Semana Santa, or Easter Week, is known for no work and all play in the Dominican Republic. So, to celebrate the holiday in true Dominican fashion I did just that. I went on a few exciting adventures that will surely be remembered long after I leave this island. One such adventure was the Armed Forces national track meet which I attended with my friend, Jenna, and a track friend from San Juan. We got to see some races and tons of field events, and I just loved taking part in an athletic game in the DR that means so much to me. Running transcends age, race, gender and culture. It doesn’t matter where you are from: if a runner finds a fellow runner they will undoubtedly get along. This meet made me feel like I was back in the US, or that I fit in with my Dominican peers. Either and both.
I also got to visit a new beach and introduce the Dominican Republic to Caitlin! Caitlin is one of my very best friends. We met on our first day in college, and since then I have lived with both her and her fiancé. Caitlin came to Puerto Plata and bought us 3 nights at a beautiful all-inclusive. One of our best memories comes from Cayo Arena, or Paradise Island. We went here one day and snorkeled, and it was GORGEOUS!
I’m in the middle stages of my work with the Escojo program in San Juan. Last week I distributed the pre-test to all the participants, who will take the same test in June in order to determine what they learned. We know Escojo is an effective program at the community level, if effectiveness can be measured in terms of commitment to the group, but at the school level it’s a mystery. In some of the classes there are over 50 students. That might be too many youth to have in one room. It’s certainly too many to participate in many of the interactive activities that characterize Escojo. It’s exciting to become involved in a pilot program, and I hope that my work can help make Escojo Mi Vida more effective at the national level.
Time is certainly passing quickly. I'll be moving back to the USA in exactly 4 months!! More on that next time.