Greetings from El Tamarindo

Well it has been quite some time since I have posted to my blog. In that time much has changed about my day to day reality in the Dominican Republic! I last left you in CBT in La Cumbre. CBT finished up really well for me. By the end of it, I definitely felt like I was ready for my service and really ready to be done with training.

Coming back to Santo Domingo was pretty crazy, I had become accustom to the quiet tranquility of La Cumbre and forgot about the hustle and bustle of the capitol.  It was great to get the whole training group together again; I really did enjoy that reunion. People were swapping stories about all the silly and exciting stuff that happened in their respective CBTs and it was all around awesome.

The Tuesday that we got back we all got our site placements!!!! This was a very exciting moment for me indeed. I have to say that the hour before we received our placements, I was freaking out. I had no idea what to expect and realized that there was nothing I could do to alleviate the situation and for some reason that seemed really unsettling to me. Probably because that slip of paper I was going to receive would be my home and work site for the next two years and it would have a major role in shaping what my Peace Corps experience would be like. You know…. No big deal.

So finally, mercifully, at about 9:15am on the morning of Tuesday May 1st, I received my site placement! And my new home is…. (drum roll please)…… EL TAMARINDO! (Without saying much else, this doesn’t really mean anything). Lets get some perspective on this. El Tamarindo is a small community of 300 people, which is 10KM south of Dajabon, the provincial Capitol of the Province of Dajabon. It is a northern border province and my host family lives about a 5 minute walk from the Haitian Border. When I first got the news in my packet, there was some initial confusion because my boss told me that it was not really an isolated site, but the packet information said limited water access and no electricity. I feel like those are conflicting thoughts there. My and Marie were both having mini panic attacks on what that meant for our communication until I actually made it to my site. I kept assuring her that everything was going to be ok and that we would figure it out. Marie, the genius she is, bought me a portable solar panel charger that charges my cell phone so I knew that I could at least keep my cell charged. After a stressful day of training, I went home to pack my things and begin preparing myself for leaving for my community the next day.

There is an event called Community Entry Day, when everyone’s project partner comes to Santo Domingo and there is a small, formal get together for everyone to meet their Key Community Contacts. I was picked up by one of my project partners, Lin, and a fellow PCV, Ari, who lives close to my site. The journey to my site took quite a long time, about 6 ½ hours in total. This is one of the longest travel times that any PCV experiences in this country when traveling from the Capitol. When I made it to my site, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I do have electricity! Hooray! There are power lines running along the main dirt road of my community and just about every house has it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the power is on 24/7, but the infrastructure does exist!

My host family is awesome and I love them. It is a household of three generations. The dona (mother of the house) is Nena, she is 85. Her daughter Marinella lives there along with her son Maycol who is 18 and his wife, Arisdana. They are all super awesome people and it has been really great to get to know them.  It has been a slow but awesome process getting to know people here and I will definitely write some more about my community in the coming days.  For now, enjoy the shots I took of the sunset from my porch!

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