Raising those funds…

Hello Faithful Readers,

Life here in the campo continues to roll along nicely. We are working hard to advance the improved cook stoves project that I am doing here in my community. I will definitely be posting pictures of the finished products soon so that all you faithful readers can see the wonderful work we are doing here. Here are just a shot of finished Duncan Model Improved Cookstoves so you believe me:

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Today’s blog post may be more a shameful plug for myself. A few months, you may have read a blog post that I posted regarding and upcoming dry composting latrines project that I hope to do with my community here in El Tamarindo. Please take a peak at the previous blog post if you havent read it or are unfamiliar with dry composting latrines. 

https://arthurinthedr.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/dry-composting-latrines/

Everyone here is very eager to see this project materialize here. The organizational and logistic aspects are being worked on here but what we still lack is a significant portion of funding.

This project is funded in part by a type of Peace Corps grant called a PCPP (Peace Corps Partnerships Program). Its an opportunity for you folks at home to donate whatever you can to an amazing project. 100% of every single dollar you contribute goes directly to the project. There are no overhead costs of any kind. We still need about $3800, and I would really love to see this project materialize here. Dry composting latrines are an incredible, sustainable solution to address the needs of basic sanitation services for communities located in remote areas. If you can donate, it would be going to an incredible cause. Please share this with whoever you can.  The link to donate is here:

https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-517-031

 

With your help, the next time I post, it can be how incredible the flood of donations have been! I will continue to work hard here, staying positive and hoping that people out there in internet land will help a good cause when they see one. Thank you!

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Bio Sand Filters and Project Las Americas

 Today, I have something very exciting to blog about: Bio Sand Filters. For those of you who don’t know what a bio sand filter is, it is point of use filtration system that filters water by passing it through an active biological layer full of microorganisms that predate whatever cellular life may be in the water, the water then passes through a column of sand to further trap particulate matter that may cause water to be discolored or turbid.  It is an incredible filter for the developing world as it uses no electricity and is a completely self-sustaining method of filtration.  It can last for several decades without any problems. I encourage you to read more about bio sand filters from its inventor, David Manz. You can find his site here: http://manzwaterinfo.ca/ David Manz freely distributes the construction plans and installation guides for the filter.

Here in the Dominican Republic, a gentleman by the name of Jose Rivas runs a Bio Sand Filters workshop in the city of Dajabon where he manufactures, delivers, and installs Bio Sand Filters for domestic use. Jose Rivas has 15 years of experience working with these filters and is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. The issue with these filters always came down to funding. It can be a prohibitive point for a lot of projects that Peace Corps Volunteers want to do with their communities.

Peace Corps Dominican Republic has been working in this country for over 50 years. In that time PC/DR has compiled an impressive number of collaborations and partnerships across all the sectors in which we work. A fellow volunteer put me in contact with a gentleman by the name of Bob Hildreth, who is running a development project here in the DR called Project Las Americas. You can check them out here, http://www.projectlasamericas.com/. Bob and his organization graciously agreed to fund 40 Bio Sand Filters to be used and installed in my community.  My first thoughts were “This is amazing!” I was absolutely elated to get the opportunity to bring such an amazing technology to the people in my community.

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In order to receive the filters, each beneficiary family had to attend an educational charla to understand what they were receiving. Additionally, each family had to pay for transport of the filter to their homes, which we brought to my site in a flat bed truck. Installation day was an incredible mix of excitement and sweat. We worked hard, 12 hours a day for the whole weekend, unloading filters, carrying them into the houses and installing them for use. I cannot begin to express how impressed I was with Jose and his team. They are an incredibly professional and courteous team who are truly dedicated to bringing clean, filtered water to the people of the Dominican Republic.

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Two weeks later, the residents of Don Miguel and El Tamarindo absolutely in love their new water filters. The people here are happy to have a safe, reliable method of water filtration that sustains itself for years to come.  None of this would have been possible without the incredibly generous donation from Bob Hildreth and Project Las Americas. They are doing incredible work in the DR and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them.

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            For me, this project has been a huge success. Potable water was a major issue that I recognized when I first did my community diagnostic a year ago. It has always been in my project plan to find water filters for my community. I am very satisfied with the outcome and I hope that the rest of my projects here are equally as successful.

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Mistakes with a Machete

Today’s blog post is an example of how accurate the following quote is:

“Life is what happens when you are busy making plans” -John Lennon

About 3 weeks ago, I was helping my neighbor by chopping up some wood so that she could cook for her kids. Another neighbor, a Haitian Dona who likes to play jokes, sneaks up behind me and tries to scare me. She is unaware of the large machete that it is my hand. Her distraction causes me to slice my left hand open. First words that flood my head are “Oh S**t”. So I set off running to my house looking for my med kit, hand bleeding heavily. I bandage it with sterile gauze and a sock and call my project partner to come get me. It clearly needs stitching. We take a brisk motorcycle ride to the clinic. After having it stitched at the local clinic with no anesthetic of any kind (which was so much fun, mind you), I come home, quite upset of my mishap.

6 hours later when I go to take a shower, the tendon in my left thumb, at the site of the wound, pops. It is by far, the most excruciating pain I have ever felt from any sort of extremity injury. Knowing this is not good, I call my Peace Corps doctor who tells me to come into the capital to get it checked out. So on the day before I am to pick up Marie for a visit from the States, I go to Santo Domingo to have my hand checked out. The Orthopedic Surgeon tells me that I must have my tendon surgically reattached, but that it can wait until Marie leaves. So I need surgery but I can enjoy myself with Marie with no problems. Whew, crisis averted.

Nope.

I was wrong.

Two days into Marie and I’s sunny beach vacation in Las Terranas, Samana, the doctor calls and said there has been a terrible mistake with the dates and that I must go to the capital immediately for surgery or else the tendon will retract too far making the whole thing extremely difficult to perform. After this news rocked our little paradise of a vacation that we had been planning for six months, Marie and I head to Santo Domingo for the surgery.

All in all, everything went well but I have been in cast for the remainder of Marie’s incredible visit here. I will have a cast on to isolate my thumb for a total of 4 weeks, followed by a brace. It is healing well and I will recover 100%. I don’t know how I could’ve gone through surgery in a foreign country without her. Her strength and her smile made the experience so much easier. Her patience with me only having one hand has been incredible. I am forever in her debt for being such a caring, understanding, and supporting partner. I feel unbelievably guilty for slicing my hand open days before she came. It makes me feel like a big klutz. But what can you do? Because life happens when you are busy making plans. I will leave you with a series of photo’s of our wonderful time together over Marie’s Easter visit.

The first one is house in Las Terrenas.

Image Our Matching MugsImageThe view from the monument in SantiagoImageSitting at the monument in SantiagoImagePlaya Las Ballenas in Las TerrenasImageSunset at Las BallenasImageThe view from the back porch in our las Terrenas houseImage

Playa BonitaImageImageMore from the monumentImageImageImage

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When it all works out

Every once in a while, things in life just have a way of working themselves out perfectly.  Even more rare is when that happens during your Peace Corps service. A couple weeks ago, the youth in my community decided that they want a place to play baseball near the community where they can practice and become better as a team. So they got a local farmer to donate some land to build a baseball field. The kids went out their with shovels, picks, hoes, and wheelbarrows and cleared out a field for themselves. They organized themselves and starting playing. I rode by on my bicycle one day and saw them playing with tattered gloves, balls that were barely held together by the stitching and homemade bats. It was kind of incredible to me the determination these kids had to play baseball.

The following day, one of the local dad’s who helps the team practice approached me and asked if there was anything I could do to help the youth get better gear to play with. The little gear they had was in terrible shape and really not safe to use. I, having no clue what to do but very eager to help told the father that I would see what could be done and I would let him know. So with the help of my amazing girlfriend Marie, we began scouring the Internet looking for organizations that donate baseball equipment to underserved youth in the Caribbean and Latin America. We eventually came upon an organization called Roberto’s Kids.  I contacted the organization, explaining our situation and asking if there was anything that they could do to help. Steve Pindar, the founder of Roberto’s Kids, contacted me telling me that he could help.  The organization has a requirement though, for anyone who wants to receive gear. The youth receiving the gear must complete some sort of community service activity.  I knew exactly how to capitalize on this.

Being an environment volunteer, I am always looking for way in which my community can improve their own local environment. I took advantage of this opportunity to organize a community trash clean up with the youth. We got together on the weekend with trash bags in hand and clean up a 3 KM stretch of our main dirt road in the community. It was a huge success! I have never seen youth so motivated to pick up trash!

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The turn out for the community clean up

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Picking up that trash

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Cleaning up the community

After the clean up, I arranged for the gear with Steve. It seemed that I was in luck, Steve had just sent down a shipment of gear to the D.R. and I could go to Santo Domingo to pick up some gear! I was able to get for the kids 35 gloves, 35 hats, 5 bats, 40 baseballs, a set of bases and a full set of catchers gear!! I was absolutely floored by the generosity of Steve’s organization.

Hooray!

Showing off the new gear

All together

The full team with me

Catcher is ready now

Our Catcher is ready to play now!

Our Field now has Bases!

Our field actually has bases now!!

Teammate Closeup

The Coach with a couple of the players

Distributing this equipment to the youth of my community was truly one of the most incredible experiences I have had. These kids were so excited and overjoyed to receive the gear. Not only that, but I felt like that actually worked to earn it, which made me very happy. The most incredible thing about this entire experience is the time frame of this whole thing. From the day that I was approached by the youth to try and find gear to the day that I was standing on the field distributing gear was less than a month!! I have never experienced this kind of turn around on a project in my community. It was truly a satisfying feeling for me. This was a win-win for everybody and I am eternally grateful to Steve Pindar and Roberto’s kids for their generous donation. If you want more information about their awesome organization, please visit: http://www.robertos-kids.org/

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Belated Holidays Blog Post

Holy Crap!

It’s been more weeks than I would really like to admit since I updated my blog. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have had a lot going on! Lets first talk about Christmas and New Year’s. That was definitely a fantastic time here in the D.R. My incredible and amazing girlfriend, Marie came down to spend the holidays with me. We had 11 incredible, fun filled days here in the campo together. We decided long before Marie came out here that we were going to roast a whole pig on a spit to celebrate. So I bought a 74-pound pig and had it killed, cleaned, and gutted and speared on a giant spit. We roasted the sucker in my backyard in a homemade fire pit. It took somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 hours to roast it. It was quite an experience. Roasting the pig brought together about 30 or so of my neighbors to watch in awe. Pig roasts are common here in the D.R. but the people in community often do not have enough resources to roast an entire pig at once. I was blessed however, to have a master pig roaster as a nearby neighbor who led the entire affair. He just asked for two things: A liter or so of rum and the head of the pig when it was done. I made sure to comply with his demands.

Marie and Squibbs                                   Muchachos         

We put the pig to roast on the night of the 24th so that it would be ready to eat midday on the Christmas Day. To accompany our pig, the usual Dominican fare was created: Rice with green pigeon peas, a veggie salad they simply called mixed salad containing carrot, potato, egg, beets, and mayonnaise as well as a huge Casabe bread made from yucca. We washed the whole thing down with a case of beer. (Just an FYI, a case of beer in this country is 24 bottles each with 650ml of beer. So that’s more like 48 beers in the standard American size). My neighbors, Marie, and I were extremely happy to say the least. I have to say that it was probably one of the most enjoyable Christmas celebrations I have had in a long time even though I did not have anyone in my family there with me.

roasted 

  yum! 

The week following Christmas was a great here in the campo, enjoy the beauty and tranquility with Marie. We went to the beach twice, swam in the local rivers, danced bachata, it was great. At the end of the week, we headed to Santiago to celebrate NYE. Marie’s plane was flying out on the 1st and we had to celebrate in the city closest to the airport so that she could make her flight the next day. We had an awesome night, watching the fireworks that were shot out over the city’s central monument. Lots of fun!

Arthur & Marie NYE 2012
It was extremely difficult to see Marie leave the following morning. I’m not sure if saying goodbye every time she visits is getting easier or harder. Sometimes it feels easier because I have an idea of the emotional rollercoaster that follows after putting her on the plane. On the other hand, we have such an incredible time here together that it doesn’t make sense why she just isn’t here with me all the time. I love the girl to bits and I wish sometimes that we didn’t have to have such distance between us. Our relationship could not be any stronger, it’s just hard sometimes.

To make matters worse, my poor kitty passed away the day that Marie had left. We had taken her to get spayed and there were some complications in her recovery that it made it very difficult for her to recuperate. We had her spayed on the 27th of December and brought her back to the vet on the 29th when she took a serious turn for the worst. We had to leave her there for several days to see if she would improve. Therefore, I left here when I took Marie to Santiago to send her home. So after coming home from dropping Marie off at the airport, I had to pick up my deceased kitten from the Vet’s office and take her home to bury her. I was not in a good place to say the least. I will miss you Squibbles you were an amazing kitty and I will never forget you.

It has been very hard transitioning back into life here to say the least with both Marie and my kitten gone. I have been doing my best to keep myself busy to try not to think about it too much. My stove project has been moving along nicely and I am looking forward to get my ceramic pieces so I can continue. I will have an update with that as soon as possible. Expect more blog posts very soon! In the mean time, enjoy some pork related pictures!

The Pig!  the master  posing

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Dry Composting Latrines

Hello Devoted Readers,

I am going to use today’s blog post as a bit of a soapbox. But please, bear with me. Today we are going to talk about Dry Composting Latrines. What the heck is that?

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A dry composting latrine is a type of latrine that will compost all human waste deposited into it be allowing the natural decomposition process to occur in a closed sealed space which will leave behind safe, natural compost; free of bacteria and diseases. The latrine has a tank divided into 2 halves. When one half is being used, the other half is left alone for six months to allow the composting process to occur. These types of latrines are excellent for communities in developing countries who lack access to basic sanitation services, particularly in places with high water tables. My community of Tamarindo is definitely one of those places.

While my Improved Cookstove project is about to get going, I am preparing for another, different project down the line. I am aiming to build 35 dry composting latrines in my community. These latrines have the potential to last over 30 years and be an excellent long term solution to santiation services in such remote communities. For this project, I am using a grant program call the Peace Corps Partnerships Program (PCPP). This program helps connect interested donors in the U.S. with Peace Corps Volunteer projects abroad.

I am using just this sort of grant to find funding for my project. The community has already agreed to match every single dollar raised through labor donations, construction materials, as well as cash payments. This is an incredible opportunity for you all to help some people in need! As a personal touch, anyone who donates $50 or more will receive from me a picture of the family and their new composting latrine that they helped build.

I am hoping to break ground on this project by Fall 2013 and with your help we can get there! I currently have about 12% of my grant filled, so there is a long way to go. If you are interested in donating, please follow the link below.

My PCPP

With the Holiday season approaching, I ask you to take a moment and consider making a donation. Not for me, but for the people of El Tamarindo. After all, don’t we all deserve a safe, clean, reliable bathroom?

That’s all for now folks

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Improved Cookstove training

It has been quite some time since I last wrote in my blog. Sometimes I feel bad that I post so infrequently, but I know plenty of PCVs who are a lot worse at it than me. Oh well. It’s my blog, and I’m going to post on it when I feel like it!

Anyways, life has been drumming along quite nicely. In the month of October, I took my mason, Lin, to a training so that he can learn how to build the improved cook stoves that we are implementing as a project in my community. There were 10 volunteers invited, each of whom brought a Dominican mason along with them which would be working on the project with them. The training was held in a small community called Higuerito near the city of Santiago. It is in this town that PC/DR is working with an association of local artisans to produce the ceramic pieces necessary to create our stoves. What better place than at the factory itself to hold the training?

 

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            All in all, the training went very smoothly and Lin is very excited to start building stoves in the community. He is a very diligent worker and has worked with Peace Corps volunteers in the past so he is familiar with doing construction projects of this sort. (This all makes my life a lot easier) We split into two groups and each built a stove over a two day period of time. At the end of each day were Q & A sessions for troubleshooting both the construction and tips for the volunteers on how to manage the projects in their sites. I think that everyone walked away from the training learning a lot. It was great to see other volunteers and meet some of their Dominican counterparts. Each volunteer was also sent home from the training with a set of ceramic parts to make a sample stove for the project. I am slated to get my full order of stove parts in January but until then, I have a sample stove I can build in the community to show off to everyone.Image

After the training, I headed to Santo Domingo to turn in grant paperwork for a future slated project.  As of right now, I will keep this project a secret. This project requires its own special blog post! That way all of my devoted readers will be kept in complete suspense! (Not really though, and that’s ok…. I think) I will say though that it is exciting, and it has a great potential to be interactive with you folks at home!

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Improved Cookstoves Project

As I mentioned in my previous post, my first major project as a Peace Corps Volunteer will be an improved cook stoves project. This first project will be a project of 30 stoves equally divided amongst the three communities that I work in. This will put stoves in about one third of the houses in my communities. I was recently awarded a grant from the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, a state department initiative aimed at renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation on macro and micro scale climate in the developing countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. My project fits into this initiative because the stoves that Peace Corps are building reduce wood consumption by up to 40% and thus are reducing carbon dioxide emissions on a micro scale. Other added benefits include the removal of the thick smoke from cooking via a chimney, which will improve pulmonary health of the beneficiaries.  My grant paperwork is currently with the powers that be in Washington and I am waiting for my project funds to be wired to me so the process can begin.

            I have already selected a mason, selected potential recipients, and formulated work contracts that I plan on maintaining both with the recipients and my masons. This is a bit of a formality but it makes everyone involved realize this is legitimate and that they should take it seriously. The project involves community contributions as well as contributions that I put up using funds from the grant I was awarded.  Each recipient family will put up a non-refundable deposit for the program as well as several easily sourced, no cost construction materials as well as an able bodied person to learn how the stove is built so that they are experts on their own stove and can better troubleshoot problems later on down the line.

            I am extremely excited to get started with this project and am doing everything I can to get this project off the ground. I will update you all as of my progress once the funds arrive and the initial work can begin. 

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Update has been a long time coming

It has been quite some time since I have updated this blog. I guess you could say I was busy for a while, and then things slowed down but the blog slipped my mind. Let me take a walk down memory lane and see what we can rummage up to satisfy all the eager readers….

The most appropriate place to start would be the week leading up to the arrival of Marie in the Dominican. This was the week that I finished preparations for my new house and I moved out of my host family’s house. In a word, FINALLY! I was absolutely elated to have some independence and privacy of my own. Not to mention having complete control over the kinds of foods that I was eating.  It was a little unnerving the first night I spent by myself but I slept with my machete close to my bed and everything was ok! Here are some pics of the awesome new backyard hang out spot that I built. Its a gazebo with a concrete floor complete with posts to hang my multi-purpose hammock!

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            At the end of that week, I went off to my 3-month In Service Training located at the Guagui Center in La Vega. It was a beautiful conference center placed high up on a mountain, which gave it a nice sense of peace and tranquility. This training was for environment and water volunteers. We all brought our project partners with us to present our community diagnostic findings. This is the investigation we each performed of our communities in our first three months of living there. Mine went off without a hitch, but I really wasn’t that worried. My level of Spanish fluency has long stopped being a hindrance to my work. The rest of the weekend was comprised of organizational and grant workshops. To put it nicely, they were semi-helpful. Being a bit over eager, I had already found which grants were applicable for which projects I wanted to do.

            The first project I will be working on in my community is an improved cook stoves project. These improved cook stoves are designed to reduce wood consumption by up 40% as well as remove the thick smoke created by wood burning fires. The idea is to combat the rampant deforestation that is present here on the border with Haiti by reducing the overall wood consumption of the community. Additionally, by making each stove with a chimney it will help mothers and children stop breathing in the thick smoke of wood burning fires and thus dramatically improving their pulmonary health. These cook stoves are a great idea and I am super excited about the project but more on this later.

            After IST, I went straight to the airport to pick up Marie!!! I had been eagerly anticipating her visit by counting down each and every day until I hit zero. Giving her a huge hug and a kiss at the airport was absolutely incredible and very emotionally intense. It was however the most joyous of reunions and I was absolutely elated to see her. The two of us had decided to take a couple days for ourselves by sneaking away to a resort for a few days on the North Coast in Puerto Plata. This allowed us a chance to spend time together, alone, without everyone in my community coming over to find out whom the new Americano is.

            We spent 4 nights at the Lifestyles Resort and it was pretty fabulous. For me it was a dream come true; hot showers, endless cold beer, and cheeseburgers. Everything that I had been missing that I really wanted all in the same place. And I got to have Marie! We spent our time sitting in the pool, swimming in the ocean, going out to dinners, and just really enjoying each other’s company. After our stop in the resort we stopped a fellow PCV’s site on our way back to my site. We spent a night there and the next day we all went out to this amazing ecotourism site called 27 charcos. This is basically a river that has 27 waterfalls connected together by deep pools at the bottom of each waterfall. You then jump or slide your way down from the top of the mountain all the way back down to the bottom.  I have an awesome video I shot with a waterproof HD video camera that I will try and post up on this blog.

After our pit stop at Walker’s and subsequently Barbara’s site, Marie and I made our way all the way back to Dajabon, which for all intents and purpose is at the end of the world.  Marie spent 9 days here in my site of Tamarindo.  We had an absolutely incredible time here. It was really nice being able to cook, play board games, go for walks, go swimming, and all the other things that we loved to do together.  I also took Marie to El Morro, a National Park in Monte Cristi with a beautiful coastline and sheer cliffs that fall into the ocean; we spent a half-day there on the beach. It was a week and a half I will surely never forget.  It was really incredible to me how easily Marie adjusted to campo life. I think a lot of that has to do with the six months she spent in Costa Rica. Not to say that the cultures are the same but they are more similar than campo life in the D.R. versus life in Washington D.C. We both truly enjoyed each other’s company playing scrabble, dominoes, watching movies and playing with the muchachos. In that time period we also got a new kitten for the house! Her name is Squibbles and she is absolutely adorable. I was torn about getting an animal for a while but I’m glad that I eventually settled on a cat. They don’t have very much maintenance and can be really awesome pets to have. This is actually the first cat I have ever had so it has been a bit of a learning experience for me.

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          Image  Unfortunately, Marie’s time did have to come to an end here. It was an incredible, unforgettable two weeks that I shared with her here but at the end she did have to go home. Here graduate program in Education was starting and she needed to prepare herself for the very intense yearlong program she was about to start. We spent the night in Santiago before her flight to make her fly out day less stressful. We spent our last night out enjoying each other’s company in a city that I really do like a lot.  It was however, very difficult to see her go. I was very upset watching her go through security at the airport. But I knew that we would see each other again very soon and that we would never have to spend six months apart again.

 

The transition back to being alone in this country was just as hard, if not harder than saying goodbye to Marie in the first place. Two weeks is enough time to get used to someone else’s presence in all the daily tasks of life. So when you return to doing those tasks by yourself, it makes it very hard. Immediately upon Marie’s departure I headed to Santo Domingo, I had to turn in paperwork for a grant I had been awarded to start on the improved cook stoves project.  Once I made it back to my site, I found the silence deafening.

It was really, really hard to be alone in this house. I had my brand new kitten to keep me company but still Marie’s presence could be felt on every item in the house. We even painted the walls together, which gave the house a totally new feel and very clearly left her brilliant, dynamic, fun loving mark on the house. In time it all became ok or at least what you tell yourself is ok. You tell yourself that because you know you will see her again soon and that in the mean time, phone calls, Skype, and good old fashioned hand written letters will keep you connected until you can see the bright, shining, smiling face again.

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Less than 48 hours away!!!

I am writing this blog absolutely elated over the fact that I will be reunited with my girlfriend Marie after 5 long months in less than 48 hours! It is an extremely exciting thing to celebrate and I absolutely cannot wait. We will be getting away for a few days to the sunny beaches of Puerto Plata. It will be a perfect way for us to take some time to spend alone and enjoy each other’s company without any distractions. I am slightly nervous but not terribly, just incredibly excited. I know that when she gets off of that plan we will just continue on with out missing a beat. We have had incredible communication during our 5 months of separation and I know how much we both want this. Its going to be amazing!

Since I am just 48 hours away from seeing Marie, it also means that I am currently at my 3-month In Service Training. This means that my diagnostic phase is finally completed and I can actually start working on the projects that I came here to do! Hooray! Me and my project partner presented our diagnostic yesterday and everything went extremely well. People seemed to think we did well. Today was a rather boring, but necessary workshop day of annual project planning that will serve each volunteer and his project partner well as they begin projects in their respective sites. 

I will be here in La Vega until friday morning at which point I will be getting a free ride (Thanks Tim!, my CBT trainer) to the santiago airport to pick up Marie!

All this also means another very important thing…. I finally moved into my house!! I am loving the privacy and comfort of my very own home here in the dominican republic. I have been living there for almost a week and have been enjoying cooking my own food, brewing strong coffee, and sleeping in with no distractions (when i can). Its really been great and I can’t wait to bring Marie back to the new house and show her all the stuff I have been working on to prepare the house!

I may or may not get a chance to put up a post while Marie is here, but who knows. If not, send us good energy vibes for our incredible 15 days we will have together!!

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