Today started at 8AM...way too early! We tried to shower for the last time for 10 days in the little rundown thing they called a shower...but it wouldn't work. Oh well. We were surprised there was a shower anyway! We were packed and ready to be at breakfast at 8:30. They had a breakfast of eggs, rolls, and ham for us. Yummy! The nuns cooked it! They had a FANTASTIC juice! It was half Orange Juice and half pineapple juice! YUM YUM! Poor Cam couldn't eat anything because of the eggs....even the rolls had eggs in them. Miguel had been kind enough to bring extra egg free snacks with him though, so Cam had cheesy crackers for breakfast! We filled our water bottles with good water, go in the van and started a 3.5 hour drive to San Juan de Maguana. It was awesome to see everything, the culture, the people, the vegitation...EVERYTHING! We drove crazy again...nothing new there. Everytime the van would slow down or stop people would jump on the van and try to sell somethingl ike bananas or avocado's even corn. They would look in the windows, blow kisses, whatever! They would even ride along a little on the base runners of the van! There are no enforced traffic laws, so it is just chaos. I've never seen so many motorcycles in my whole life....not even in Jamaica or Mexico! They are all over the place...and I mean that quite literally! The drive once we were out of Santo Domingo was beautiful except for the trash that was laying around everywhere. It's kinda sad how much trash lays around in such a beautiful place. We went through little towns, villages, here and there and a couple military check points. Cam liked to see the big rifles the military men had! I couldn't stay awake. I fell asleep....so did Cam. We had a Dominican driver and a helper. The helper sat by the door and protected it when we slowed down because people would try to get in for a ride or to sell stuff. When we were on the open road though...the helper took a nap on Dave's shoulder! They are REALLY friendly here! :-) We got to San Juan around lunch time. It is a medium sized town. We didn't know where we would be staying.....we were told to be prepared for anything...but Miguel really came through for us! He rented a nice house in the only upscale neighborhood in San Juan. Most of the people in this neighborhood were government officials. They are the only people who have money in the Dominican because the government is so corrupt. This particular house was owned by a judge. The house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a living/dining area...there is no furniture, except bunk beds and matresses. Everyone had a soft place to sleep at least. The bathrooms are nice, but we still can't flush the toilet and we can't use the shower. Well...we can use it to stand in and pour water over us from a bucket...but we can't "USE" the shower. There is also no air....so we spend our time outside as it is cooler than inside. Most of the houses in the Dominican don't have windows anyway...they just have these shutter things that open and close to get a breeze in.
Here is a picture of some of the kids playing hackey sack under our balcony. Cam is in the green shirt.
We ate lunch outside, rice, beans and REALLY bony chicken. It was tasty though. I took a lot of Ibuprofen as it was my first full day with no mountain dew. I did alright considering! After lu nch wel earned about our ouse, how to take care of it, etc. Then we learned about the Domoinican people and what is okay to them, what is not okay, etc. Then....to my horror....he sent us out on a scavenger hunt. We broke up into three groups. I was the primary Spanish speaker in my group. I was very nervous.....so much so that I was sick to my stomach. I did learn how to "flush" a #2 before we left! :-) Luckily....my roommate Jen, showed me how to bucket flush. Quite the experience. ANYWAY.....
Here is a picture from our balcony looking at the street and some of the homes around us.
Here is another picture from our balcony.
Cam, myself, Darwin, Brooke, Heather and Maggie were in our group. Our first location to find was the Cathedral. We asked several people, "Donde esta el catedral?" We got a lot of "Derecha....y derecha...ye derecha..." which means right. I couldn't figure out why they kept telling us to go right.....it took me awhile to remember that "derecha' means right....but "derechO" means straight! Oops! They also don't pronounce the end of their words well...in my defense! We finally gave up...and went looking for the Mercado nuevo. We found it...then went looking for the emprintar carrias....most people said, "no se", so we ended up at el super mercado de tituras which was our final destination. We were the first to get there....but we also didn't find two of the locations! We did observe many things...they are very resourceful people! I saw a stool made out of a tire, there are water barrels all over collecting rain water, they know how to get an entire family...and then some...around on their motorcycle! We even saw a mattress going down the street on the back of a motorcycle! We saw women carrying water on their heads, children doing the same. And EVERYONE without a doubt, EVERYONE is SUPER nice! They are very touchy feely though...which bothered Cam...but that's good for him! People invite you in and they don't even know you!
Here is a picture of some of their resourcefulness. Notice the blue tub on the top of this house...it collects rain water. It rains almost daily there, so they get some pretty good water that way.
We did a little shopping at el supermercado titura. Cam got Zacaritos because we will have eggs most mornings...and he is allergic to eggs. Zacarios are Spanish Frosted Flakes! Even Tony the Tiger was on the box! We made it back to the house...it was SCORCHING hot out. We debriefed in the back...while Cam and a lot of the other kids tried to catch lizards! Dinner was Carne, Yucca and Plaintains. We will have this at every dinner meal also. The carne was good...but I don't know WHAT kind of carne it was...nobody seemed to know. Scary.... After dinner, Cam and I did the dishes and we sat around and did a couple more testimonies. Then we sang songs in Spanish and English. The neighbor lady goes to bed around 9:30, and she likes it quiet. So we wanted to respect that...so we also had a bedtime of 9:30. These houses are so close together and made out of concrete that even a whisper travels loudly....so we wanted to be very quiet. Before bed though, Cam and I filled out buckets with rain water and took them to different bathrooms. The girls slept upstairs and the boys slept downstairs. There were two bathrooms upstairs and two bathrooms downstairs...so it was perfect. Anyway, in the shower....we had a cup and we just poured freezing cold rain water all over ourselves...we still don't want to get it in our mouths though...so we had to be very careful. The water was startling at first because it was so cold...but it was refreshing as I had been sweating all day....but as soon as I got out to dry off...I started sweating again! I was very discouraged! Here is a picture of some of our team coming back from taking our dinner left overs to the neighbors across the street. The mom has 4 children...two are twin girls that are mentally handicapped....she lives with her mother. They are in financial need, so we take them plenty of food after each meal.
I laid down with my little battery powered Walmart fan, put my iPod on and relaxed. The evening cools fairly well, so we had our door to the balcony open....but the dogs were obnoxious. They are EVERYWHERE and they are LOUD! There are little dog gangs....seriously! They bark and fight a majority of the night...making sleeping a bit more difficult...