Saturday, February 15, 2014

Recent Happenings in my Kitchen

Now that I don't live with a host family I finally have full control over my diet...which means a few less rice and beans meals. And not much meat because I hate raw meat and here if you want chicken you're getting all of the chicken, including the feet. barf.

Food availability here can be tricky. Sometimes rice and beans is all you can get and in that case that's what volunteers eat. Some have never cooked a meal here because they continue to eat at their host family's house. I live in a decent sized pueblo so my food availability is pretty good.
The Dominican diet doesn't have nearly as many veggies in it as the American one. Maybe that's just my opinion, but I happen to like veggies so I stock up when the truck comes by.

Some veggies in their routine bleach bath before consumption. 
Apparently I was hungry? Yes those are Kraft singles. There are some things I just can't live without!

Veggie fried rice with teriyaki sautéed cabbage

Cucumber-onion-dill vinegar salad
Passion fruit juice :)

Midnight snack: Peanut butter and banana sandwich with homemade dark chocolate sauce

Rosemary pan fried potatoes with cheese and 2 over easy eggs. And hot sauce. 

Tuna salad on whole wheat toast. 

There you have it. Because I know you were wondering what I eat these days.  There are things I can buy here in my pueblo, things I have to buy in Nagua (wheat bread, yogurt, kraft singles, cereal) and things I have to buy in Santo Domingo (good cheese, salad dressing, good hot sauce, olives). Enjoy all your delicious food (and conveinence) up there in America!!! And your dishwasher. Man I hate washing dishes. 

xoxo Kaley

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When I work

So you could definitely say that Peace Corps volunteers do not work a typical work schedule. In fact, when we arrive to country they tell us that we work 24/7.

My thoughts exactly. 

And it's the truth. Kind of. I'm a huge believer in "if you love your job you never work a day in your life".  Because it's true! 
How is it that I work 24/7 you ask? Well, the three main goals of Peace Corps are:

  • To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
  • To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
  • To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans

So let's break it down.
Goal #1. Meeting the need for trained peeps. I'm here, and I'm doing everything I can for my project. So that's like the actual going to my project and working part, which I do probably 3-4 days of the week. I also teach an income generation class to women and hang out with young people, injecting my dos pesos about how they need to graduate from college and wait to get married and have kids (not necessarily in that order) whenever I can .
Goal #2. Spreading the joy of American culture. I am doing this every time I leave my house by getting started at, 24/7. I'm used to it by now. Practicing English with Dominicans, talking about food, customs, weather etc in the US and answering any other ridiculous questions (what year is it in the United States?).
Goal #3. Spreading the joy of other cultures with Americans. Believe it or not, sadly, this is the hardest one. You ass holes who are outraged by the Coca Cola Super Bowl commercial are not making it any easier. But this blog is a good example of goal #3. Talking about my experiences with I'm home is another...but the real life saver for goal #3 is social media. Instagram, specifically. If you're on Instagram check out the pics other PCVs upload by searching #peacecorps. Pretty awesome.

In addition to all of that, I gotta integrate into this culture, gain trust from the people I live and work with, make friends and do all of this in Spanish. It's a lot. And often stressful.

So that's why I don't feel too bad when we have our regional minivac meetings at the beach....

In our swimsuits. With plenty of booze in pineapples. 

Then we stopped by the Laguna Dudu on our way back to Nagua. Laguna Dudu is like this huge lagoon above underwater caves. It's about 20% saltwater and they have an awesome park and zipline. Fabulousness. 

Boys playing soccer right before Jackson broke his toe :(

On Sunday I headed to Santo Domingo early with my host mom to the Geraghty med mission (more info here). Last April she had her thyroid removed and when they did the surgery they also paralyzed one of her vocal chords. When I got the email from PC that Geraghty was bringing an ENT specialist I immediately sent an email to see if there was anything they could do. Dr. G emailed me back saying they would bring the equipment to inject her paralyzed vocal chord in hopes to make her talk and breathe normally. She'd kill me if she knew I put this on the internet but here she is post surgery happy as a clam!

Everything turned out well and hopefully within a month she will see results. 

Sunday night despite being exhausted I dragged myself to a sports bar (like a good American) with some other volunteers who were translating at the med mission to watch the Super Bowl and eat wings. There were margaritas too. 

My trip to the Capital will end tomorrow with maybe on of the coolest things I am working on here. I was invited to work on a commission with the United Nations Development Program to work on a project platform for a sustainable cacao industry here in the DR. All of the big players in the cacao sector are participating and it's an awesome initiative to improve the productivity of an industry that has an incredibly high demand internationally. Info here on the program in general and a detailed description of the project here (in Spanish, sorry non bilingual friends). 

Love and paz from the DR!! xoxo