Monday, March 19, 2012

Volunteer Visit or “Ode to my Water Bottle”

This past weekend, I went to visit a current volunteer, and it was full of adventures.

First, I want to say a few words for one that is no longer with me – my water bottle. I brought 3 water bottles with me to the Dominican Republic, but one was my favorite. It was a Kleen Kanteen, blue, with a wonderful top to drink from. I got this water bottle almost 2 years ago, and it has traveled with me to Ghana, Chile, Nicaragua, Europe, and more. It’s been around New York City and spent many a day in the field hydrating me during sinkhole investigations in Florida. It had scratches and dents, but that simply gave it character. Sadly, my water bottle was lost on a Dominican Guagua when it broke down and I had to switch guaguas. Things happened so suddenly that I grabbed my bag and helmet to change buses while forgetting my water bottle in the cupholder. Dear water bottle, I hope some adventurous person found you and may you travel around the Dominican Republic having many more adventures without me.

Another adventure would be one of the first things that happened during my trip. We were riding on the back of a pickup track, when we came to an intersection where people were all yelling. Turns out seconds before there had been a motorcycle accident. A man was seriously injured, and the only vehicles around other than ours were motorcycles. So, we loaded this man into the back of the truck with us, and he and 2 of his friends rode with us to the nearest hospital. The man’s head was bleeding significantly and he kept trying to go to sleep, like he had a concussion. We got him to a clinic nearby where he received care, and apparently returned home the next day. It was one of the most intense things to happen since I’ve gotten here, but I was glad we were able to get him the help that he needed. If we weren’t there, I don’t know how long it could have taken for him to get to a hospital to get the care he needed.

Other than that, it was a pretty straight forward trip. The water volunteer I visited was amazing and gave me tons of great insight about how it is to be a water volunteer in the Dominican Republic, and especially how it is to be a woman water volunteer. I can only hope that I will be that put together, have an amazing water system almost completed, and have Spanish skills like that in a year! It was really cool to see a water system almost completed. It’s overwhelming to think that I am going to be designing and building something like that, but I can’t wait to start learning all the technical skills I need.

Speaking of learning technical skills, I will be leaving on Thursday for Manabao for our Community Based Training part of training. Myself and the 5 other water volunteers will be up there for 5.5 weeks by ourselves learning technical skills and constructing a lot of cool things, such as ferrocement water tanks, gully crossings, and a toma! I have no idea how my access to internet will be during those weeks, so I may not be posting much.

I may try to post once more before I leave, specifically about how I love motorcycles now (sorry mom and dad!)

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