Monthly Archives: July 2012

Preparing my new house!

Its time for another blog post! Hooray!

This one is going to be short and sweet:

I got my own place! (FINALLY!) I know that I technically got permission to move out early (don’t ask how i did it) but i was really in some serious need of my own space. The house won’t be ready to be lived in until the 25th but nonetheless, I am super excited about it. It is a cement bloc house with 3 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and shower stall built to the back of the house with iron bars on all the windows for added security. This little slice of dominican heaven comes to for just 1000 RD pesos/month !! (Read: $25USD/month)

I could not be happier with my new place. However, it does need a lot of work. So far the house has had the following replaced (almost entirely done by me): 2 new outside doors, 3 new door frames, 3 new locks, a top to bottom cleaning and scrubbing, new mounted shower door, built a table, built a dresser, ran a new PVC pipe for my water, wired the entire house for electricity(very proud of myself for this one), built a large storage box) I still need to get on my roof and plug some holes in it and finish furnishing it.

Also, heres a little disclaimer for anyone who wants to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. Peace Corps DOES NOT supply with you with enough money to prepare your house. NOT EVEN CLOSE. So make sure to bring some money from home for that. It will make your life a lot easier in the long run. 

I am extremely excited for my new move and will update my blog with some fully furnished pics as well. I will in the meantime put up some first pics I have taken so you all can see what its like. Enjoy!

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Finishing up my diagnostic phase

Well I’m finally finishing up my diagnostic phase of my service. I have completed all of my interviews, crunched my data, completed a community map. All I have left to do is complete a seasonal calendar (which is like almost finished) and finished a SWOT analysis of my community.

Here’s a few statistics for you about my community:

-I work with 3 communities named: Don Miguel, El Tamarindo, and La Penita. There are 329 people combined in all 3 communities. It is a 60/40 split between people older than 18 and younger than 18. We have a 68/32 split of wood houses versus cement block houses and we are only 11% of the community lacks concrete floors. Which is a really good thing. 42% of the 3 communities has a latrine in very bad condition and 84% primarily cook with wood. 73% of the community suffers from a lack of potable water which is attributed to the horrific performance of our aqueduct. And over 90% of the community thinks our awful dirt road is a serious threat to the stability of the community.

As of right now it seems like there are several good solid projects I have outlined for myself. To start, I think we will be doing a small project of 30 or so composting latrines. I have already started collecting materials for them, I have molds for the concrete seats and I have a mason who knows how to build them and is ready to start as soon as we can raise the money. Truth be told, I’m not really supposed to be preparing projects, but I figure some early preparation can hurt, plus It will help me out in the long run.

Additionally, it looks like a project of 60 or so improved wood burning cook stoves will be needed in my community. This is a project i am very excited about doing because I think they have huge environmental and public health benefits in the community.

As far as the potable water issue, I have managed to secure a copy of the paperwork for the aqueduct and the engineering plans. I have identified some potential culprits as to affecting our lack of water pressure and am slowly working on what i can do to fix this.

Additionally it looks like I will be doing some environmental education with the kids in the local grade school and potentially some English classes as well. Im not so sure about the English classes as of yet. But we will see.

 

In other news, I found a house! Its concrete bloc with  patio, 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and outside shower. It has iron bars on the windows for security and it comes all for the price of 1000 pesos(~$25USD). Not a bad deal at all! I am slowly putting it together and will be moved in by the end of this month! This is a very very exciting thing because I am starting go a little crazy without some privacy in my life. And I really need to eat something besides boiled yucca twice a day. But soon, very soon, I will have complete autonomy over my diet and my life. And it can’t come soon enough!

 

Additionally, I am now just 29 days away from seeing my girlfriend Marie!!!!! It’s incredible how the days have passed. I remember when we had 160 days to go and how that seemed so far away. But 29 days is now so close and it seems so tangible! I can almost taste it! We are going to have 2 incredible weeks together and I am just holding out until August 3rd. Every other new volunteer has left their site at least once for a little mini vacation and I have been in mine the whole time working hard, so I’m sure you can understand how much I am looking forward to get away for a bit, especially with the person who I love most in this world!

 

I promise that the next blog post with be full of pictures. I have just been feeling some anxiety whipping out a nice shiny digital SLR in a place where televisions are considered a luxury and all the neighbors come over to watch it. I hate reinforcing the stereotype that Americans are just loaded with money and can buy whatever they want. But i guess it comes with how we project our culture out into the world. Anyways, I promise I’ll be back very soon with lots of photos!

Nos vemos!

 

 

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