Saturday, July 23, 2011

As of late.

Unlike the other posts, this blog will not begin with a long apology about the length of time since my last update. I will not give an extensive list of reasons of why I haven’t had time to share my life with friends and family back home, nor will I give the ever-so-popular, slightly overused justification that I am awful at keeping in touch with everyone. Nope. Not going to be a broken record.

Ok, maybe just a quick apology. To Mom: since you’re probably the only one still checking to see if there has been a miracle and I actually posted something on this thing, I am deeply sorry for letting you down.

Phew, I feel better. Now on to the good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean a general overview of what I’m up to as of late….so “the good stuff” could be an exaggeration. But “stuff” nonetheless.

So here go the bulleted points of my current activities:

• For the past 2 months, I’ve been teaching a business class that gives students the opportunity to write a plan for a business of their dreams. At the end of the course, the students who finish a plan are able to compete with kids across the country for a 70,000 peso prize to start their business. The course started off incredibly with 16 seemingly motivated students, excited to learn the ins and outs of marketing and finance, research and implementation, planning and doing! However, once they realized that I wasn’t going to just hand them the prize money and that they actually had to do a lot of work, the class quickly dwindled to a grand total of 6. And out of those 6, I have faith that MAYBE 3 will complete their business plan and have the opportunity to go to the competition. It was disappointing at first, but I’ve come to realize that the fact that there are 3 kids determined to write this plan with only guidance and instruction from a teacher is huge. I’m extremely proud of the students who are still involved with this, and I’ll keep you updated on whether or not we’re able to travel to the big Capital to compete!

• Still working with the girls’ group! And surprisingly still loving it. We’ve covered a lot of material in the few months that we’ve been a group, such as the following: self-esteem, individuality, hopes for the future, gender roles, relationships, abstinence, condoms and birth control, friendships, relationships with parents, dating, future planning, and many more. Actually about to go to a 5 day camp with two of my girls! The whole group came together and raised over 1000 pesos for these girls to go to the camp, so I was really proud. Hopefully this camp will be fun and go well!

• I think I mentioned that I’m now working with the high school. I still have my girls’ group, an advanced English group, and my radio show (La Hora Americana…shout out!) at the technology center where I was initially placed; however, I wanted to find a place where I was more needed. And what is more needed in a country that has one of the lowest investments in education in the hemisphere? Like one of my posts mentioned, the education system in the Dominican Republic could use some help. While the ultimate goal is to get a computer lab for the school and to motivate the teachers to use it for their daily classes, for now, I am focusing on teacher training.

Another volunteer, Sabrina, and I won a $5000USD grant to host a teacher training conference for the teachers from both of our high schools. Hopefully I will post more about that in the future because it’s going to be great!

• Remember like 7 months ago when I got super excited about a grant I won to start a kids’ art group in my barrio? Well, about 6 months after that initial excitement came….and went…I finally received the money. It turns out that it’s been a great project nonetheless! I wanted to start a club for the kids in my little neighborhood because there is nothing for them to do. Some of them can’t even afford to go to school, so they just basically run around the streets or run amuck all over my house. Which is fine and all (most of the time), but I wanted to give them a creative outlet for all of this energy…instead of insisting on driving my poor dog insane with their not-so-dog-friendly running and screaming in-and-around-my-house activities. So this brings us to “Muchachos de Los Macos” or “Kids of the Frogs.” It makes more sense when one knows that my barrio is nicknamed “Neighborhood of the Frogs.” Cute, huh?

So once a week, the neighborhood kiddos come to my house to do an art activity. Thank goodness that 3 out of the 4 weeks that we’ve met, I have been lucky enough to have friends visiting to help out. Special thanks go to Miss Becca Wall, Mr. David McLaren, Sr. Basil McLaren, and Lic. Joe South! :o)

**Speaking of Becca’s visit, it was so great to have her here!!! I am going home in August, and I honestly think I needed something to help me get through this crazy month. Having a friend from home visit helped hold me over this last little bit of time before I get to take a vacation and go pa’lla! I plan on writing about her visit ASAP!

• Still trying to do Survival English classes, be involved in community meetings, and help Dominican friends start their English classes in town.

• The last thing I will write in this list (partly because it’s getting long…partly because it’s late- 9pm I should note- and there’s no electricity which automatically adds up to BEDTIME) is that I am currently working on a grant to put in cement floors and tin roofs for the people in my community that only have dirt floors and/or partial roofing or roofs that leak. BOLO for messages that consist of me begging for help! If approved, this grant will be put up on a website and people can donate to help out the poor in a developing country!

There’s a quick peek at what I’m up to down here! Will try to write soon….sneak preview of things you MIGHT read about if you keep checking out this unsuccessful blog….

Heather v. the Mice: An Ongoing Battle.

10 Reasons I’m going to be Awkward when I Visit the States.

‘Who Cares about the Ant Infestation, Hair, and Stains in the Hotel Room…? It has Air-Conditioning!!’ A Look into why my Visiting Friend was Amazing and Dealt with my Incredibly Low Standards of Comfort.

Do I have a Dominican Boyfriend? A Cliffhanger.

Top 20 Favorite Things I’ve learned to Cook. (with pictures!)

Mikey: An Analysis of Whether or Not I Love my Dog too Much.

“Most Stuttering Charla of the Year Award” goes to…The Infamous Girls’ Group Condom Talk. With Details.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Wear a Hairnet on a Daily Basis.

*SPOILER ALERT: In case I don’t update for another month, I will go ahead and break some news. Claro que no there is no boyfriend & even if I do make the cooking post, I would only have about 5 items to put on the list. And 3 of them include boxed mac-n-cheese and/or packaged cereal. Bon Appetit!

Hope this makes up a bit for not updating in forever! Hope things are going well! Be home soon...August 10 woo hoo! Hasta luego.