|Cards from some of my students|
That line comes from a note one of my students wrote to me. It also included a smiling heart and a flower. My last post was a little on the negative side about my students so I'd like to clarify that they can be really sweet and kind, sometimes they just get a little too rowdy.
This week has been much like the past month, I have been teaching in the morning, and in the afternoon I have been finishing up my interviews for my community diagnostic. I have also been going through the data the last Volunteer collected during her community diagnostic. Community Diagnostic is the term Peace Corps uses to describe the research Volunteers are supposed to perform during their first three months at site. A typical community diagnostic includes interviews, participation in community meetings, and observations in local institutions such as schools. At the end of the three months Volunteers attended a conference and present their findings along with a representative from their community. Everyone discusses the work together and then the Volunteer and community partner plan out their projects for the next year. I have my conference in three weeks.
I've already begun to prepare my presentation so I'll give you all a sneak peak. The following are graphs based off the information collected by the previous Volunteer. She did a survey of 124 houses in the community - by my count there are 145 houses in the community.
Average Income in my community is $6,233 pesos monthly, or $135 US dollars. I make about twice that, and I only have to take care of myself - not four people, which is the average family size here in my community. Luckily, it seems everyone here either works in agriculture or has family who does, so hunger isn't that big of an issue here.
|Monthly Income in my community|
Another positive is housing structures. There are only three houses in my community made entirely out of zinc, and about a third of houses are made out of cement and cinder blocks - nice and sturdy for those pesky tropical storms.
Before I left for the DR, I spoke to my Church's youth group about my decision to join the Peace Corps. We also talked about my potential living situation. When I mentioned that I might have to use a latrine one boy asked why I couldn't just use a port-a-potty. We then had a discussion about the logistical difficulties of giving everyone with a latrine a port-a-potty. Since I have arrived in the DR I have only had to use a latrine during a visit to another Volunteer's site. In my current house I have to walk outside to use the bathroom but it does have a toilet. Since there is no running water here, I do have to bucket flush (pour water in the bowl to manually flush) but it definitely beats a latrine. Anyway, here in my community I am in the minority. The majority of families use latrines, and some do not even have those. Note, the Volunteer before me installed 7 eco-latrines, so the number of people without latrines is inaccurate in this graph. My best guess would be there are three or four families lacking bathroom facilities. Also, for the non-Spanish speakers: Inodoro = toilet, Letrina Individual/Colectivo = Latrine Individual/Shared, No Sanitario = No bathroom.