September 7, 2013

Here's to you, Minnesota

I have now been in country for six months. It seems like it has gone by so fast. But at the same time, some days seem to drag by.  Since my last post life has changed a bit. I no longer live with a host family! I moved this past Wednesday, but I live a two minute walk from where my host family resides. My house is a small one bedroom. It was newly re-done with new tile and paint, so it looks really nice. I live in a quiet area of Cotui, but it’s still very close to the center of town. I also splurged and bought a queen sized bed to fit all of my visitors that will now be able to come and stay with me (hint, hint)!  I will post pictures eventually, but I don’t have very much furniture yet and the décor is lacking.

My first night at my house, I had three other volunteers sleep here—Tal, Seth, and Sam. Not that I needed three, but they all helped warm my house. My landlord lives right next to me and owns a water company—so I can get my water jug filled up at a discounted rate, and there is a colmado across the street where I can purchase things like eggs, veggies, and fruit.  For Dominicans it’s strange to them that I am a single girl living on my own. Usually you don’t move out of your parents’ house until you’re married. And so I constantly have my host parents and other women in my group coming to check on me. It’s nice that they care but at the same time, I’m glad I finally have my own space.

Another one of my women in the group, Nena spends half of her week right down the street from me. Recently I have been going over and spending evenings with her, learning to crochet the purses and talking about life.  (Side note: crocheting plastic bags is pretty difficult. Mostly because I’m so strong and usually rip the plastic.)

Currently I am working on a grant for my women’s group, which occupies a lot of my time. Since I want the grant process to be a learning experience for them I have to translate the entire grant. I could do the whole thing myself but I do not want them to have the mentality that because we have an American volunteer, she just gives our group money. I want them to want to work for it, as well as teach business lessons while we go through the process.  We will be planning on using the money for marketing purposes. They have minimal funding for marketing—which is not going to help sustain them in the long run.

We are also trying to decide on a new logo—which is another long, frustrating process. Sometimes I just want to do everything for them because I know I can do it better and more efficiently but then I realize that’s not why I am here—it’s to empower them. I hope by the end of these two years I become a more patient person through this process…some days I just am not so sure.

I don’t usually want to talk about the weather on here, but I have seen enough statuses from MN about the “heat wave” that you had. Well, let me tell you. One hundred degree days with 90% humidity is normal here for summer months (June-Sept). Let’s pair that with no A/C and inconsistent power.  Welcome to my reality.

And now for some really exciting news…I will be in Minnesota! December 19-30. Why?! Because I have the best parents a girl could ask for! So, I want to see you! Let me know if you’ll be in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area and we’ll make plans. So there’s that. I really hope Minnesota has snow, so if someone can make that happen, that would be fantastic as well.

Ready for summer to end,



  1. We get claim to you on Dec. 24 and 25, please! Mom

  2. We must have coffee sometime! And deciding on a logo? I WANT TO HELP! :)