When I give someone my cellphone number I have to say it in Spanish, I get the numbers mixed-up if I try and say it in English.
|My rock collecting buddies|
Cruise ships have started to arrive in Samaná. The ships sit out in the bay, and from far off they make it look like new islands have sprouted up. They bring a lot of tourists into town, it changes the whole dynamic of the place. When I see the tourists I am reminded how much I stick out.
In order to get building materials to the library we need to widen the bridge across a huge gutter. Our solution is to fill the gutter, temporarily, with rocks. The process has been going slowly, so this week I went out with some neighborhood boys to collect rocks in wheelbarrows. I am sure I was quite a sight on the side of the road, just doing my best to keep up the notion that Americans are an odd bunch
I am at the point with my Spanish that I understand everything a comedian is saying up until the punchline.
There are mongooses in the D.R. They were brought over from India to get rid of snakes, Dominicans hate snakes, but that didn't work. Now they are dangerous rabies carriers. They have been known to kill small children. You don't want to mess with mongooses.
When I walk Romeo (my dog) people always give us a wide birth because here people only walk their dogs on leashes if they can't be trusted to run around without biting someone.
Even though it is still super hot here it is now starting to get darker earlier in the day. During the summer it got dark around 8pm but by "winter" it will be dark at 6pm. I don't like walking around much when its dark because the street isn't well lit enough to see people on the other side of the road, so I am not pleased with this new development.
|Pato-1 Mosquito Net-0|
I am a minor celebrity in my community. Everyone knows my name and even some people who drive through my community frequently. I do not know everyone's names which makes my notoriety a bit creepy at times. Still, it has its benefits. I am always being given food, and sometimes I am offered rides as I walk along the road. One time I even got to ride in an air-conditioned car, such luxury!
Pato likes to sleep on my bed. This is what happens when he tries to get on my bed when my mosquito net is tucked in.
A few months back I mentioned that there were government plans to bring water to my community and that potentially I could have running water by the new year. Unfortunately, that won't be happening. Turns out that government official who made the announcement was really the ex-governor, and the current governor nor the water ministry know anything about the program. No one in my community has heard anything about the project since it was announced, leaving everyone here a little more jaded about the the government and politicians.
Christmas decorations are up in my community and there are stores in town already selling decorations, even some very sad looking artificial trees.
I enjoyed being in the D.R. while the government was shut-down because I didn't have to hear all the talking-heads, but I wasn't able to avoid it's impact. I am due to receive funding from USAID by the end of the month for my community's library, however, due to the shut-downeverything is backed-up in the government, so I have no idea when I will receive my grant money. In the case of Peace Corps, 90% of U.S. staff were out of work while the government was closed. That means that applications for grants could not be processed, nor could new volunteer paperwork be reviewed, nor could a whole bunch of other Peace Corps programs operate. The effects of the government shut-down are going to be long lasting, hopefully we won't have to go through another one come January.
My medicine to prevent me from catching Malaria, Aralen, tastes horrible so I have taken to eating it with peanut butter. I am reminded every time that my mom uses the same technique to give our dogs medicine, but hey, it gets the job done.