To star off with, I FINALLY GRADUATED MY WOMEN AS HEALTH PROMOTERS!!!
10 months, a lot of charla prepration, continuous self-motivation and constant teaching - the moment came when these women went from students to being teachers themselves. Our graduation took place on February 9th and all the women brought something for our potluck and everyone brought one or two people. It took place in the backyard of my project partners house with a beautiful view and us all sitting under a mango tree! I gave them each a diploma, a first aid kit fully equipped with certification stickers for the homes they certify on their home visits, a blood pressure machine and stethoscope and a thermometer. It was beautiful and incredibly relaxing to know that Mondays I could now relax.
|Since i don't have pictures - this is what the certificates given look like!|
Typically, I would post pictures - I took A TON BUT I was robbed about two weeks ago and no longer have my iPhone.
The moment it happened - nothing was registering - I was not hurt I just go a burn from trying to hold onto my purse. I NEVER go out with a purse full of anything to go get lunch - I usually take the exact amount of what I need in cash. My favorite Nepalese purse was yanked and I immediately screamed and ran after the moto who drove away quicker than I could even blink. My cell phone, iphone, whole wallet, Larimar rings and sentimental things were all in there. I went back to the PC office with my wonderful friends who accompanied me the whole way and tried to start canceling everything and figure out how I was going to travel for the next two weeks in country without any money (there was a lot of cash in there). Luckily Peace Corps is amazing and made it all a smooth transition.
I went to the police to file a report and I felt like I was in a place where a bunch of bored adults play "house" but instead of playing house they are playing "police station". No one was organized, only a couple people knew how to write and what the procedure for a robbery was. It was in the moment when I remembered the lack of faith and hope that I have for Dominicans living here and trying to better themselves as contributing members to society.
The government and politics here is so corrupt that the wheels of the DR will forever be stuck and will never have traction. It was this day that confirmed all of this for me - it makes me sad for the future of this country and the options of development (or lack thereof) that it has.
The day after this happened I went and gave presentation to the newest group of health volunteers - this was great - to get to know them all but also reminded me of how much I have done with my women - even if sometimes I feel like I havent.
I spent Valentines Day with a group of them eating pizza and drinking beer! It was perfect!
That weekend I went to an Island off the DR called Isla Saona - it was a beautiful surprise for Valentines day and had a blast doing something so touristy - especially after getting robbed.
|a Diet Coke in a Can in DR?!?? so exciting!|
Post tourist trip I headed up to the mountains in the north with my good friend Kate ( a fellow New Englander). I signed up to translate for a group of high school kids who are on their February vacation doing service work - building a clinic in a community near another Peace Corps Volunteer. I was so excited to have such good Quality Tie with my fellow PCV friends too! This expirience proved to be incredibly insightful - I learned how much I have adapted to Dominican culture, simplified living conditions, and general tolerance of constant uncomfortable situations. Everytime a student was complaining or expressing general frustrations I found myself explaining why the culture is this way or that although it is normal to get frustrated because sometimes our American culture doesn't allow us to be uber-flexible with time, or rules, we are working in another country and need to adapt.
This reminded me of how lucky I feel to have the opportunity of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. This is something I think only other PCVs will understand but I have learned that most things in life are just not worth stressing over. That sometimes taking an extra 10 - 15 minutes to just say hi to neighbors and be late for a meeting is worth it. Not having the exact ingredients for a meal you wanted is okay...another day it will happen. Not having service means a couple days of not being able to work or talk to family. Cohabitation with other critters is what we signed up for so that's why when we see one, we no longer freak out. My outfit doesn't match? eh...whatever. We understand that if it doesn't get done today, then we'll do our best to get it done tomorrow and fully accept it. Weren't able to pay rent on time? Send the money with a muchacho tomorrow, or maybe the next day.
This is what life has become for me and I didn't realize how much of it I have adopted into my lifestyle until the past week that I spent with the high school students. It gave me great perspective on where I am at with my service!
Getting back from the week of beautiful mountains, fresh air, good company etc. was hard. The good thing was that I got to the capital, turned right around and headed back north but this time a bit west to a beautiful mountain town named Jarabacoa for a women's conference. It was for new health promotors so I went with two of my women! They loved the conference, said they learned a lot and ate a lot of delicious, free food! It was great to see them participate and share time with other promotors - the hard work in the last 10 weeks has definitely paid off.
All in all this time has been very good in terms of reflection on service ....
Until next time!