Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Busy Summer Update

 One evening we had some friends over for dinner.  Geraldo showed up VERY late so I told him that it was an American tradition that who ever shows up last to a dinner party has to wear the party hat.  He wore it all night long, and continued even after we fessed up that there is no such tradition.  Also, Saviel and Romeris pose with Mckinley.                                                      

The first day of school across the country has horrible attendance, and our schools are no exception. My brother got married and as wedding favors my folks made personalized frisbees but the company printed the wrong date so they sent us all the misprints.  I distributed them to the students that attended the first day of school as a way to show our appreciation of their extra efforts.  Below you see the fifth grade class with their frisbees.
To mark the beginning of school in La Hoya we had a sort of parade in which the classes were separated out and each classed carried a sign.  The kids sang all the way through town, and many families came out to clap and cheer for their students.
 Above, the Reception and 1st grade classes carry a sign that says "we are the future in miniature!"
 The fifth graders carried a very colorful sign.
Leonardo, or Pepe as he is more commonly called, leads the first morning prayer time.
Manuela, daughter of our maintenance man Manuel and new addition to our staff prays with the children.
 The winds of Isaac were pretty gusty!
The bamboo tree in COPA La Hoya under the pressure of the wind.  You can see that the planter is jut starting to crack.

After the storm we discovered the tree had been blown down due to the fact the the tree was planted on top of concrete and could not establish a deep root system.
 In COPA Bombita there was a lot of standing water, but no other damage was sustained.
 In the village is Bombita there was more damage:roofs blown off, flooding in homes, and copious amounts of mud.

Habanero, the town just up the road from La Hoya was hit very hard by the Isaac.  The river swelled up and took out entire homes, whole crop fields, and severely damaged many buildings.  This is a very poor community to begin with and the affects were wide spread.
The river brought a lot of debris into town.
 Where once stood a home, now there is not even the foundation remaining.

 Inside an Habanero home, filled with mud.

 A bible found amongst the debris.
 An example of how the heavy rains tore the plantain bushels from the trees.
 This man's latrine lost its walls!

 Plantain fields destroyed by the winds and rains.  Farmers across the region lost their entire crop to the storm.  

 Peace restored to the COPA La Hoya compound. 
 A resident of Bombita.
 Yazmin, a member of COPA Bombita staff, does her laundry in a large tub.
 The "gym" in Habanero (before the storm)
 Emma carried the larges, most wonderfully decorated cake to the school in Hato Viejo.
 A work group works to put concrete floors in Bombita.
 Patrick and some friends...
 Stephanie learns to lay concrete
Patrick was so tired after a beach day that he fell asleep on the way home, in the bed of the truck, and stayed sleeping long enough after we parked for me to take the picture.

 Amanda (me) leads the brand new preschool class in a classroom parade to learn to use musical instruments.

 Amanda, Katie, and Catarina squeeze onto a motor to drive through Bombita.
The scouts after we put in new floors and tore down the palm leaf roof in order to replace it with corrugated tin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


May 20th was Election Sunday here in the Dominican Republic.  For the past year we have been seeing the campain efforts of the canditates in the form of posters, houses being painted in the parties' colors, street rallies, and flatbed trucks covered in speakers blasting speeches and music.  There were two clear front runners from the beginning: Hipolito (nick name, Papa) and Danilo.  The elections were held in schools across the country, including La Hoya and Bombita COPA schools.  Starting around 6:30 that morning people started showing up to vote, and it would have been much earlier had it not been raining.  From that time on, the street outside the La Hoya school was packed with people waiting to hear results.  Some were singing, dancing, debating, and rapping, but most were just haning around talking.  The energy was tangible and every once in a while some one would shout out the name of their favored candidate, spuring a new wave of yelling and cheering.  We were not permited to take pictures inside to see the poling, but here is a view of our street.  

Danilo won by the way....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catching up

It has now been 6 months since my last post.  During this time, I spent 4 months in the States to have my baby girl, Mary.  The last two months I have been settling back in to life in the DR, every week with the intention of starting up this blog again.  This post will be a bit of a catch up of some events over this time period.  Also, I feel it is a bit of a lofty goal to post a new picture every day, but I will be posting pictures frequently.  Please feel free to contact me if there are any specific people or things here in the villages that you would like to see.

Maximo is a university student with COPA.  Patrick visited their home back in December just to spend some time and get to know them.  As you can see, their structure is very basic, with sheets for partitions, but they have a formal dinning set for eight.  We have seen this in many homes both in Bombita and La Hoya.
This is Maximo's little brother, who entertained Patrick all day by beating his pant off at dominoes.  Notice the clothes hangers on his ears which mark the score!

Patrick and Katie and some friends went to La Vega to celebrate Carnival .  They met a number of INTERESTING characters while there, as you can see below.  

In La Hoya, my group of cooking girls threw me a surprise baby shower upon my return.  They were so sweet and planned it all on their own.  They planned a few games, sang a baby shower song, and made pizza!  They also each brought a small gift and a prayer for Mary.  

About 45 minutes drive from La Hoya is a private area that houses a number of small waterfalls and pools.  It is called Casa Miriam, named for the private residence.  You can pay 100 pesos a person to go in and stay as long as you like, or if you want to reserve it for a group you pay 6000 pesos for the privacy.

On April 7th Marcelo, the Bombita librarian, married Soledad.  

This past weekend we went to a small hotel called Casa Bonita for my birthday.  I had received a gift card that covered a massage and was thrilled to see this blissful spot by the river, smelling of lavender and other wonderful smells!
The view from Casa Bonita in the morning is spectacular!

On a hike beyond Casa Bonita we spotted a few horses cuddling in the jungle.  

Mary gets a lot of hiccups, and her nanny, along with all the other women in the village, suggest that I put a piece of white string (it HAS to be white) wet with my spit on her forehead.  Then I am supposed to wet my finger with my saliva and make a cross over her diaphragm.  Caco, Mary's nanny, does this but it doesn't seem to help much...