December 2nd, 2006

Thanksgiving And The Holidays


I wanted to post an entry after returning from the Thanksgiving festivities last week but a bout with the flu has kept me confined to my home and far from productive this past week. I'd like to blame the Peace Corps issued flu shot I received the previous Friday as the culprit, but shouldn't that give me a "mild" case of the flu? This thing knocked me out! I'm still running a mild fever today but I feel a little better regardless. My energy level is still low today, but I guess I should try to be a little more active this weekend.

Thanksgiving was a nice little vacation for us volunteers. The Peace Corps Office in the capital puts together a party for all the volunteers at a country club in one of the wealthier neighborhoods of Santo Domingo. There was a Thanksgiving luncheon and a swimming pool with a genuine high dive as well as a variety of sports and gaming tournaments. The new group of volunteers (52 of them!) had sworn in as volunteers the previous day, so all of us were able to get to know each other a little bit.

Traditionally, on the day after Thanksgiving, Peace Corps Dominican Republic puts together what's called the All Volunteer Conference where volunteers come together to meet with colleagues in their specific sectors and participate in a number of project building workshops. I had a good time speaking with some of my fellow IT/Education Volunteers about problems and projects they've been engaged in the past 6 months. I came away with a few new ideas and a fresh pair of eyes to see the advantages I have here in Veragua.

I'm proud of all 8 of the students in my advanced computer course, each of whom passed the exam I gave on the basics of computer hardware and architecture. They didn't even cheat! I hope one day some of them can use the computer as a tool in bettering their educational and job opportunities. Unfortunately that's no given here in the DR.

Besides these things, November was what I'd call a "normal" month. My afternoons and evenings are still mostly spent in labs and I don't have any problem with that. The technology committee here in Veragua petitioned the local government representative for scholarships so that poorer students can attend the technology courses. We received ten, year long scholarships! That's not bad. Finally, the high school students who graduated last June had their ceremony last night and I attended, putting on a tie for the first time in what has to be 10 months. Yippee.

That can't be everything, but it will have to do for now. I'm going to start work (one of these days) on a "glossary of terms" to post here on the site. I want it to be an easy way for everyone who visits the site to learn a little about some of the Dominican tidbits I get to enjoy every day. So look for that. Oh yeah, I'll be in the States in a matter of weeks now, spending the 16th-24th in San Antonio and the 24th-5th in Chicago. We've got to meet up one of those days. I probably won't be back for a while!

Hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving. More importantly, hope everyone is staying warm! It got down to 73 degrees here last night. Chilly! Take it easy, and have a happy holidays. Peace.



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