What a day…

3 11 2010

After spending a lot of time away from my site (medical mission, parental visit, cholera consolidation), I have been trying to get back in the swing of things.  Today was nothing short of full swing.

6:45am I woke up this morning a little drowsy from a moto-bike adventure to Jarabacoa the night before to check out Halloween festivities (lackluster but a fun (and cold) night). I dragged myself out of bed (11pm was wayyy past my bedtime), ate some vegemite and butter on my home-made (delicious) integral bread, and packed for a day’s worth of activities I headed down the hill wondering if my newest group of volleyball trainees remembered that we planned practice.

As it turns out, they did, and when I got to the lab to grab the volleyballs I saw that people had taken the three best over the course of the last few days.  While we sorted this out the boys in middle school started putting up the net and playing and I noticed some unpleasant expressions a few teachers’ faces.  This led to a backasswards indirect convo lasting about 15 min too long in which I was told not to hold practice at school.  Training would have told me to apologize and leave it at that.  Instead, I played back and said I understood but it was such a shame seeing as how i work all day at the school I am going to just have to tell the girls they can’t play volleyball.   2 can play the backasswards communication game, I am not proud, but it felt good!

Seeing as the month of November has me in my site pretty much never, I decided to start cholera charlas right away, but wanted to check out our campo-clinic to see what they had going first.  I took Randi/Miguelito/my dog, Osito, along to stretch his legs as we made our way there while it began to rain.   At the clinic I tied the dog up and calmed the fears of the visitors who were sure their aqueroso evil dirty dog was going to eat them.  After chatting with the doctor and confirming that no, they have no medicine for cholera, and no, they are not planning any communication, I headed back to the school to begin student workshops. If I don’t say so myself, I give one hott Cholera charla- I mean, talking about poop to 14 year olds is an easy win, but I’ll take it!

1:30pm.              After a quick trip to my doña’s for lunch and a shower, during which I spent half the time helping my friend in mourning try to connect to the internet to talk to his girlfriend, I went to the lab early to continue helping this friend on a different computer, prepare announcements for the next set of classes, photocopy and create cholera informational handouts, and prepare the class for a day of final exams.  I had to also convince one more parent to let another volunteer take her daughter on an exchange this weekend as I was no longer able to take them b.c of rescheduling due to our Cholera meeting in the capital.

Over the next 4 hours I gave 4 more Cholera charlas, gave 2 computer classes final exams, made new arrangements for volleyball practices for my girls, and after convincing the parents to let their girls go with another volunteer, found out that my weekend trip was cancelled due to the tropical storm so I could take the girls in the end anyways.  Productivity in the face of inefficiency and poor communication!

6:30pm Classes are winding down finally, and as I am going back and forth to the gate letting in and out every student (b/c the school director wants me to play after hours gate keeper to keep those Manabao rebel-rousers at bay) the town mayor/one of my students insists on buying me some jugo and talk to me for way too long about how teachers need to make kids pick out trash.  Meanwhile, my friend Miguelito comes back in to continue his quest for a skype connection to his American girlfriend.  This jugo and trash discussion turns into a dinner invite and extra chocolate milk which in the end isn’t a half-bad deal.  In the lab, I go around putting finished exams on my USB and turning computers off b/c after 2+months of class, too many people still just turn off the monitor and leave.

Around 8:30pm, after finally getting Skype functional on one of my ghetto computers, I check my email quickly and see that we are being called to the capital to wait out the tropical storm.  Normally, I would be pretty pumped about a free trip and hotel stay in the capital, except that this means I am going to have to postpone the end of my computer classes, reschedule for the 2nd time a town meeting for a potential aqueduct project, and potentially cancel on my girls’ trip for the 2nd time as well.  At this point, all I could do is laugh, and with that I made my way to the mayor’s house for some mashed green banana.

9:30pm i have finally made it home, and am trying to decide between the swings of awesomeness and suckiness where today in the end really lies.  I mean, I managed a pretty solid community education about Cholera, started winding down my first round of computer classes, had 100% attendance for volleyball practice, at a delicious dinner and scored confianza time with the mayor, and got my friend connected online.  However, I also got rained on, kicked out of vball practices at school, asked to do a million and one favors for friends and students beginning with ‘Jenny! Ven Aca, Jenny, Jenny!”, and my plans thrown around by peace corps without the decency for them to even get my phone number right to call me.  (As far as they know, I never have internet or access to the peace corps network so really, I can just not go to the capital and they can’t say boo.)  Dinner ended with some dominican wine, so I was leaning towards good on my way up the hill.  Even with the electricity out when I got home I was staying positive.  Then the electricity came back, even better!  I was decidedly positive, until I found a ginormous cockroach on my toothbrush.

Come to think of it, maybe I should have included this scenario in ‘how bacteria from poop can end up in your mouth’ part of the cholera charla…




4 responses

3 11 2010
Berry Forde

wow jenn – this is so very interesting … being young and going through all this is a good thing … we old people could not tolerate it one bit! always fun to read your blogg. the old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you grow” … you are waay growing my dear!

we got your thank you card … nice surprise and we think of you often.

hugs and kisses from berry and randy


3 11 2010

Hey Jenn…love reading it especially since I can picture it all. Just wondering what the Dr is going to do if someone get’s cholera
xxoo have fun in the capital

3 11 2010
Aunt Deb

Jennnnnnnn! Loved reading your blog and am fascinated with all you are doing..! Sounds like you have a GREAT attitude….half the battle I’m sure.
Guess we’ll be seeing you in May….in the meantime, will continue to follow
your journeys…love you!!!

8 11 2010
Candy Coffman

Jenn, Whoa, la cucka rocha! oooohhhh that might have done it for me, and pround you are hanging in there! I agree with one of the comments above, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Way to go. Be safe. Love, CC

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