Hello blog followers!
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write. Things have been crazy here – lots going on with Samana Santa, training activities, and more.
Samana Santa was my first real Dominican holiday, and it was pretty nuts. Samana Santa is their Easter celebration. It is a very family based holiday, so most of the extended family will return home to celebrate. That meant my Doña’s 6 kids, 4 grandkids, and multiple nieces were visiting. I think I counted and at one point over 15 people were sleeping in the house. The house only has 3 bedrooms, and one is for me only, so you can imagine the sleeping arrangements were creative. For Samana Santa, there is lots of eating, drinking, parties, and dancing to celebrate. We had our major fiestas at a cabaña that a wealthy family in Santo Domingo owns. My host family takes care of the cabaña, and they are really good friends and celebrate together. Even though it is a religious holiday, it is more of a cultural celebration. I had a great time dancing bachata and merengue, eating huge meals, and meeting and talking with all my host siblings that were visiting. One son came all the way from the US with his 2 kids! It was a really fun celebration here, and I think I might just have to come back and celebrate it here again during my 2 years. My family in Manabao knows how to have a good party.
Technical training continues to go well, though it is some long days. We have been working this week on constructing a water tank for our community. All of us will have to build a water tank during our service for our water systems, and this construction practice is so that we will understand what goes into building a tank. It is hard work – lugging sand up hills, sifting that sand, mixing concrete, applying concrete onto the walls, and more. I have tons of cuts on my hands from the work, but it’s a really amazing feeling to see something like this being built by my own hands. I can’t wait until I get to design my own water system and see it constructed by my community – it will be a surreal feeling for sure!
Other than that, all is well. I had a little bout of dehydration one day after construction, but I am starting to feel better. My Spanish is continuing to improve little by little. All in all, things are good. I’ve been in the DR for more than 6 weeks now, and I am excited to be staying here for a little more than 2 more!