Posted by: Lydia | March 19, 2010

un fin de semana manso

I am writing this post from an internet cafe in a small pueblo in the Cibao region, because I am YAY! finally seeing another part of the country than the godforsaken barrios of Santo Domingo on my volunteer visit. The chica I am visiting is a volunteer in a small campo (but not campo campo) in the mountains, within shouting (or at least alpenhorn) distance of Pico Duarte, the highest peak in all of the Carribean.

This visit has included quite a few “firsts” for me; my first major transport alone (I had to take 2 guaguas, 1 big bus, 1 taxi, and 1 motoconcho to get to my visit site); my first motoconcho ride (after you get over the sheer animal terror aspect of hurtling around roads of dubious quality on the back of a bike, it’s actually pretty awesome, and yes mom the Peace Corps requires that we wear helmets); my first bucket bath (my Doña has a real shower in Santo Domingo, que luxorioso!); my first Dominican swimmin’ hole; my first latrine in-country; and my first getting eaten alive by some kind of no-see-um here that you don’t feel when it bites you but later on your legs are covered with itchy welts that require the entire quantity of calamine lotion in your med-kit to soothe.

A word on the PC med kits: they are amazing, especially for an ocassionaly hypochondriac gear-head like me.

Anyways, it is only midday Friday and I still have a lot of the visit left to go, but so far it has been an incredibly welcome change from the capital, where I consistently feel like my lungs are about to fall out of my body and peoples’ idea of an acceptable lullaby is 3 different car alarms competing with each other, all just slightly off key and off beat with each other.

The only drawback about this area is that the Cibaoeño accent is completely unintelligable for me, so I come off as way worse at Spanish than I actually probably am. People are extremely patient here so it didn’t affect my getting here at all, but it does hinder any deep conversation (though last night I got a pretty good synopsis about the goings on of the telenovela Mar de Amor. I highly recommend it).

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. Matteo is visiting another volunteer up near Puerto Plata in the north, and will likely be doing something constructive this weekend (unbeknownst to us, everything is closed today in this town because it is its patron saint’s holiday, so we can’t really do much work-wise). Next week we have our first round of exams in Entrena, and then its off to CBT (community based training) and learning all the key technical stuff, like how to do any kind of agriculture in a subtropical climate.



  1. Sencasional nombre!

  2. Sounds like fun! Thanks for blogging!

  3. I visited my volunteer’s host family’s conuco today, which had papas, platanos, guineos, habichuelas, piñas, papaya, mango, cacao and cafe. All on about an acre or so of hillside. It was very interesting. I also ended up passing by the CEDE training site between Santiago and Puerto Playa – very cool.

    Ditto on the bugs and Cibaoeño accent!

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