresh water pools. The water from the arroyos comes from an almost crystalline river that collects into manmade pools/waterfalls, and then runs right into the ocean. Freezing cold, but very refreshing.
The County Director of Peace Corps, Arthur Flanagan, visited my site today! It’s a routine visit to make sure that we’re safe, behaving ourselves, and that there’s actually work for us to do. Ronny and I showed him around the town, then brought him to La Cabrita. He got to try the cheese and yogurt, and was very impressed.
I’m very lucky to not only have been placed in such a welcoming community, but also to have the opportunity to work with such a cool project. Though there are still improvements to be made (organizational, marketing, and accounting skills for example), they have a solid two and a half years under their belts. Multiple national and international organizations have and will continue to support them, especially now that they’re producing a steadier quantity of their yummy products. Wish I could share samples via Internet!
P.S. La Cabrita is in fact looking to expand the number of French Alpine goats they have, so if you know anyone with some extras lying around, send them our way 🙂