I can’t believe I haven’t updated my blog since December… my how time flies! I guess I will dedicate this blog to catching you up on my last few months so that I can start blogging about all of the weird-silly-straight-up-crazy-situations again. Sometimes I seriously wonder if my body lets off a weird magnetic field that directs all the weird stuff/people in the universe towards me. Just sayin… Anyways, I think the last time I blogged was right after our big world AIDS day event so here is how the last few months have gone
I dedicated the months of November and December to graduating my groups of rural health promoters and teenage peer educators. They had to put up with me training them for 6 months so I figured they deserved a little celebration
Here are a couple random photos:
When everyone in my community found out I was going home for Christmas they started preparing gifts for me to bring home to my family. I ended up bringing home 75lbs of gifts that included a rug made from a rice sack and old clothes, homemade candies made from the fruit trees in our yard (papaya candy, coconut candy, cherry candy, etc), rum, cigars, coconuts filled with rum, handmade jewelry, clothes, and a flask made from a cow horn. I then returned to the Dominican Republic with a giant suitcase filled with gifts for my community, and I realized when I got back that I hadn’t brought anything for myself haha.
|Host Mom Preparing Papaya Candy|
I got to go home for Christmas! It was my first time being home after a year and 4 months so it was a little bit of a culture shock. My mom had a bajillion doctors appointments set up for me… all in the first 36 hours of being home. The second night I was home I got to go to a fancy party under a space ship with my old friend Nick. I felt super awkward and uncomfortable. I mean can you imagine… a dirty hippie peace corps volunteer fresh off the boat, so to speak, in a fancy dress and heels. Oh and we cant forget about the conversations… lets just say the topics of the evening did not revolve around bowel movements, worms coming out of weird orifices, or how to kill a chicken. So I was pretty much at a loss. Luckily my date was very gracious. In fact, he even made a joke about Dominicans not using utensils after I dropped a piece of salmon in my lap. Oh Amanda hahaha.
|Under the space shuttle!|
|All cleaned up!|
Lets see… I also got to spend an amazing weekend with all of my friends in Santa Barbara and I DROVE THE LITTLE TOOT!!!
Lastly, one of my favorite people in the world, Grandpa Fred, passed away while I was home. He was one of the best role models a girl could ask for, and he touched so many lives with his kind heart and strict, yet silly demeanor (this was obvious by the staggering number of people that showed up for the service). The most important lesson he taught me is to not take myself too seriously. Well, that, and to sing loud and proud no matter who is watching or how horrible your voice is (those of you who were at the funeral experienced that lesson first hand). The last time I spoke to Grandpa Fred was Thanksgiving via skype. He sang his favorite verse of “I love you California” (one of his favorites) loud and proud for all of my peace corps friends to hear. I returned the favor at his funeral, and then changed the words to the second verse in his honor. Call me crazy, but I think he heard me because the next day a Jeep commercial came out with that exact verse of “I love you California” and it played almost every commercial break. It may just be a coincidence, but I choose to believe otherwise J
Funny side note: Before I sang I said, “I’m not going to lie, I have the worst voice in the world, but I am going to sing loud and proud like Grandpa Fred taught me”. After the service my mother’s best friend from high school came up to me and said “You are the most honest person I have ever met… you really do have the worst voice in the world!” hahaha.
All in all, the service was beautiful and very fitting for a man of his caliber. I was touched by the amount of work all of his friends and family put into making sure he had a perfect send off. He also got a full military service with the color guard, gunshots, bugle, etc. Overall I think he felt the tremendous love that everyone here has for him, and he knows he will be missed!
Back in the DR:
I have now returned to the DR and I have my work cut out for me! I helped translate for two different medical missions. The first was a group of plastic surgeons that were helping people with deformities such as cleft lips, cleft palates, debilitating burns, deformed ears, etc. The second was a group of ENT doctors who were removing thyroids, helping people with hearing problems, removing tonsils etc. I love helping out with the different medical missions that come to the DR because it makes me realize how much I love working in a clinical setting. Plus, I love seeing the patients reactions to the aid they receiveJ
One of my favorite parts of being back in the DR is getting to spend time with my girls. My mom sent me home with baking goods so we have been baking on my stovetop with a dutch oven. The girls LOVE it!!
|My new, noisy next door neighbor!|
I have started teaching English twice a week at the request of my teens, I will be starting my exercise and nutrition course in the next two weeks, I am waiting for my grant to come through so I can start construction on the improved cook stoves. I am holding sub-regional conferences this week for my rural health promoters and teenage peer educators, and I will continue meeting with all of them on a monthly basis. I will also continue with deportes para la vida and who knows what else! I definitely have my work cut out for me for the next 9 months!