The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Packing up my life in Ohio, saying my goodbyes, arriving in Jarabacoa and trying to get my bearings in a new country and culture has been challenging and exciting. There is so much going on, that it is hard for me to sit down in front of the computer to write, but I want to share what I’ve been doing with all of you. So here are my last two weeks, in pictures;
Bright and early on the first day of my journey, I met up with Dan, Danae and Anginette at the Cleveland airport. Danae and I went to high school together at CVCA, and I am so blessed to be working with her and her husband Dan for the next three years. Dan will be the Expedition Coordinator at Doulos, and Danae will be the Instructional Coach for our teaching staff. Anginette went to CVCA as well, and just graduated this year. She will be at Doulos for the next semester to kick off her college career with Moody Bible Institute.
Our flight was extremely smooth, and once we touched down in Santiago, we met with Tim, the Managing Director of Doulos, who drove us into Jarabacoa. On the way, we stopped to get groceries for dinner at La Sirena (the mermaid), which is more or less the Dominican version of WalMart. Parking lot security is taken very seriously here, and they have watchmen in towers to guard the cars.
This is Jarabacoa, our new home, seen from the mountains. You may be surprised, as I was, that pine trees are very common in the Dominican Republic. Another thing that is very common are the mosquitoes. Our first couple of days here, they couldn’t get enough of our fresh, North American blood. Insects are and lizards are the largest wild animals here. The scariest wildlife I’ve seen so far is a praying mantis, which is more amazing than scary. But some of the staff found a giant tarantula while cleaning out the school’s administration building.
So far my schedule has been focused on learning Spanish (which is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting), and work days at the school. A few of us spent a few hours shoveling gravel, for which our bodies are still punishing us, and I got to spend a lot of time carving wooden signs for some new classrooms. Building things with my hands was a nice change from a 9 to 5 office environment.
There are other changes from my usual routine that have been a little harder to adjust to, such as how laundry is done here. Some people have fully automatic laundry, as in the states, but it is very common here to do laundry with a semi-automatic washer, and then dry it on the line. It takes more time and patience, and it’s not so compatible with my usual procrastination when it comes to laundry. Over time I think I will get used to it and value the extra time to think.