Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Viaje del Moto

Tuesday was Independence Day so we all had the day off. So some of our Dominican friends took us girls on a motorcycle ride in the mountains. These guys love riding motorcycles so they had fun showing off their skills to us girls.
Here is Cristian and I: That's my motorcycle in a ditch:

The girls (me, Lynn, Nani, Chelsea, Laura, Rachael, and Alicia):

The guys (Cristian, Tango, Melbin, Esteban, Anthony, Alberto):
It was quite possibly the funnest day of my life! It was so exciting to be crusing through the mountain roads with beautiful landscape all around us. This country is so beautiful, with rolling hills, palm trees, blue skys.... It had been raining the past week so there was a lot of mud on the roads. Many times we would fly through the mud puddles and get splattered with mud, or we would have to go through a creek and get soaking wet! But I think that was half the fun, getting all wet and dirty. It was so fun. Now everytime I hear a big motorcycle drive by our house, my heart starts beating a little faster.
Now I just need to learn how to drive one myself....

El Día de la Independéncia

To celebrate the Dominican Republic's independence day, we had a parade for the kids. In the morning we trucked in all the kids from El Callejon, a neighboring community where SI runs a preschool. We painted the kids faces with flags to prepare for the parade. Albereto and I got in the spirit too with flags painted on our arms. ¡Ahora, soy Dominicana!

The verse on this sign says, "The truth will set you free. John 8:32"

The kids had so much fun marching around Mata Gorda waving their flags. People came out of their houses to watch us walk by. As we walked the kids chanted, "¡Nosotros somos Dominicanos! ¡Que viven en la República Dominicana!" "We are Dominicans! We live in the Dominican Republic!"

We even stopped a few times to sing the Domican National Anthem "Quisqeyanos Valientes".

It was a great fun day for the kids to celebrate their country and the freedom that they have here. It was fun for me, too, to participate and see the pride that these people take in their country and their freedom.


Ahhh.... this past weekend was amazing!! As a thank-you and a little retreat for us interns, we got to go to the beach for the weekend. We drove about 2 hours north to get to the beach town of Sosua. It was so refreshing to see the ocean again. We had a lot of fun relaxing, laying on the beach, snorkling, dancing merenge, and eating way too much food!!

It was a great time of relaxation and fun just to get to hang out with the girls. Arlene (upper left), one of the SI staff came with us as well.
As nice as vacation is, though, I couldn't wait to get back to Jarabacoa.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Me lavo yo mis dientes

At the school in Mata Gorda, we provide toothbrushes for the kids to brush their teeth after lunch. For many of the kids, this is the only opportunity they have to brush their teeth during the day. In our classroom the toothbrushes were kept in cups on the floor beneath each child's seat. Throughout the day, the cups would get kicked and knocked over and the toothbrushes would often end up on the dirty, concrete floor. So I took on the project of sewing a toothbrush holder for the class. Each child has their own slot with their name on it. The kids loved it! On the day I brought it, they would keep coming up to it and point at their name and say, "That's mine, right there."
I am very proud of this improvement that I made to the classroom.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Since the weather in so warm here, we often go swim in the river on the weekends. This is a swimming spot called El Charco de los Padres. This is a waterfall called Baiguate:

Laura and I at Baiguate:

Me, Laura, Andrea, Chealsea, Melvin, Cristian, Chino, Ryan, Alicia, Chastity, Rachael.

Building a human Pyramid:

SI Baseball

The guys who work construction for SI have a baseball team that plays other local teams. We interns, the Slabach girls, and a few others have become their biggest fans. We traveled an hour to Santiago to suprise the guys with our support. They were so excited to see us; we definitely lifted their spirits when we walked in since they were loosing the game. The local Dominicans rooting for the other team began paying more attention to us rather than the game. They were so facinated with the signs we had made and our enthusiastic cheering. I don't think they had ever seen anything like it!

Minesterio de Gracia

Here are a few pictures from the school: Melani, one of the younger sisters, often comes to the school to hang around with the "big kids". She is hilarious; she never says anything, but she just watches everything that everyone does with a serious look on her face.

Besos de Esmeralda. Here in the DR it is customary to kiss on the cheek as a common greeting. It is something that I've come to really like, especially from the kids. :-)

Johanna and the kids.

Correcting work....

Playing marbles with the kids.

Here are both of the classes at the school in Mata Gorda. Johanna (left) is the teacher who I work with. Alberto is the other teacher who works with the younger kids. The woman on the right was here for a week as a volunteer.