Peralvi-Bro

I’ve officially spent as much time here in Peralvillo than I spent in Santo Domingo, and yet the time has gone by twice as fast. It seems a bit counter-intuitive that in such a tranquil, relaxed town that time can somehow speed up, but time flies when you’re… You get it.

My new host family is AMAZING! My Doña runs a cafeteria out of the house and so I am consistently getting force-fed some of the best food available in town (lucky me!). Across the street from is a big colmado, or corner store, with tons of tables to play dominos and a never-ending stream of bachata flowing from their huuuge speakers. So naturally, I have no option but to play (and lose) dominos and dance with the neighbors every night. This place has me feeling more and more Dominican… Even if I am still the only gringo in the neighborhood. Peralvillo is a tremendously beautiful town in the interior of the country and the economy here is based almost exclusively on cacao. Yes, that cacao. The one chocolate comes from. Never have I ever had such rich, natural, flavorful chocolate! The fruit itself is also quite tasty, and they use it to make cacao wine… Also delish. And strong. It’s almost as if they decided to make our training site based on a list of my favorite things. So before you get carried away, we really do have work to do here. Between our technical sessions, Spanish classes (and projects), community diagnostics, and business interviews, we have been quite busy. A few of us are enjoying ourselves here so much that we are taking our business training and turning it into an excuse to open a business of our very own after our service. Good thing we still have 25.5 more months to brainstorm!

We find out our permanent sites and our projects in 17 days, not that I’m counting or anything. The suspense can be kind of overwhelming, but we have had several meetings with our CED director to figure out our skills, projects of interest, and general desires for service so I’m confident that I will get placed in a site where I will be successful (and hopefully beachside). In all honesty, it doesn’t really matter where I’m located because I haven’t stopped sweating in 6 weeks. They say that you get accustomed to the Caribbean heat and humidity, and I sure hope so. It doesn’t matter that you’re wearing business casual clothes if they’re drenched anyway, right?

This week I got my first package from the states (thanks Mom!!!!). Some clothes, shoes, candy, but most importantly, hand sanitizer! I never knew I could be so dirty all the time and that shit is like absolute gold here among us volunteers.

As frustrating as it can be sometimes to be constantly so busy (and don’t forget sweaty), all I have to do is look outside my window at the palm, mango, cacao, and banana trees swaying gently in the island breeze to remind myself of how truly blessed I am to have a chance to take part in this adventure. Speaking of trees… Gotta go get some firewood for our bonfire down at the river tonight!

I can’t wait for some visitors! (Hint, hint)

Until the next time, everyone. Besos y abrazos,

-Andrés

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