Tag Archives: guayabana

…and we’re live!

12 May

Once again, from my cozy-little-WiFi-equiped-Santo-Domingo room, greetings!  Back from my site visit, and already anticipating Wednesday, our Swearing-In Ceremony where we’ll become real, live Peace Corps Volunteers 🙂

on the way to Pescadería

On the way to Pescadería

As I said in my last post, I’ve been assigned to serve in a town called Pescadería.  My two community contacts, Ronny and Nibia, came to meet me at the Pantoja training center on Tuesday to show me how to get to my site (and to help with all my bags!)  Pescadería is about 3 hours from the capital, a pretty seamless trip.  My new host mom, Eufemia, met us at the bus stop.  Driving into ‘town’ was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating.  “…This is my new home!  But, what if I don’t like it here?  So this is where I’m going to spend the next two years of my life…What if they don’t like me?  Oooh, cute house!  What if I can’t accomplish our goals?…”

The students also gave me this Guayabana fruit when I arrived!

A welcome present from the students – Guayabana fruit!

My nerves were calmed however when I looked ahead.  At the end of the street, at least a hundred students had gathered with a sign saying bienvenida a nuestra comunidad.  Eufemia, being the principal of the town’s school, had clearly pulled some strings and organized a very heart-warming welcome just for me!

My new house is nicer than I had expected, I even have running water!  Despite it being cold, it’s a luxury.  First real shower in two months!  However, I now feel guilty if I leave the water running for too long while I’m washing my hair.  A toilet that actually flushes is never a bad thing though.  Anyway,  Eufemia and her husband Reyes are very nice, are great cooks, and are super religions.  In fact, as Seventh Day Adventists, they are not allowed to drink alcohol or coffee, eat shellfish or pork, use fingernail polish, or even dance (which, for living in such a loud and lively country, seems almost tortuous).

new digs

new digs

In terms of my project, I still have lots to learn and see, but La Cabrita seems really cool!  It was started, and is still heavily supported financially by, La Fundación Central Barahona.  The Fundación is a branch of the Consorcio Azucarero Central, a Guatemalan company that owns a large portion of the sugar plantations and processing facilities in the Dominican Republic.  Given its wealth and power, the government required that the Consorcio help the zona cañera to develop economically.  Thus, the Fundación was created – to start and aid various projects in communities around Barahona.

On the air :)

On the air 🙂

La Cabrita has about 60 French Alpine goats, 15 or so of which are producing milk.  They started making cheese and yogurt just weeks before I got here, but regardless, it’s tasty.  There’s 11 members that work on the project, and though I haven’t met all of them quite yet, I can tell that it’s a very dedicated and motivated group of people.

Another project that the Fundación supports is a radio station, and guess who was invited on air for an interview!?  This girl right here.  I was joined by my friend Kaley, who lives 15 minutes from me and is working on a Tilapia project also supported by the Fundación.  We spoke about why we chose to join the Peace Corps, our backgrounds, what projects we’re going to work on, and so on.  Like most of what’s going on in my life right now, it was nerve-wracking, but it was pretty darn cool.

Traffic outside my house...

Traffic outside my house…

I spent most of the weekend walking around town with various ladies that have taken me under their wing.  I consider myself an outgoing and friendly person, but putting yourself out there can be tough!  Especially if you’re not 100% on the language or cultural norms (nothing too embarrassing yet, but I’m sure I’ll have a story or two to share one day).  My community seems to have received a fair amount of both national and international aid, so seeing a volunteer isn’t out of the ordinary.  But, explaining to them why I’m there for two years by myself, when people of my age in Dominican culture are normally married with at least two kids, is a bit more difficult.  Pasitos.  Overall, everyone has been welcoming, understanding, and interested.  Now if I could just remember everyone’s names…

This is what happens when you win a bet with a Dominican...

This is what happens when you win a bet with a Dominican…