Thursday, August 13, 2009

the pit of despair and other landmarks

Hi guys! So, not that much is new with me since the last update. I’ve been settling in at the DREAM Center, working on updating the manual for computer classes and a grant application. I now have some pretty bourgeoisie problems to deal with: my manual is for PCs and we have Macs! The lab doesn’t have air conditioning! But these are both kind of important, since Macs are different enough from PCs that the manual needs a lot of work to be comprehensible for beginner computer students. And without air conditioning these new computers are going to get super effed-up by the heat here. (That is not the exact phrasing I am using in my grant application, but you get the gist..)

I’ve also been getting to know my new fellow volunteers. It is funny: we go out to Happy Hour after work, like we are in America or something! Better than America, even, since Happy Hour is on the beach. Uh, where even am I? Am I still in the Peace Corps?

Perhaps most excitingly, I have been walking home from work. This is exciting because the last few days my street has been ripped up by a big earthmover. Apparently they are fixing some pipes down there or something, which is good since our water situation has been dire lately. (Like, half an hour of running water a day, which I have to obsessively monitor and then fill buckets when it comes.) But now, since the entire street has become a Pit of Despair, I have to scramble home over a very narrow strip of sand. Although “strip” sounds misleadingly flat—it is a narrow series of piles. Of sand. That I scramble over in flip-flops. Meanwhile, neighbors helpfully call out “Cuidado!” (“Careful!”), as if I am not already painfully aware that one misstep will send me straight down into the Pit of Despair. (OK, it is like five feet deep and I probably wouldn’t die. I could probably climb back out again. But it would be so awkward.)

Also, I have prepared for you all a small photo tour of my new barrio and apartment, including the Pit of Despair! Enjoy.

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Here is the earthmover responsible for the Pit of Despair.

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I am not sure if you can accurately detect the depth of the Pit here. Oh, it is deep.

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This child is far better at navigating the edge of the Pit than I.

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After successfully crossing the Pit, you arrive at my apartment! Not pictured: my apartment extends for about three inches past the door on the other side, but I couldn't get it all in the frame.

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Here is my kitchen area! I put the cutting board on the stove to make a counter. One day I will probably melt my cutting board.

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I thought about cleaning up before doing the photo tour, but then I thought no, you should see how I live! Thus, here is my bed/couch/table/nest, unmade. But the table is set for lunch, which inquiring mothers will be happy to note includes a fruit AND a vegetable. (Perhaps this is only detectable in the large version: it's pineapple, carrots, and a falafel wrap that I made myself because I am awesome.)

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The front half (third, really) of the apartment. The TV doesn't work, but the ceiling fan does.

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Here is the DREAM center! Perhaps it is not that exciting to look at. Dreams are invisible.

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Oh hey, here's Playa Cabarete. I can walk there in about fifteen minutes. Just sayin'.

There are some more pictures at my Flickr. My dad particularly will be interested in the additional shots available of the Pit of Despair and related equipment.