Sunday, July 28, 2013


If you know me, you know I am a planner. I like to plan activities and trips right down to the tiniest details. I just can't help it! I like to have a plan. 

Down here I continue to be a planner but with a few exceptions. You see, just about everything here is by the seat of your pants. Here I thought I'd be spending the past week in my site but a last minute phone call from the training boss led me to be in the capital or creole training. 

I might wake up one morning at 7:30 and think I have nothing going on but a day long activity will materialize within minutes and I'll be off. I say day long because NOTHING here can be done quickly if you require the services of a business. Or public transportation. Oh god public transportation. 

Anyway. So I have learned to just always be prepared for anything when I leave the house in the morning because you just never know where ill end up! 

After 4 days of Creole training I was pretty worn out. We were due to finish Friday at noon but I was somehow convinced to leave at 9am to head back to my site so Erin and Tyler (who want to start a fish farming project on their own) could see the fishes in my site. Then of course we get stuck in the mud while going out to the reservoir. Whoops. 
And since Erin and I were in the back of the pickup truck, we came out of this situation covered in mud. 

However, they were able to see the fish cages and go out on them to get a good idea of how the process works. 

Then after a shark sandwich we headed down to Los Patos for a little goodbye get together for a friend who is leaving on Tuesday to go back to the states. 

Also picked up a Larimar bracelet from the shop on the way down. Larimar is a stone that can only be found in the DR!

A good time was had by all. Except for the raging hangover I had on the bus ride back to Barahona. Which took forever, of course. 

Also, in case you're wondering how our spare time in the capital was spent after creole training...

Eating any and all food that we can't get in our sites, obviously. 

Time here is flying! I've been in country for almost 5 months now. I'm hoping to move into my new house mid August, so more on that to come. 

P.S. don't even ask if I learned creole. I can say a few things but dear lord I have completely forgot how to learn languages. 

Xoxo Kaley 

Friday, July 19, 2013

House Hunters International - Peace Corps Version

It's true. My three months living with Mari are winding down. My diagnostic period is officially over August 6, which is when I will be heading to Santo Domingo with my project partner Mimi to present my community and organizational diagnostic to my fellow business volunteers. 
Meanwhile, I've been on the hunt for a house of my own. For some volunteers, the hunt is long and painful because there are a lot of options but it's hard to find the right fit. Goldilocks style. Too big too small, no bathroom, no water, too expense etc. And then once you find one, peace corps has to come inspect it to make sure it fits the bill. 
I, on the other hand really only had one option. You see, in bateys and small communities there are usually very few options or you have a house built for you. Mimi was gracious enough to track down this house for me. It's perfect. 2 bedrooms, one bath, kitchen and living room. And front porch obviously because that's not optional in the DR. Porch siting is the #1 way to matar el tiempo (kill time). In plastic chairs. Anyway, this casa has 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen an living room. It's not quite done yet, and my landlord needs a year advance (I know, wtf right?) as a deposit to finish the inside. He's still gotta put in countertops, build me a closet, hook up the electricity and paint the inside. 

There it is. It's in the new part of my community so there's lots of construction around it. Also just behind it they are building an office for the women of my project!
The only downside is I'm paying way too much to live in a batey. We started negotiations at $2000 pesos a month (approximate $50) and although I only wanted to pay $1000, ended at $1500 (about $38 a month). I know it seems like nothing but hey, I'm a volunteer. 
Paying too much? Probably. But here's how I look at it: rent going up in a community is a sign of development, right? The new neighborhood is posh, I'm tellin ya. 
AND I'm going to have running water for the first time since I moved to the Dominican Republic!!!!!! This is even more exciting for me right now because the water hasn't come to my community in over 2 weeks...which is not easy for anyone. Definitely not a first world problem. 

Yesterday my phone rang and I was invited to Creole training in the capital for the week! I'm leaving Sunday to spend the week in Santo Domingo and hopefully learn some Creole and stay with my doña from training. I'm super excited to see her and even more excited for her cooking. 
This means I need to get my diagnostic done ASAP. The last two days I've been working furiously to get as much done as possible. Here are a few pics from around my community that I'll be including in the diagnostic:

The new neighborhood

What will be the office for the project!

Hope you all are well! Besos, Kaley 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

4th of July in the DR

I'm not gonna say too much about this weekend because the pics are going to speak a thousand words. 
This weekend started at 3:30am on Thursday to catch the bus to Santo Domingo in order to catch the 8am bus to Samana and then catch the last and final bus to Las Galeras which is where quite a few peace corps volunteers spent this glorious holiday of American pride. I had no idea how much I needed a little vacation until I got here and then decided to stay an extra night. There was a party, bonfire and this...
Then there was lots of beach. And rum. And some cerveza too. It's absolutely beautiful here...

In the back of a pickup truck on our way back to the house after a 2 hour hike to Rincon!
Andy's feelings about the hike. 

Tomorrow I'm headed back to my site and back to the grind. Hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July! 

Besos, Kaley