Friday, May 2, 2008

greetings from the center of faith and happiness

That´s what the school I´m assigned to work with is called, El Centro de Fe y Alegria. This is my third day here in my project site, and it´s pretty nice! It´s a high school with about 1000 students. The lab has 20ish computers, all of which work--pretty novel. There´s also a laptop and a projector, which are pretty prized commodities in Dominican labs. Regrettably, there is not Internet and thus far the only Internet cafe I´ve found in town is pretty slow. I guess that´s what I get for moving to a developing nation or whatever.

Project Partner Day--where all the new PCTs meet up with our project partners for the first time--was interesting. At first we were all milling around, waiting to be introduced to our partners, and idly speculating about the nun in the group of project partners. It turns out that I am working with the nun, and she is rad. She´s the principal of the school (it´s a public school, not a Catholic one) and is really on top of things and really supportive of me. My other project partner is the lab encargada (basically the boss of the lab) and she´s great too. My lab is already in good shape compared to what I´ve been trained to expect: it´s in good working order, it has working inversors (battery backups for the frequent power outages), it has classes for the community up and running... so my partner informed me that I don´t really have much to do with the lab, but could I teach English classes? I said sure, and the next thing I knew I was being taken from classroom to classroom and having it announced that I would soon be teaching English classes on nights and weekends, and they would be very inexpensive. Granted, I´m not really supposed to be doing anything in my first three months here except work on a community diagnostic project (more on that later, probably), and I am definitely supposed to be helping in the lab in some capacity, but I´m sure I can teach English too. I have, however, been warned that every community will beg for English classes and immediately lose interest after a few weeks, so we´ll see how that goes.

My new host family is nice. They´re vegetarian too, which is pretty rare and really nice! Regrettably, they also all abstain from coffee. They are heavily Adventista, which is one of the minority religions here. This is a source of conflict for my nun, who apologized profusely for the fact that I had to live with a family who wasn´t ¨Catholic like me.¨ Eh... whatever. It is also a source of conflict in that they apparently go to church for 12 hours a day on Saturday.... they leave at 9am and come back at 9pm. I´m committed to observing computer classes tomorrow so I won´t be able to experience that endless church session, but I feel I´ll eventually find myself without an excuse.

I´ll try to post some pictures when I can, si Dios quiere! (Si Dios quiere means, if God wills it. It´s kind of a Dominican catchphrase for uncertainty and/or getting out of stuff. ¨Sure, I´ll come to the meeting, si Dios quiere...¨)

Internet here is pretty slow and I´ve been pretty busy, so apologies if I´m even later than usual in returning email.


Reid said...

hahahaahahahahahahaha. I also regret we are not catholic like her.

Reid said...
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