Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dios, Patria, Libertad!

God, Fatherland, Liberty. This is the motto of the Dominican Republic. This was heard by the children of Doulos on Friday as they celebrated Independence Day. The Dominican Republic received independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844. To celebrate this, the children of Doulos performed dramas, gave speeches, danced and celebrated. Here are some pics to show this...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

Many people want to know what it is like to live in the Dominican Republic. Sometimes, it is hard to describe it to someone who has never been here before. I want to help you get a glimpse into what it is like to live here.

This blog post is dedicated to the students at Chelsea High School. Thank you for sending me some great questions about life in the DR!


There are many different types of food here. Dominicans eat a lot of rice, beans, and chicken.

A popular dish here is called Pastelón. This is a lasagna- type dish made with either plantains, yucca, or (in the case of this picture) eggplant.

Another common dish is called Sancocho. This is a type of soup where just about everything is thrown into the pot- plantains, potatoes, yucca, chicken, beef, etc.


Here in Jarabacoa, most things are close enough to walk to. However, people do use vehicles to get around. The most common form of transportation is motorcycle.

If you do not have a motorcycle or a car, then you might need to take a concho. A concho is a motorcycle taxi. You can find conchos waiting just about anywhere in the heart of town. If there are too many of you to take a concho, you can take a guagua, which is a taxi mini-bus.

Nature on the island:

Yes, I am living on an island, however the nearest beach is over 2 hours away. I am living in the mountains. There are 2 rivers running through this area, forming beautiful waterfalls throughout the region.

Creepy Crawlers:
Since the DR is in the tropics, we have your typical tropical creepy crawlers. Cockroaches, ants, lizards, geckos, spiders, etc. I have only seen 1 tarantula since arriving here (thankful it has only been one) and one 3-inch spider that was crawling around my closet.
I hope this helps you get a little glimpse as to what it is like to live here. I will try to post more pictures in the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From the comfort of my own house...

I am writing this blog entry while sitting on the couch from the comfort of my own house. Yes, that means that I have internet at home. What a wonderful feeling to know that I can continue to talk to other people, check email, and update my blog without having to do it before leaving the school. Now, perhaps I can update my blog more often. (Please make sure I do!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Test has arrived!!

Have you ever been excited about a test? Yesterday, I was extremely excited about a test. The test that we ordered- the test I will use to help determine disabilities- arrived in the mail. I am very excited about this. I have been waiting for it to arrive- and it finally has.

It arrived in 5 separate packages. The entire test, administrator manuals, etc. are all in Spanish. It is going to take me a little while to read through it all and figure out exactly what I need to do to give this test and get accurate results.

I thought I was busy before, but now the hard work begins!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Got talent?

On Friday night, the 8th graders at Doulos had a talent show. The money raised from this talent show went to support Haiti. They had people audition for the show in advance and then charged people for admission to the show. Many children and staff from Doulos participated. The show ended with a performance from the worship team of one of the local churches.

Many of the 5th grade class that I have been working with decided to participate. They sang the song "God of Wonders" and I taught them some sign language to go with the chorus of the song. They did a good job, despite the difficulties they had in practice.

Below are some pictures and videos from the show. Overall, the talent show raised over 10,000 pesos (over $270) for Haiti.

This is the 5th graders singing "God of Wonders".

This is R, another 5th grader, who decided to sing solo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bible Excitement

This week, along with all of the duties I have with designing the special education program, putting together all of the program documents in both English and Spanish, observing children in grades K-12, giving diagnostic evaluations and grading them, I am also teaching 5th grade. The teacher had to make an unexpected trip to the U.S. this week, so I am teaching the classes, at least partly. The school’s substitute teacher has other classes that she has been teaching for teachers who are out, so she is only able to come in to 5th grade for part of the Math class, science, and geography. That leaves me to cover Bible/Devotions, Math, and English (with the help of the ESL teacher.)

I knew I would be teaching Math and English this week and had discussed plans with Ciara, the 5th grade teacher, last week. However, I found out that I would be teaching Bible 2 minutes before class on Monday. Surprise! As I was heading to class with the kids, I was praying that I would know what to teach. When we got to class, we sang a song first. Then, I got the Bible out and turned to Romans. Romans 10:9-10. The students copied those verses from their Bibles into their notebooks. That was going to be the verse of the week.

Today, I had the kids get together with a partner. Each partner pair received an envelope with the verse in it- both in English and Spanish- cut up word by word and mixed together. Their assignment was to put the pieces together as a puzzle to form the verses in both languages. They were really excited about this.

As they put their puzzle together, they kept repeating the verse over and over again- trying to get it in order. As time came for the class to end, they were still working. Their Spanish teacher arrived for Spanish class, and they actually kicked her out of the room. They wanted to keep working- to get their verses finished. They worked an extra 10 minutes before we finally had to stop (most groups had finished their puzzles).

What a joy to see the kids so excited to learn verses of the Bible!

Dominican-style driving

Here in the D.R., people drive semi-“normal”. They drive on the right side of the road. They stop at stop signs and red lights, when they are there. They even use turn signals- sometimes. The motorcycles, which outnumber the cars at least 5 to 1, usually weave in and out of the cars, pulling in front of them or alongside of them in tight spots.

The thought of actually driving here can be a scary thought. However, on Monday, I did just that.

One of my new roommates was having a small birthday party at our house for a friend of hers. She was running late and there were a few things she needed at the store. She asked me if I would run up to the store and get them. Sure, I wasn’t busy. I could go. She then handed me the keys to her car. I thought I would be walking, but nope, I was going to be driving. Wow. My first time driving in the D.R. and actually my first time driving in Latin America!

I was nervous just pulling out of the tight space in our driveway and out onto the narrow street with motorcycles passing behind the car. Once I got onto the main road, I felt more comfortable. I made it to the store and back with no problems.

When I got back, she told me that if I ever need to borrow her car, I can. It could be fun getting out and driving around- going places too far to walk.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Finally getting settled

This week has been a productive week. I have started to finally get settled into life here in the DR. Two major things to help with this process took place this week.

  1. I got a Dominican cell phone. Yes, I finally got a Dominican cell phone. I have been here almost a month and have not been able to get to the cell phone store to get one. The few times I had a chance and tried going, the store was closed. Anyway, I now have a way of communicating with my new colleagues, so I feel more connected with people here.
  2. I have finally moved into my new house. This is a major adjustment and a major advancement in getting settled here. I no longer have to live out of my suitcase and jump around from one person’s house to another. I am living with 3 women. Two of them work with me at Doulos and one works with Students International. We seem to be getting along very well so far.

Pictures coming soon. Keep checking back!