February 21, 2011

...Daily Routine

After being here for over three weeks, Kristen and I are more or less beginning to establish a routine here. Our days are fun, but can be pretty exhausting. We get up at a little before 7:00 am and take turns running in and out of the tiny bathroom, which contains the only mirror we have. Its not that either of us are high maitanence, but both Kristen and I have curly hair that requires extreme taming in the humid conditions. After this battle. we head upstairs to where Marina has breakfast for us (along with not having a fridge, we seem to have a rodent/cockroach/gigantic spider problem, so its best not to keep food in our living space). Breakfast is usually a few pieces of toast or a pancake, and of course, as much coffee as we can swallow before we hear our ride. Each day, a nice young man named Luis picks us up on his motorcylce (this is the most common form of transportation here) and brings us to the Oratorio. Kids begin arriving around 8:00 am and thus begins the homework help, disciplining, teaching English, disciplining, games, check-ins and more disciplining. And when I say disciplining, I pretty much just mean telling kids to quiet down, stop fighting, and/or to get to work.

At noon, Kristen and I walk over to the Salesian school and house--The Santo Domingo Savio School. A group of about 7 Salesians nuns also live in a house that is connected to the school. There are also three high school age girls who live at the house with the nuns. The girls are all from disadvantaged homes and backgrounds. This is where we eat our lunch Monday-Friday.  Once at the house, we help Consuelo, the cook, make lunch and clean the kitchen before eating lunch.

At about 2 pm,  we go back the the school. This is when a second group of kids comes. Here in Jarabacoa, the school day is broken up into two sessions: the morning group and the afternoon group. The morning group attends school from about 8 until noon and the afternoon group has class from 2 until 6 pm. Therefore, at the Oratorio, the kids who had school in the mornings come in the afteroon. Did I explain that well enough?
Anyway, from two until 5 pm, I do the same thing as I do in the morning with a different group of kids.  

The kids are good and can be really fun, but you can tell that they are street children.
Meaning that they don't have any real home structure/discipline. The most noticable things are how rude the kids can be and their lack of boundaries. The kids will come up and touch your face, play with you hair, even sit on your lap--even the 12 year old boys will do this. Another thing that is difficult to get used to is when some kids will come to school with bruises--mostly on their faces. it is obvious that many of them come from abusive homes--which is why they hang out on the streets. However, there really isn't anything that can be done since the laws and overall law enforcement isn't strong.

We get picked up at around 5 by Luis and driven back home. Then we go for a run as a little bit of a stress releaser. (which by the way, running in the mountains of the D.R. is just a little different that running in the streets of Mexico). Dinner with Marina, husband and daughter is at about 7. Afterwards, we are usually so exhausted from the day that we just watch some TV and are in bed by about 10 pm. Cuz that´s what cool people do. Even though I am getting 8 hours of sleepa night (something that I haven`t done regularly since before highschool), I feel exhausted all the time. I think it is because of the combination of the sun, high altitude, playing with the kids, trying to communicate in spanish, and deal with the overall cultural differences. Hopefully I'll get more used to it as time goes on! Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

1 comment:

  1. Do they grow any of the coffee near you on the mountainside? I hear that it is quite strong there.