JugoYa! is my favorite commercial here in the Dominican Republic. That is really all I have to say about that. I will find a youtube link later and post it for your viewing pleasure, and many of you will be like, “I totally get it”, and watch the video 10 times in a row trying to figure out why you hate and love the overly excited woman with the blond curly hair. The rest of you will be like “what the f$@# is he talking about.” Anyway, here we are, smack dab in the middle of the urban sprawl of Santo Domingo. We just returned this weekend from a volunteer visit, where we stayed in a batey with another education volunteer. A batey ( BAH-TAY-EE) is a sugar plantation, either currently functional or long since shut down, populated largely by Haitian migrant workers or their heirs. Often times it is difficult for Haitian Dominicans or Haitian migrants to get a passport, legal papers, therefore legal residency and or any type of propelling education. I will post more about this later when I have more experience/ understand the process better.
Our trip went well, I have mounds of respect for the volunteer we visited, who held an open door policy with the kids of the community who now have access to his small but potent library and who also have access to their own private teacher whenever they feel like their 2.5 hours of school a day is not quite cutting it. I was floored when I saw two 6 year olds set up a chess board and start playing together. They made less than accurate moves as they sat snickering on the floor with their pieces, but they did have the L shape move of the “burro” down pat. It was a good to see what life might be like after we regain our adulthood, begin cooking for ourselves, do our own laundry, and stay out past curfew 🙂 I kid! I kid.. In our home stay, we are living with a very wonderful woman who reminds me of a perfect mixture of my grandmothers back home. And for those who know me, I truly am a grandmas boy, and I come home and give her a sloppy kiss on the cheek every day. It helps a lot having a strong cultural knowledge base and a safe haven to creep back too after being in the city and/or pummeled with new Spanish vocabulary and Peace Corps training concepts all day. This woman will truly be missed by Caitlin and myself when we leave next week for the campo (country) to start our technical skills training and resume a regimented 3 hour a day Spanish class for 5 weeks. Although we have a small language barrier, which gets smaller everyday, I feel like I have known her for a long time and we understand each other perfectly. Also, she is keeping our belts tight and my undies clean:) It is culturally inappropriate for anyone to wash another woman’s undergarments, so Cait has gotten good at hand washing her delicates while she showers.
Well, I have lost my steam now, and am going to leave you with this. I have snuck the name of three candy bars into my blog, and the first person to find all three will receive a snail mail package from Caitlin and I! So have at it you virtual voyeurs, and I hope to have some more experiences worthy of posting on the internet again sometime soon!
Also google 1st semester Spanish love song.