Saturday, October 17, 2009
Serenity Now, Insanity Later
What to say about these last four weeks?! Just read the blog title, it sums it up pretty nicely. Haha juuuust kidding (kind of). Training up in the mountains was fun and a great experience. At first, I didn’t quite understand the logic behind coming to Santo Domingo, leaving only after 3 weeks to train at a different location, and then coming back to Santo Domingo for a week and a half to finish training. But now, I totally get it. This go-around was like a test run, or practice before the real deal. I have learned a lot about the culture of rural communities; information that I plan to take with me to my site. Now I know that… people in the rural areas are marvelous; privacy is literally nonexistent; sending neighborhood boys on your errands is the best tool out in the campo; donkeys are the most annoying animal in the whole wide world; and chicken are the most disgusting; Dominicans are afraid of the sun, and some of water; no matter how hot and humid it is here, I will never get used to cold bucket bath showers; electricity is harder to come by than a Dominican who doesn’t love the Yankees; if baseball is the national pastime, merengue, bachata, rice and beans are the national sport; and… that I am so lucky to be here serving! It’s been a hoot.
We seized every moment that we were there, whether it was going to the river on a regular basis, hiking, exploring, or just laughing. My absolute favorite activity we did was go to an adventure tourist site called 27 waterfalls. It was actually developed by a Peace Corps volunteer in the ‘60s and has had multiple environmental and business volunteers since. It was incredible! We swam and floated through rivers and hiked through mountains discovering waterfall after waterfall. We did not do the entire tour, all 27 falls, but we did see 15. Even more impetus to go back! Pictures and videos are posted! Because we were cliff jumping from some serious heights, we were required to wear helmets and life jackets. Second best activity was the beach! Check out the pictures. Yes, that’s right, I am actually tan! Woo hoo
Training ended with us attending the annual Business Plan Competition that is hosted by Peace Corps and Plan International. I loved it! People aged 15-25 complete a 4 month course in business and submit a business that they want to start in their communities, it could be a pizza restaurant, beauty salon, clothing store, whatever they are truly passionate about. There are two categories, production and commercial, and a third, second and first prize in each category. The third prize winner receives 50% of their projected start-up costs to open their business, the second 75% and the first receives full funding. The opportunity that this brings to these kids is tremendous. I am so proud of all of them for putting forth the effort to pursue their dreams. The best part about it, though, was when our director came and surprised us with a little gift. She told us our site placements EARLY!!! I hope everyone's excited because you have serious reason to be. I AM ON THE BEACH!!!!!!! In the most beautiful part of the country, the east. I will be working with a group of artesan women and will find out more about the project on Monday. I CANNOT WAIT! Tuesday I will go out to my site to meet my project partner and come back on Sunday. I officially move out there either Saturday, October 31 or Sunday the 1st. Stay tuned, I love you!!!!
Posted by megan moore at 9:23 AM