We live next to the beach.

Hi All,

It’s been quite some time since we’ve written. I’ll bring you up to speed quickly.

First, we finished our community based training in Monte Plata. Between the 19 of us, we worked in 5 different schools.
Here’s what we did:
-Gave three presentations in Spanish, one a quick community diagnostic, the second to teachers about classroom management, and another about a literacy activity for a fair (more on this in a bit).
-Worked with kids in a school, helping teach the alphabet and other strategies for reading and writing.
-Completed an “Improving Schools Community” Project where we painted some murals at the school where we were working.
-Put on a literacy fair for community kids. Between the 19 volunteers we had 8 stations set up and had about 500 kids show up in about a two hour time frame.
-Learned about education in the DR (ranked roughly 130 out of 132 countries… which is why we are here), classroom management, teaching literacy, working with teachers/parents, etc.
-Had 3 hours of Spanish everyday.

CBT Training ended last Saturday and we all headed back to the capital. On Monday we were given our site placements. Keegan and I will be living outside of a community named Sosua, Puerto Plata. Our community has roughly 10,000 people, and only one primary school. The community is relatively new (20 years) and was started as public housing… it’s kind of like the projects of Sosua (but very safe, don’t worry). Sosua is a tourist spot, but if you come visit us in this part of the country we’d suggest heading to Puerto Plata or Cabarete instead.

Our job assignment is to work on literacy in the public school with 1st-4th graders. We will also be partnering with the DREAM Project (dominicandream.org), a non-profit organization based out of Cabarete. Part of our jobs will be helping train teachers in the community. We have an amazing opportunity to not only be working with the Peace Corps, but gaining experience from those at DREAM as well.

We got to our community on Tuesday, and have been hanging out and getting to know the place. We’ve been making many rounds through the community so people start to see us and recognize us. Pretty soon people will notice that we’ve been here for a while and start asking who we are and what we’re doing. This is how it all starts for us.

We head back to the capital on Sunday and swear in as REAL volunteers on Wednesday, the 15th. That means that we get bank accounts and start actually earning money. =] It has been a long road of training, but we are excited to get situated in our community and start working (did I mention the beach is only a kilometer away??).

We miss you all like crazy, and will try to keep you all updated as best as we can. We are pretty busy and have a job that we need to do well, though, before writing blog posts. Always feel free to email us. We have consistent internet now (and hot, running water!!!) so email will be a great way to stay in contact. If you would like our phone numbers, email us! Or just come visit. =]

Other fun facts:
We eat rice everyday.
We’ve gotten 4 packages so far (Thanks J&J, mom&dad, T&K, H&D).
We’ve tried probably at least 10 new fruits.
Everyday has been 80 degrees or warmer.
One person in our training group has already gotten Dengue.
We’ve both lost weight, but our new host mom is determined that I gain ten pounds and Keegan gain twenty by the time we move out in August.
Mangos and Avocados are wayyyy better here.
We’re entering the rainy season, which means every afternoon we get an hour or two of rain.
We’ve started reading the local newspaper to work on our Spanish.
We drink freshly squeezed juice everyday (lime, cherry, tamarind, guayaba, mango, papaya, etc.).
We now run almost everyday.

Love you all. Let us know if you have any questions!
Cait

P.S. Check out the new link “We Could Use…” if you feel like sending us some goodies!

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Me at the literacy fair, before the rush of kids.
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Keegan doing what he does best: magic.
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Me helping paint at the school.

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Yay! We graduated from CBT!

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