I sit now on the concrete patio in the back of casa de maria. Many sounds fill the air beyond my peaceful enclosure. The sounds of a rooster crowing, which occurs all the time no matter the the hour (it’s 2:30 pm now), music blasting from a car driving by, the sound of people talking in Spanish and yelling out on the streets, the rumbling
of a motorbike, someone working and pounding away at some infrastructure, birds chirping. The gathering clouds overhead threaten to rain, as they do everyday around this time. It’s either a tease or a thundering pour on the tin roof. I enjoy the daily afternoon rain because it’s the perfect excuse to hide indoors with hot chocolate or milk chocolate or lay down and catch a snooze. The kids enjoy the rain by taking showers in the gutters, it’s quite wonderful and different. Otherwise it’s so humid out that you’re always sweating here, and I wouldn’t even say it’s hot here, just real humid.
Now I’m living in a small town called La Victoria in La Dominicana Republica. Centered around a park, which is really just a large gazebo, are brightly coloured stores, restaurants, bars, and homes. Most places paint what they may sell, such as Pollo (chicken) or a razer for the barber shop, on their building, for I am assuming illiteracy. Very much of the people here, at least in La Victoria, have only received 7th-8th grade educations. This is because of the need to get a job and help support their family. One woman, told her testimony, said she lost both parents so she had to stop school to take care of her siblings.
On the outskirts of this inner center of the town are where most people live. Down dirt roads and paths, into villages of vivid coloured homes. Mango trees are ripe everywhere. Little boys come running toward me with mangos, one in their mouth, one extended to me. My nails will always be yellow orange here due to the mangos I’m forever peeling and eating, dripping the delicious fruit juice everywhere.
It’s mango season now, during the summer. In September it will be avocado season. For this I am very excited, but surely not for the end of mango season. The English teacher here said, when I went to teach a lesson on regret, “I’m sure you wish mango season never should end.” I could not agree more! My record thus far is 5 mangos in a day.
I’ve been living here now for nearly 3 weeks. There is so much i have to say, so much i have experienced. I’ll leave that to more posts. But for now, I am living away from the town and villages in a place called La Sanctuaridad de Schoenstatt. It is a Catholic shrine. I live with sisters here. So the first person to pick me up at the airport was a sister, wearing what you would expect a nun would. Of course I thought, well this is quite a new experience! And now, I must say that this place really is like heaven on Earth.
Thunder beckons. More to come in the future about what I’m really doing here. I do have one last thought: Could you imagine life as being a nun or monk, or something of the sort? It’s something that plagues my mind often (especially here or when I was in Thailand).