Posted by: Lydia | November 4, 2010

La Vida Surrealista

So, as many of you probably know, hurricane/tropical storm Tomas (Thomas?) has all us region 3 volunteers holed up in an extremely nice (by PCV standards.. meaning it has hot water and I can eat in bed without it turning into a hive in five minutes) hotel in the middle of the country to wait out the storm. So far we’ve had scattered showers with mostly sunny skies, so it’s been an exercise in patience and self control as we try to amuse ourselves without spending all of our meager monthly salary. I’ve been doing pretty badly so far.. I purchased a pair of jeggings and sparkly taupe pants and a lace-front shirt cut down to my navel so that I can fit in better in my campo. No, I am not being facetious, that’s really how people dress here and the Peace Corps packing guidelines did NOT make that very evident, so I came with all the wrong clothing and am gradually making up for it using the Peace Corps office’s free box and money I should be saving for something better like food.

At any rate, this week has been an excellent example of how bizarre a PCV’s live truly can be, particularly here in the Caribbean or any other region where a large part of the economy relies on tourism. Most of the time, I live in a pink shack with no plumbing where I amuse myself with the antics of subtropical insect species:

Yes, that butterfly is feeding on one of Matthew’s sweaty t-shirts… and that other bug has taken quite an interest in the Persian empire.

I also fill my steadily dwindling campo free-time by trying to grow exotic chinese vegetables where they don’t belong, namely in holes in my patio filled with coffee grounds. The long beans worked out pretty well:

For the last few days, however, we’ve been residing in an air conditioned tourist-friendly palace where we have nothing else to do than watch cable tv, make sure we get to the buffet on time, and finish up on those grant applications if we are feeling really diligent. All of these security measures seem positively absurd right now given our current weather, but I suppose these things can be unpredictable and with the added threat of cholera the Peace Corps really doesn’t want to mess around. Of course this comes just as things are really picking up steam in terms of projects for me and Matthew… in fact we were minutes from leaving our house to hike up to our other site to give a cholera prevention lecture when a moto pulled up with an emergency message from Peace Corps to get the heck out of our site and into our consolidation point (we have no cellphone service at site so if the PC wants to get in contact with us, they have to send an actual human being. This makes me feel terribly important). No, natural disasters never are convenient, but I am glad to get the chance to finally get to know other volunteers out of my training class. One of the volunteers who just swore in had the genius foresight to grab his Settlers of Catan set on his way out the door, so Matt and I have added this fabulous game to our long list of nerdy past times. I know where at least $35 of my readjustment stipend is going!



  1. OMG! How have you not played Settler’s before? We are absolutely doing that next time we see you. CJ and I love it but the rest of my family and friends not so much. I can’t wait!

  2. Yes! I can’t believe neither Matt nor I had ever played it before. We quickly became unhealthily obsessed… Matt’s mom is probably going to get us a set for Christmas so we can play when we visit NYC this winter!

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