Dominican Trip Daily Journal

by Beth Dierkes

Monday, January 6, 2003

Arriving at the Dominican Republic

I arrived in Santiago around 6:15 pm. Alberto and Christian met me at the airport and we loaded my bags into the van. Then Alberto drove us to McDonald=s before starting the long trip to Monte Cristi.

It was dark when we got moving again. Along the way, there were many settlements. I saw tavern-like buildings with tables, or with pool-tables in them. Most of those buildings had no walls - just a roof with support poles. While some of the roofs were tin, many were thatched. Some were built alongside a home or store or some other type building. There were also many stores or shops. Most of these shops were at the front of a home. The owner would sit in the shop window and get whatever you needed. Many people were walking along the roadside, including lots of small children, often un-supervised.

Monti Crissti map

We arrived in Monte Cristi around 9:00 pm. Helen, Lynette=s mom, and Marsha, her sister, were there. They had arrived on Thursday, January 2nd and were to leave on Friday the 10th.

I slept in a twin bed in the same room as Lynette=s mom and Marsha. We had huge mosquito nets covering our beds and tucked into the mattress to keep out the mosquitoes. I slept soundly after getting only 3 hours sleep Sunday night.

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

After a breakfast of buttered plantain, along with turkey salami (similar to having potatoes with smoked sausage), Alberto gave us a tour of Monte Cristi. He drove us to the new baseball field and around the city. We also went to a nearby beach. Many of the homes we saw were mere shacks. Many have tin walls with a piece of tin or a reed-like roof. There was one that was for sale on a small plot of ground. The yard was covered with trash, and the house itself was mostly tin and measured about 8 by 10 feet. The sale price was $7,000. Alberto said that the price would go up to $10,000 just because an American took a picture of it.

While out on our tour, a young girl flagged Alberto down. It was Anyelis, a 20 year old student who lives with Lynette and Alberto. She helps with the cooking and cleaning, and attends classes at night. She is a very sweet girl and is good with the kids.

After our tour, we came back to the house and we ate a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches. Lynette took Abigail upstairs to lay down, so Marsha, Helen and I cleaned up the compound some. It was a big job, because there were construction materials everywhere - cement blocks, sand, re-bar, wood, etc. We got the Aflower beds@ cleaned out and arranged shells and coral pieces in them. Alberto worked on the 2nd tenaqua.

Later, while Lynette was out shopping for vegetables, Helen decided to bake cookies, but couldn't find any baking soda. She asked Anyelis, when she came in, and Anyelis got it for her. When Lynette got back, Helen was telling her about it, and Lynette couldn't understand why we couldn't find it. She asked where it was, and Helen showed her. It turned out that Anyelis had given her boric acid, not baking soda. Needless to say, the batter was dumped into the trash. Then Helen mixed up another batch with real baking soda.

God in their Church / garage.

That evening, there was a worship service in the chapel (an area in the garage with benches set up). About 35 people attended. Evelen led the music with a tambourine, and then took the children to give them a special lesson. Christian led the Bible Study. Afterward, all the kids wanted to have their picture taken.

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

The power went out during the night, and it was really hot. About 4:30, roosters began crowing, and they didn't stop till after daybreak, which was about 7:00.

It rained all day. Helen, Marsha and I painted yellow stripes in Abigail and Jonathan=s bedroom. Helen and Marsha had painted the room white on Monday, and since two walls have cement block on the bottom half, Lynette wanted them striped with yellow. We could only do a section at a time, because of all the furniture in there. It took a really long time to dry because of the humidity.

Alberto spent the afternoon digging a trench and laying pipes to bring in water from the street. This, along with the second tenaqua, should help to eliminate water shortage problems.

After nap time, Lynette took us to some of the local shops to get some things. In the Dominican, you must go shopping about every day to get perishables. You never know when the electricity will go out, so you can=t keep much on hand. On the way, we stopped by Evelen and Christian=s home. They rent a home that is only a few blocks away from the compound. The typical Dominican home living room has about 4 chairs set up in a close circle, facing each other. When you come to visit, you sit in these chairs to talk with the host.

When we left Evelen to shop, we stopped at one place to purchase bread, another place to get vegetables (yucca, plantains, and potatoes), and yet another to get soda.

When we got back, we fixed supped. Then, we went upstairs to move all the furniture back into place. Alberto got out his paintings and jewelry that he plans to sell in his shop (once it is built) and let us look through it. He sold us things at a very low cost, compared to what you would pay for the same things in the market place. His plans are to build a booth in the front of the compound, where he can offer things for sale to tourists. The road on which they live leads to the beach, so it gets a lot of traffic.

Thursday, January 9, 2003

It was still cloudy when we got up, but it cleared off by 11:00. After breakfast, we prepared to leave for Santiago. Evelen, Christian, Emily and Christian Manuel came over to say good-bye to Helen and Marsha, and then we loaded into the van and headed for Santiago. Along the way, we came to 3 different guard stations, where men in camouflage were checking vehicles for Haitians who didn't have papers, or for items being transported illegally from Haiti.

In Santiago, we stopped at the Santiago Christian School, where Lynette used to teach. The staff was all excited to see the baby. After about an hour, we left there and went to the home of Ramone Gabriel. Gabriel is a Dominican preacher and he is the director of a Christian school. We were to spend the night at Gabriel=s home so we could get Helen and Marsha to the airport early in the morning.

Alberto wanted us to go to the market for souvenirs, so we got into a taxi and headed to the market place. We did our shopping there, then walked to El Encanto (a department store), where we got diapers and a few other things.

Then, we took a taxi back to Gabriel=s home.

Santiago is a fairly large city. While there, I saw Texaco stations, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, McDonald=s and Domino=s. At around 6:00, we went out to Domino=s Pizza for supper. We ordered two pizzas and a pitcher of Pepsi. The pizza had a bit of a different taste to it, but it wasn't bad. Then, we went back to Gabriel=s.

We sat outside for a long time, watching neighborhood kids playing. It was dark, but the electricity was on, lighting up the streets. Then, we took a tour of the G.O. Ministries building. They had just built a new home down the street across from the Christian school. Above the home was a large dining hall/meeting room with a huge kitchen. The dining area was open on the sides. Then, we took a spiral staircase to the men=s dorm, where there were bunks, three high, to house 24 men. Tim, Gabriel=s son-in-law, said there was another dorm on the other side, for women, that was identical to this one. They both had 5 or 6 showers and as many toilets and sinks. It was a really nice facility, and it is used to house big groups on short term mission trips.

After the tour, we went back to Gabriel=s and watched some boys who were playing baseball in the street. They were using a short broom handle for a bat. They were still playing when we went inside to get ready for bed.

It was really nice to be able to take a warm shower, instead of a cold one. Gabriel had a >widow maker= heater hooked up to where the water comes out of the shower head, and it heats the water as it comes out.

Friday, January 10, 2003

We got up at 5:00 to go to the airport. We waited in line with Marsha and Helen till they went through security, which took more than an hour. Then we walked back to the van to find that Alberto had left the lights on. The battery was dead, so Alberto went in search of someone willing to help us out. After we got some help, we headed back to Gabriel=s to thank him for putting us up for the night. Then, we went to the Nacional Super Mercados in Santiago, where we ate breakfast in the deli and then got groceries to take back to Monte Cristi with us.

On the way back to Monte Cristi, we stopped to pick up Anyelis who had spent the night with her sister. We had planned to take a nap after lunch, but we got started doing laundry and kept going. When they had tried to hook up the washer, there was not enough water pressure for the machine to fill itself automatically, so it had to be filled with the garden hose, stopped when it was full, and refilled and stopped for the rinse cycle. I repaired a few window screens in order to prevent more flies and mosquitoes from coming in, and as laundry was washed, we hung it out to dry. The humidity was very high, so it took a long time to dry.

Lynette=s friend, Jessica, from the Christian School, arrived around 5:30 to spend the night. By nightfall, everyone was exhausted, so we made it an early evening.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

I was the first to get up, with the exception of Alberto and Anyelis, who left around 5:00 am to visit a sick friend somewhere. There was no power, so Lynette turned on the generator so we could do laundry. By noon, the power had come back on. We spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning house. After lunch, Lynette, Jessica, and I relaxed and visited. (Between loads of laundry.) Alberto got back around 1:30. He had left Anyelis with her friend, who appeared to need to be hospitalized. At 6:00 pm, they still hadn't admitted her to the hospital, because they wanted money first. Alberto called to talk with the doctor. The diagnosis was a twisted intestine, which was cutting off or limiting the passage of wastes. Alyelis was to return to Monte Cristi on Monday.

I tried to clean Alberto=s van and I watched Jonathan while Lynette took Jessica to the public transportation bus stop. When she returned, we started supper - yucca and hard boiled eggs.

Christian came over at 5:00 to supervise a scheduled volleyball game that lasted till about 7:00. Then, he and Alberto talked awhile before he went home. Two young men also came over to talk with Alberto. They were still there when I went to bed at 9:00.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Sunday School was held at 9:30 for the children. Evelen was in charge. After singing, they got out the colored pencils and colored pictures about the lesson.

There was still a lot of laundry to do, so we got started on that.

After lunch, Alberto asked us not to use the outside water for awhile, since he was working on the pipes. So, we were only able to do about three loads altogether. While Lynette and the kids took a nap, I finished hanging things out on the clothesline. Then I cleaned the room where the washer was located. That room is to be turned into the >new kitchen= . Alberto had been working on getting the plumbing ready to put the new sink in.

At 7:00, there was a church service in the chapel. Then we came inside and talked for awhile before heading to bed. Even though the screens had been repaired, there were still mosquitoes and flies everywhere.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Alberto and I got up early so we could go to Dajabon (pronounced - dah hah bone), a city on the Haitian border. There is a street market held there on Mondays and Fridays. On the way there, we had to stop a few times to allow cattle to cross the road.

When we first arrived in Dahabon, we walked to the border to see the Haitians crossing over. There was a river with a large bridge over it, - similar to the Mexican/U.S. borders. The guards at the border were really rough with the Haitians. They grabbed some of them from the street and shoved them into a gated area. They took some of their wares and would not let them pass. Most Dominicans do not like Haitians, and there is very much prejudice against them. The worst insult you can make to Dominicans is to call them Haitian.

For the street market, the Haitians cross the border and set up shop in the streets. It was a site to see - especially the street where the fresh fruits and vegetables were displayed. I would have taken a picture of it, but I was having trouble keeping up with Alberto. They had everything from fresh vegetables to cookware - to dishes - to rice and pasta - and even shoes and clothing. We purchased 2 Haitian made aluminum pans with lids for 170 Pecos (about $8.50) then we walked back to the van and headed back to Monte Cristi. We were back at the house before 10:00 am.

Anyelis arrived at 11:00. Alberto spent most of the day working on the plumbing for the sink in the new kitchen. Lynette wasn't feeling well, so she went to bed. Anyelis and I were able to get three more loads of laundry done. Christian came over to supervise Monday night volleyball. I fixed leftovers for supper after Anyelis left for school.

Before Helen left, she had drawn up a rough draft of plans for the new kitchen. I tried to draw it to scale. A door had to be relocated and the hole enclosed. The was a roof over the area along with most of the new dining room, however, the area above the steps was roofless. There was no door in the doorway yet, but there would be once it was moved from the new kitchen. At night, the gate around the compound is closed and locked, along with all doors - both upstairs and downstairs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Lynette was still not feeling well, so I took care of Jonathan while she tried to rest in bed. There was really not much to do since he mostly eats and sleeps. I put the baby swing together which allowed him to sit up.

I set about catching up on the laundry, but the machine stopped draining. Since Alberto was in Santiago, I took the machine apart and found the drain hose was blocked by circles of cloth that had somehow gotten through. From now on, Lynette said she would wash all small stuff out by hand. When I got the machine back together, it would spin, but it would not agitate, so I washed three loads of laundry by hand.

Before lunch, Lynette and I took the kids to do some shopping. There was one place we went where you took a grocery cart and got what you wanted, but at most of the places, you had to tell the person at the counter what you wanted and they got it for you. It took forever!

Home Bible Study

At about 4:00, Christian and Evelen arrived to take me to two houses in one of the nearby bareos for a Bible study. I=m not sure whether the woman we met at the first home was a Christian or not. I do not remember seeing her at church or Bible Study. Though I couldn't understand what they were saying, the study was very basic, similar to the Apeace Treaty@ study. The woman had a store on the front of her house, so she was interrupted every so often to get something for someone. At the second house, the woman was a Haitian. I had seen her at the chapel services. It was obvious that she had some knowledge about the Bible.

When we got back to the house, Lynette was feeling much better, and had fixed pizza for supper. Alberto arrived back from Santiago around 6:20 pm. There was a Bible Study in the chapel at 7:00, and afterward, we were all exhausted, so we went to bed early again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Alberto started out the morning by fixing the washer. Finally, we were able to finish all the laundry, but not without me flooding the new kitchen area. I forgot to turn off the water once the machine was full. Alberto caught it when he came in to get something, and there was about 2 inches of water on the floor. Boy did I feel stupid! I=m glad it was street water and not reserve water.

Anyelis got out the sewing machine for Lynette, and she fixed the mosquito net for Jonathan=s crib.

Christian showed up about 4:00 to supervise volleyball and then basketball.

After Anyelis left for school, I brought the ladder in and Lynette had me go through storage boxes looking for a box of her clothes and the boxes of pictures and things that had never been unpacked from the move. Alberto, Anyelis and I stayed up till about 11:00 playing Phase 10. I won by 5 points.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I woke up to hear Anyelis cleaning in the kitchen. Alberto left - I assume- to go to the ball field. The Haitian man came over and moved sand from in front of the house in preparation for building the souvenir store. Three Dominicans came over to do cement work in the new kitchen and to move the doorway to it=s new location. The sink top had to be removed and the cement pedestal rebuilt, so that it would be deep enough for the counter top.

Dominican cabinets are built with cement sides. The floor is cement that is raised up from the rest of the floor about 3 inches, and the fronts of the cabinets are wooden, with doors. There were no drawers or shelves in the base cabinets.

There was no power for most of the day.

I spent the afternoon hanging pictures, and then I baked chocolate chip cookies. At about 5:00, I was washing dishes, when I saw 2 pigs in the back. Later, when I though about it, I went out to check the garbage. The pigs had gotten into it and made a big mess.

There was no power for most of the day. We ate and did dishes by candle light with a mirror to reflect the light. At 7:00 we walked to Carman=s house, just around the corner, in the nearby bareo. Bible Study was held there in front of her house. We took our own chairs and set them up in the street. Afterwards, Carman served a hot root tea that was spiced with ginger and nutmeg, and she gave out galletas (pronounced- guy etta) which translates into cookies. They were a cross between a cracker and bread, and were crispy.

Alberto turned the generator on after Bible Study, because there had been no power since early morning, and Lynette was worried about the things in the refrigerator and freezer. He turned it off before going to bed, and soon after the power came back on.

Friday, January 17, 2003

I woke to the roosters crowing about 5:00 am. They continued to crow off and on till after daybreak. Once I was out of bed, we started the morning off with more laundry. It seemed like we could never get caught up! I cleaned and swept the new kitchen are so that when the workers arrived after lunch, it was ready. Lynette and I hung some more pictures upstairs in the bedrooms, and I painted the ceiling molding in Abigail and Jonathan=s room. The workers came and finished the cement work for the sink. Then, they poured the raised floor for it. They also put up the wood to enclose the hole where the door had been, and finished framing it into it=s new location. The washer is to go outside into a small space between the outside bathroom and the new kitchen. Alberto has yet to run the electricity to it and extend the roof over it. The water line had already been run. Hopefully, the water pressure is high enough that the washer will not have to be filled with the hose.

I spent the afternoon sewing, after I cleaned and oiled Lynette=s sewing machine. We left the machine out so we could do repairs on clothes as they came off the clothes line. It was after 7:30 when the men working on the new kitchen left. Anyelis got out of school early, so she was home before 8:00, and she studied late into the night for exams. I heated a pan of water on the stove and carried it in a bucket upstairs to the bathtub. What a pleasure it was to be able to have a warm bath instead of a cold shower!

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Abigail cuddles with Jonathan

The day began early for me. I woke at 5:00 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up. Again, I worked on cleaning the new kitchen - a never ending job. Every morning, the walls were covered with mosquitoes. I watched Abigail and Jonathan while Lynette went for groceries.

After lunch, we had planned to have a short nap and then go to the beach. Alberto went back to the ball field and Lynette took the kids upstairs while I lay on the couch. After a few minutes, I heard the washer filling up. I got Anyelis and showed her that there was no place to drain the washer since the workers had enclosed the doorway. We unplugged it and we were able to scoot it toward the doorway to the new dining room. She found an extension cord to plug it in again, and we were able to find a pipe that would take the water outside.

At 3:00, Alberto came back to watch Jonathan while we went to the beach. This beach was covered with shells! I looked for pretty shells while Lynette and Abigail played in the sand and the water. Anyelis searched for shells to make things with. After a while, Lynette suggested we drive down the beach to another spot where there are usually more shells. She drove onto the sand and got stuck. We attempted to push the van out ourselves, but only succeeded in sinking the back left tire in about a foot of sand. Anyelis went to ask some men down the beach for help. Soon, 2 tourist policemen came and helped to lift the back of the van so Lynette could back up. However, she stopped before she was off the sand. The police left and we got back in the van to leave, when we realized we were stuck again. We were able to flag the policemen back down and this time; Lynette didn't stop backing up till she was on the road. By this time it was 5:30, so we headed back to the house. Alberto suggested we go early some morning, because there are big shells to be found then. Anyelis and I were really dirty from trying to dig the van out, so we got the soap and shampoo and took a hose shower outside in our swim suits. We looked like a couple of kids playing in the water. Then, Anyelis gave Abigail a shower, too.

We had a late supper, and then played Phase 10 after Abigail was in bed. I was wiped out by the time I got to bed.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Kids in Sunday School

It stormed during the night and rained most of the morning. I got up around 7:30 and dressed for Sunday School. About 13 children came for Sunday School at 9:30. Lynette fixed fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch, and then headed upstairs with the kids for nap time. I spent a good portion of the day chipping cement away from the floor tiles. The staircase had been inside, when they purchased the house, and cement had been poured over the floor tiles at the base. Alberto had moved it outside in order to provide more bedroom space for the kids and more space downstairs. It took most of the day to chip the cement away, but I got it done.

Alberto spent most of the morning at the ball field. They were getting ready to build a Asanitary@ or bathroom, and they were running into a lot of big rocks. After lunch, he came back to the house to work on the van.

During the afternoon, I heard popping sounds, like fire crackers or something. Alberto explained that this was from neighborhood kids who were cracking a whip. One would crack his whip and another would then crack his. They use these whips as weapons against each other. One of the kids who I later saw with a whip was only about 10 or 12 years old.

About 36 people attended church that evening. Lynette was surprised that so many came out, even though the rain had stopped. Usually a rain causes everyone to stay home. When Alberto returned from taking some people home, he, Christian and I played pool. Their rules are a bit different than ours, so I was a bit confused. I won the first 2 games, then on the 3rd game I scratched on the 8-ball, but they told me to keep playing. I told Christian AYou won!@ , but he kept playing. They also play that you must put the 8-ball in the same pocket where your last ball was played. They called this AAmericano billiards@ . I told them that was not the way we played. Later, I tried to explain to Alberto that scratching on the 8-ball caused me to lose, but I=m not sure he understood.

We came into the house, and Lynette started to pop popcorn in the microwave. The power must have been low, because all it would do was warm the contents of the bag. So, I emptied the sack, kernels, oil and all into a pan and popped it on the stove.

Monday, January 20, 2003

It rained again during the night and sometime in the early morning the electricity went out. I there were about 200 roosters crowing! When the power came back on, so did the ceiling fan, and it drowned out most of the noise from the chickens. The morning was spent inside because of the rain. Alberto came back from the ball field because it was impossible to work in the rain. He was going to get the electrical wiring for the washer=s new location installed, but it kept raining, so he wasn't able to do it. Because the new dining roof is not roofed above the stairs, it filled with water quickly.

After lunch, Anyelis decided to clean out the kitchen cabinets. We couldn't do laundry because Alberto wanted us to wait till the machine was moved and hooked up. We wouldn't have been able to hang them out in the rain, anyway.

Alberto went outside and discovered a clogged drain by the garage. The water had came up through the drain in the chapel because the water had no where to go. There was about a foot of water in the chapel and the room with the pool table in it. Alberto unclogged the drain, and the water began to go down, but because the floor was not level, and the drain was located in a higher section of the floor, we had to bail out the low spots. I took my shoes off and helped bail.

The rain kept coming in downpours throughout the day. It would pour, and then stop, the pour again. We spent the rest of the day inside, except when Alberto took Anyelis to school. The streets were flooded in places, and Alberto got stuck, but he got home all right. Anyelis came home on a motor-cycle taxi, I think.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

It rained or poured off and on through the night and most of the morning. I made pancakes for breakfast, but Alberto wanted yucca. It was Jonathan=s 1 month birthday, so Lynette baked a cake. Anyelis made chicken in a sauce that was very good, but she also cooked the chicken's feet. Yuck! I took a picture of a cooked chicken foot.

After lunch, it appeared to be clearing off some. I asked Alberto to finish hooking up the washer, so he started on that. He let me go ahead and wash clothes in the new kitchen till he could get Christian to help him move it to its new location. I was able to do 2 loads before it began to get dark.

Alberto thought it would rain again, but it didn't. Just in case, I hung up a clothes line under the roofed section of the new dining room. In between hanging up clothes to dry, I bailed out the chapel again. Then, later, Lynette mopped all the mud up. The trash barrel next to the chapel had been almost empty, and now it was filled with water to within 4 inches of the top. The water was cleaner than what came out of the faucet.

Alberto was really concerned about his shell collection. He wanted to move it out of the room where the pool table was and into a room where he could keep it clean and dry. The space below the tenaquas and above the tool room would suit his purpose well. At about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, he and Christian began enclosing the area. Then, when it got too dark to work, they moved the washer. The chapel was all clean and ready for Bible Study, and Lynette and Abigail had already cleaned up and changed, when Alberto told us he had canceled Bible Study. He had told everyone except us. It still looked like it would rain some more, but by the time it was dark, there were a few stars visible. After supper, we played Phase 10 again.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Alberto told me we would go to the beach at 6:00 to get seashells, so I got up at 5:30. He came down at 5:50 and apologized because he hadn't realized that it would still be dark. At 7:00, he headed for the ball field, and soon came back with Christian to work on the room below the tenaquas.

Since the sun was shining, we hung out clothes on the clotheslines and spent the rest of the morning doing laundry. When Alberto hooked up the water lines to the washer, there was enough pressure for the machine to fill itself! That will sure make it easier! I found some more rope, and put another clothesline up to handle all the clothes we were washing and we still ran out of space. But, we did get everything washed and hanging up before the end of the day.

Lynette and I went for a walk around the nearby bareos after Abigail went to sleep. We saw everything from clothes hanging to dry on a barbed wire fence, brown sheep in the street, a huge pig laying in the shady part of a dirt road, the salt fields, and a family of 4 on a motorcycle. There was a fairly nice bareo on a nice road, and then a really dumpy one on a dirt road.

Alberto got home around 5:30 and took me out to take a few more pictures, then he headed back tot he ball field to work on the pit for the Asanitary@ . I took a cold shower and washed my hair and worked on getting my suitcases packed. The water coming from the shower was the color of weak orange Kool-Aid. Then, I watched the kids while Lynette and Alberto went to the Mercados. We ate sandwiches for supper and ice cream for dessert. The strawberry ice cream tasted more like bubble gum. Lynette put Abigail to bed, and then we played Phase 10 again. It was almost midnight when we headed to bed.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I woke to the smell of buttered yucca and fried salami at around 4 or 4:30. One of the neighbors must have been up really early. After lying in bed for awhile, I went ahead and got up at 4:45. Alberto came down a little after 5 and packed up the van, and Lynette and Jonathan came down to see us off. Even Anyelis got up to say good-bye. We left the house around 6:15 and stopped by to pick up Christian. He and Alberto would attend a meeting at the Christian Camp in Salcedo the next day, and it was located about an hour east of Santiago, so they would not be going home till Saturday morning.

There was still about an hour till daylight, so I watched out the window as the bareos woke up. At many places along the road, it was totally dark except for when you could see light peaking out of a tin or wood house where the sides met, or the roof met the sides. I saw 2 different motorcycles loaded with bread racks, but wasn't able to get a picture. The place along the road that usually had goat carcasses hanging was not open yet. I saw one place where it looked like a huge hog was hanging stretched out alongside another smaller animal. At another place, I saw a smaller pig that had a stick through it - like a shish-ka-bob. It was being roasted over an open fire. We passed mandarin orange and pineapple stands, too. Along the way, many of the shops were just opening and some were serving breakfast - I=m guessing that it was buttered yucca and bread.

Alberto dropped Christian off in Santiago, and we went on to the airport. The lines weren't too long, so it only took about a half hour to get my boarding pass. Then, the woman at the counter offered to put me on the next flight to Miami, instead of going through Porto Rico. I took her up on it. I purchased a few more gifts at the gift store and said good-bye to Alberto. My plane left @ 10:35 am.

The biggest change I noticed that has occurred since the summer of 1997 is the Americanization of the Dominicans. As the electricity has gotten better, there are more and more televisions in homes and the people are exposed daily to things they wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to. Dominican girls used to dress modestly, but now, they wear tight fitting clothes, with low necklines, and hip huggers or specially washed jeans. Young girls with beautiful complexions now wear Cover Girl makeup. In my opinion, those changes have not been for the better, and I was really disappointed.

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