Sorry I have failed on updates lately.. here is one GIANT one
Hey everyone! Sorry I have got so behind on my blog..Here is the majority of what I did. Sorry there aren’t very many details..I will try not to get so behind anymore!
On Thursday we had Kyle’s class in the morning and then right after we packed up and headed to Dajabon. We stopped about halfway and had a picnic for lunch. For the majority of the ride I took a much needed nap so I didn’t really get to see much of the drive. When we got to Dajabon we walked around the city to see where the market was going to be and just observe what was going on. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are separated by a river. If people have the proper paperwork, which very few do, they can cross the bridge, pay a tax, and get into the DR. If they don’t have their correct paperwork they are forced to wade across the river or pay someone to carry them and then pay a bribe to the military guard on the other side of the river, who will let the Haitian into the country to do their shopping. Haiti has essentially no resources, the trip into the Dominican Republic is necessary to their survival, they need to buy their most basic needs and they can’t get them in Haiti. We saw bribes being made right in front of their eyes. At first I was frustrated, but later I realized that the guards need the bribes for their survival. They only get paid about $30 a month. It is impossible to live off of that much money so they depend on the bribes from the Haitians to feed themselves. That night I stayed in and played cards with Alfie, our bus driver, who told us so much about the things that go on “under the radar”, the culture, and history of the area.
Friday we went to the market. We split up into groups; I went with Padre so when we passed the church of the rosary we had to stop into see his friend. “Stopping in” turned into going into the church and have a long conversation and of course, coffee. Finally we moved on and went to the actual market. In the market there are people that are selling things everywhere. There were Haitian women walking around with big buckets on their heads. We saw eight year old kids pushing around wheelbarrows 10 times their size. They had everything from oranges to underwear to kitchen tools in the market. We walked onto the bridge and talked to one of the guards and he told us some of the acts of desperation he witnesses everyday. After the market we went to a local radio station where we were able to see a radio commercial being recorded. We drove the international highway between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It was amazing to see the contrasts between the green Dominican Republic on one side and the brown dirt of Haiti on the other. Seeing the kids that lived in the towns along the international was something I really struggled with because there was so much poverty.
Saturday we came back to Santiago and went to La Campana, a restaurant with wireless to do homework
Sunday was a pretty low key day we had a philosophy test and then I went for a long 10 mile run in the afternoon which felt great just to have some time to think about everything I had seen that weekend. I worked on homework in the evening and just hung out.
The week was a pretty typical week:
Monday I went to sala de tarea for service. I had a really good day there. It was one of our community member, sara’s birthday so we had some Ice Cream to celebrate. I had a Spanish quiz and had philosophy in the evening.
Tuesday- I had Kyle’s class in which we discussed our vocations and figuring out what to do with our lives and post-Encuentro Dominicano Program a little bit. We had philosophy right after and I worked on some homework that night.
Wednesday- I went to Sala de tarea and had a little bit of a difficult day. There was some stuff going on with one of the families there and it was just hard to hear about the realities of the kids because they are just so young. I did get a nice, much needed, nap and another long run in that day.
Thursday- We had EDP and talked about discernment. Then we had philosophy and I did some homework. That night we watched in the Time of the Butterflies in preparation for Friday
Friday- We went to the Maribal museum. The Maribal sisters were 3 women who stood up to Trujillo, a dictator, and were killed because they stood up for their rights. After they were killed they turned their house into a museum so we went to learn about what happened during that era and see where they lived. That night I stayed in and worked on some homework.
Saturday- My friend Mary and I went into Santiago and went to a coffee shop to study and try to get some of our paper done, of course, like how most things go here, we didn’t get as much done as we had planned. That night it was our intern, Anna’s, 22nd birthday so a couple of us went out with her and met up with some peace corps workers. It was great to talk to them and hear about their experiences, what it takes to get into the peace corps, and what their job is all about.
Sunday- We didn’t get back until about 3:45am on Saturday night so Sunday I slept in a little bit and then Mary and I went back into Santiago to get some work done “for real” We had this great plan to get on a gua gua, ride it until we found a good place to stop and then yell out the infamous “dejanos aqui”. Of course, things don’t always go as planned in this country so we got to the end of the gua gua route and started walking in search for a place to study. Long story short 5 locations later, 6 hours later, and a lot of diet cokes later we found a place with both internet connection AND a plug in. Of course when we ordered our coffee they put alcohol in it..but you cant win every battle.
Monday- Went to Sala de Tarea..pretty normal class day. I decided to try to get caught up on homework so I pulled an all nighter..until I fell asleep about 5:30 in the morning and woke up to Kyle waking me up and sending me to my bed about 6
Tuesday- Kyle’s sister died at about 6:15 this morning. It was a really rough day for the community. He is heading back to the states for a couple weeks and will be back after Easter
Wednesday- Went to service this morning and had a really great day. Here they teach the kids to add with tallys instead of their fingers. This one boy was really struggling with the tallies so I taught him to use his fingers and I have had to reteach him every time I go how to add using his fingers and today he finally remembered!
So I keep getting these questions so I thought I would answer them for everyone..
What we actually complete in the Campo last time we were there:
We got 11 latrines (outdoor bathrooms) built, 6 floors layed, and 2 houses built
What our classes are like:
We only have 3 weeks of classes at a time but for those three weeks we have to fit in a TON of material for example due by Friday I have: 3 books to read, a 2 page paper to write, a 20 page paper to write, a quiz Thursday, a presentation in Spanish to do, a Spanish test on Thursday, a philosophy presentation to do, a paper to write and a test on Saturday. We have our DR class twice a week for 2 hours and then our service every Monday and Wednesday morning is part of that class. We have Creighton professors that come down every session and we do a class in 3 weeks (my philosophy class) and then we have Spanish everyday for an hour.
What I am going to do when I get back:
I have no idea. I don’t know where I am going to live this summer, I don’t know what my job is going to be, I don’t know what I am going to major in or what I would like to do for a career. I am not sure what I am going to do after undergrad. Peace Corps? Grad school? Kyle Corps? And I am okay with not knowing all that..ill figure it all out eventually. This whole experience has really put things into perspective for me. The nice, organized life plan I had before is now scattered everywhere and a HUGE mess. But like I said it’s a good thing.
Ill try to update one more time before I leave for the Campo for immersion again on Saturday morning!