Hello friends and family!
I am writing this from my comfy bed in my host family house so I can be prepared to post it tomorrow morning at the training facility. While we have internet there, it is difficult to have enough time to write a post and post it in the same day, so I thought I would try to do it in advance to speed up the process!
I have officially finished my first week here in the Dominican Republic, and it both has flown by as well as part of me feels like it’s been a month. It has been one of the most hectic weeks of my life, and one of the most exhausting as well. I am here with some of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of meeting and I can’t wait to learn more about them and all the amazing work they are sure to do in the Dominican Republic during their 2+ years here.
I am living in a small barrio outside of Santo Domingo with my host mother and two host sisters, aged 14 and 15. My house here is very modest. We have electricity at times – usually in the evening, which is nice to have the light. Apparently that is due to a battery supply, but I don’t have all the details. During the day, we are prone to blackouts. Running water is very rare, and the one time it was running was the middle of the night, and it was used to fill up a bit garbage barrel with water. There is an actual toilet, but I have to dump a small bucket of water in at just the right angle with just the right amount of force to get it to flush. We also have a family cat (creatively named ‘Gato’ – the Spanish word for cat). He hasn’t warmed up to me that much yet, but I have faith – today he actually let me pet him! That might have been because he was begging for my dinner at the same time, but whatever works. I have yet to see any creepy crawlies, but I have plenty of time ahead of me, right? I’m hoping they stay their distance for as long as possible! We all know how I am when it comes to cockroaches!
The training facility we have is absolutely gorgeous. It is this little oasis in the middle of this urban town. There are trees everywhere and beautiful green lawns. Our classrooms are little pavilions – there are roofs, but no walls so we have nature all around us. There are small pavilions for our Spanish classes and then 2 large pavilions for our group classes. There is running water and flush toilets on site, so we are definitely spoiled in that regard. Lunch is prepared for us every day, and so far it’s all been great! I was very pleased that I tested into the class I hoped to, Level 4, Intermediate Low. We have to be at level 5, Intermediate Mid to swear in, so I don’t have that far to go to get my Spanish skills where I hope for them to be. I would really love to be a level 6 or 7 by the time I swear in, but we will have to see what happens over the next several weeks. I already feel like my Spanish skills have improved significantly over the past 6 days, and I can’t even imagine the improvement after 8 more weeks. I hope I can listen to my initial interview again at some point and laugh at my sad attempt at Spanish.
That’s about it for now. I have some very exciting posts that will be coming up – A visit to Santo Domingo to learn where the Peace Corps Office, approved hospital, and often used hotel are on Thursday, a visit to the Colonial Zone on Sunday, a visit to a current water volunteer in the interior of the country next week, and the CBT up in the mountains in just over 2 weeks! The life of a Peace Corps trainee is a busy one.