This week has passed by pretty quickly. We had our usual training activities, I taught a class on how to use clip art (but it was raining that day so only 2 people came and it didn’t exactly go excellently, but it was still good practice), we had Spanish evaluations (I supposedly improved a level but I think it was grade inflation), we talked to our APCD (Associate Peace Corps Director who is in charge of IT) about how we are feeling and what we want in a site (we find out our placements April 16th!), and I got served cow liver which I refused to eat.
On Thursday night we appeared on the local community radio station. The radio is run from the LINCOS center where I did my internship and the guy who teaches the computer classes there works at the radio at night. He invited us on for a sort of “interview with Peace Corps volunteers” and asked us about the Peace Corps, what we like about the DR, what we miss from home, etc. We were on for about an hour and everyone talked, especially John who was the star. I even gave saludos to my family but I only know of one person who listened…oh well.
Saturday was a pretty eventful day. In the morning we went in search of a good place to swim in a river. We had been told there was a place nearby but everyone we asked gave different directions or didn’t know. By asking people every kilometer or so we eventually made it to a random man with army fatigues and giant sunglasses who opened up his private gated road (think, The Land) and we made it down to the river. It was nice but even though the water was moving it wasn’t exactly clear because of all the waste and trash people throw everywhere (trash is a major issue here- people throw it everywhere and often don’t pay for garbage service so it builds up everywhere). Anyways, I was a little wary but it was nice to be next to water nonetheless. At night, we cooked pizzas from scratch which was fun and a nice change from Dominican food. We all hung out, I learned Pinochle (which is awesome), and then later on we went to WOW, the discoteca. When we first arrived it was pretty empty except for a few women who seemed to be “working” on the dance floor with a middle aged man. It was a little uncomfortable but later on more people arrived and the scene improved. The dancing norms/customs are pretty interesting here. If you are seated with a guy, even if there is one guy at a table of 8 women, any man who wants to ask one of the women to dance has to first ask the guy with her for permission. If he doesn’t, it is often considered a sign of disrespect. Also, if a woman invites a man to sit at her table, it means he will sit there all night and that is the only man she will dance with that night. Guys lead you on and off the dance floor by holding your arm and often physically guiding you back to your table. Lots of cultural norms to learn and be aware of. Anyways, it was fun and I’m trying to take advantage of being able to go out at night here because I know once I get back to Santo Domingo I won’t be able to go out after dark.
Today Isaac, the son at my house, turns 9 years old. I bought him some watercolor paints and paper as a present and his mom got him one of those mini pools you put in your yard. They don’t seem to due much to celebrate birthdays- the day is just like a normal one and the kids were playing and watching TV. It makes me a little sad that they don’t do more to celebrate birthdays, but I guess that’s just the way it’s done here.
Anyways, hope you are all doing well and are healthy and happy. I send my love!