Posted by: Lydia | September 8, 2010

This post is a sancocho of photos from the past week. As you can see, nary a dull moment here on la linea.

This supremely meta moment happened on the way down to a game in Dajabon this past weekend. We were riding in the back of a Daihatsu (a red one, unfortunately, therefore lessening the magical meta-ness a bit) with our town’s softball team when we passed this jolly truck-full of musicians. I am fairly certain that musicians are only permitted to travel in the beds of Daihatsus here in this country, since I’ve never seen musical troupes on any other kind of conveyance.

I hope that the Dominican taking a picture of me taking a picture of him also has a blog and is also expounding on the deep(?) implications of strangers of different nationalities capturing one another on camera for all the interwebs to ponder over.

Doñas getting rowdy at the game. My former host mom Nelis (pronounced Nelly) is the one wearing a white shirt and jeans with her back turned to the camera, talking trash at the announcer.

One of our local ladies making years of eating nothing but simple sugars look good with the opposing team’s coach. If you can dance like she can, you deserve to wear skintight white pants regardless of your size.

Our pitcher was terrible that night. I don’t know why our regular guy wasn’t pitching, but I’m pretty sure this hombre lost two games for us.

The next day our Brigada Verde started on our public trash cans project… my first real project as a PCV that I will see through its entire life cycle (yay for quick and easy grants!).

Linguistic note: the Dominican word for trash can, zafacon, comes from the American military word “safe can.” Dominicans also call mops suapes, another holdover from the American military presence on this island.

Anyway, to make our safecans we used old oil tanks, of which we had to remove the welded-on tops ourselves. My intrepid jovenes managed to do this with a combination of machetes, axes, and finally (and most successfully) the back of a hammer. This is one of the primary reasons I much prefer youth work in the developing world to back home; no worries about liability.

Chulito (his nickname, real name Emmanuel) shows us how it’s done, with blinding efficiency. He de-topped three cans in several minutes using only a hammer. This process was incredibly loud. It sounded like the entire cast of STOMP! on an amphetamine binge.

Putting on the base layer.

This Sunday we are going to decorate the cans with a variety of environmental slogans in Spanish and Kreyol. Even though my kids routinely show up half an hour late to meetings, they always do a thorough job with an incredible attention to detail. They insisted on coming back that evening to give the cans a second coat even after we had already painted all morning in the blazing August heat. Now if I could only get them to read for fun…..

Another one of the best things about the DR is that you really have to try to go hungry as a guest in the country. That same day Matt and I scored not one, but three free meals just by being outside our house at the right times of the day. One of the meals was the delicious national beef-and-viveres soup, sancocho. The whole family (or community) gets together and makes this soup in gigantic pots, and passes out steaming bowls (or halves of styrofoam containers) to passers-by.

Maria our neighbor makes the best I’ve tried.

My host dad, taking his sancocho seriously.

Neighbors playing Dominos, and Andy making a ridiculous face.

Eating vegan, but not by choice. I arrived too late at the chicken shack that afternoon. Alas, I did not get to have chicken so fresh that it is still warm by the time I get it in the pan. The last time I made chicken it was five minutes from slitting the chicken’s neck to frying in szechuan peppercorns. My neighbor is a very efficient chicken dispatcher and dismemberer. So, in lieu of a chicken locrio I made auyama with peppers, tomatoes, and rice cooked in cocoanut milk with the toasted auyama seeds on top. Auyama is so cheap it’s practically free, and in less than six months I will have some of my own in my backyard provided the crickets don’t kill all of the young plants.



  1. Thanks for the nice pictures and blog! It really helps to get a feel for life in the Dominican Republic.

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