My first week in the Dominican Republic has been nothing like I have expected, where I have entered a new realm of living. I am no longer in the sheltered and luxurious world of Boston, but in Batey 8, a place where clean water is scarce, farm animals roam free and where the people very willing to help. This world is still very new and fresh to me, and is captivating in the oddest ways. The unity of the community, the natural beauty and their desire to progress are all great characteristics that create this batey. Of course, we are here because there are obstacles that confront the people who live here, ones in which halt this community from becoming prosperous. Personally, I have not become homesick, and rarely think about returning home because I wish to squeeze all that I can out of this experience. It has been difficult to adapt myself to my surroundings because it is so very different compared to the United States. The way people interact with each other, the language they speak, bathing methods, lack of technology and the new climate have taken a toll on me. It is overwhelming to get used to, but amazing. I cant wait to continue this adventure.
Archive for July 15th, 2012
This week went by very fast with planning our trip, internships, English classes and art classes. So far nothing new has happened. Though, tomorrow, it will probably happen. A new member of our group is going to arrive and I a one of the only ones that doesn’t know her. Right now my biggest concern is getting to know the new member and if I will be able to as open with her as I am with the rest of the group. Asside from that, everything is fine. I just recently discovered that I have two sisters not one. I am still in the process of learning exactly who my family is. Im guessing that it’s a very big family by the way my sister speaks about it. On Monday I will begin working with the goats. My “mother” is the leader of the project. Its one of the biggest and most successful projects in the community and its lead all by women. It demonstrates women taking a stance in the community. My role in the project is taking the goats out to relive themselves and feed them. Its going to be fun.
It has been a great and unforgettable experience so far during my first week in Batey 8. My host family is the best in the entire batey. My mom gives me too much food that I even have to leave half of it every time I eat. My siblings and friends are awesome. After the meeting reflections at night, we would sit and chill out, talk, laugh and play games. Every noon we play “bitilla.” It’s a Dominican game which is played with two or more people and with a stick used as a baseball bat. And several caps from botellones used as baseballs. We also went to see a soccer game in Batey 7 between our Batey (8) and Batey 7 (Neither team won). Also, I played dominoes with my siblings and friends (I won multiple times). Also, my siblings and friends are teaching me a little of Creole and I’m teaching them English.
Our 2nd week was really great. We did many things like “ internship, workshop in another Batey name’s “ Cuchilla “ . For me the week was little bit bad because I was sick and I went to the hospital but now I’m feeling great and I’m also ready to work with the Group to make our project complete and those for the community. We just made a project about making some class like “English class, Spanish class and also an Art class”. I really spend a great week with the GP group and the community also.
Day 2 in batey 8. Today was a fantastic day! I woke at 8:00am. Brushed my teeth. Ate breakfast (two cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate). Then had a meeting about our experience so far and what we think about the community. And a health advisory discussion led by Frank. Then had a break. Watched a TV with my host siblings. Ate lunch (arroz con arenque). Then went to bed and tried to sleep, but I couldn’t do so because of the hot weather. Then attented to another meeting. This one was about mapping the community. Then went to each student houses to know their host family. Then went to “El Play” and played soccer and baseball (I hit a couples of hits). Then it started raining and ran to my house. Spent about 25minutes talking to one of my host siblings, Dionis. I asked him about his life and what he usually does in a school day and how he spends his time over the summer. Then took a shower and ate dinner (pure de papa con queso frito/ mass potatoes with fried cheese). Then had our reflection meeting at 8:00pm. Talked a lot and finished it with our New York GP closing activity.
Batey ocho is great. I have the greatest family compared to the other kids. But there are still some things that bother me. In the first day I know that not everyone is new and is not comfortable. Even the people of the batey need some time to get used to the “Americanos” but after a while it gets kind of weird. I just wanted to share with you the weirdest experience of my life. I was waiting in front of my house for one of the gp meetings to start when I noticed a boy walking in my direction. He seemed to be day dreeming and not paying attention to anything. I guess that he noticed he was about to hit something so he stopped. And he stopped for a while. His mouth was open and he was slowly scratching his head. I stared at this staggering boy who was also starring at me until he seemed to regain conscience and continued walking but still staring at me. Iejust wanted to share with you one of my weirdest experience. Everything else is great. I fell while playing soccer and now I cant wait for our trip
I was afraid to leave my house its not like I never traveled before but never out of the country before never this long I have been away from my house and now I’m not that worried I love my new Family they are so nice and all the community members to they love new people and they love to feed you a lot as well which I really don’t mind.
When I left my house I was crying because my parents made me cried because they told me “ Mick I will miss u so Much “, now I feel great because I live with a family that make me feel like I’m in my real family and GP make me feel like the same. I’m very excited to see how a family who I don’t even know and then don’t know me either took care of me like I was in my own family.
In the DR Batey 8 has been very welcoming to us. Members of the community are very interested in learning about us Americans as we are very excited about learning and studying their culture. For some reason I was very shocked to learn that NOBODY speaks English. Although it can be a challenge communicating with people it’s really fun because I can’t speak Spanish however, they want to learn English so we help each other out. Children from the Batey attend all of our meetings and just sit and observe which is interesting because they can’t understand what were saying but they still come. Instead of isolating GP from the community members of Batey 8 are very interactive with us. Sometimes we are called “Americanos”, I take it as them being funny and recognizing us instead of them trying to be rude or disrespectful.
GP has developed a beautiful relationship with Batey 8. The community leaders welcomed us with open arms. I did not expect this because I am not a Spanish speaker…yet. My host family includes two lovely sisters and a very caring mother. They all have made efforts to make conversation with me using English. We decided right away that we would help each other with our language learning. I have had some exciting and dreadfully awkward experiences, and it is only the 3rd day! Just yesterday I was asking my sister for help around the latrine and then I noticed a swarm of fire ants swarming up my leg! It burned so bad! My sister poured water all over the latrine floor and my feet. When they all had been washed away, I faced the fact that I had to go into the latrine and take a bucket shower. Luckily, bucket showers rock! As I was bucket showering I heard voices, and I realized my reaction created quite a crowd. Though this was a little embarrassing, I found it to be comforting, the way my sister was helping, and the way the community embraces the good and bad of nature. I don’t experience this enough in NYC. I can actually say I had a positive experience being attacked by fire ants.