The big difference between the last 10 weeks of my life and the next two years is that I have gone from a completely regimented 8-5 training schedule to a completely free ¨hanging out¨ schedule. There are a few things I need to take care of and the group of eager to learn youth are getting in the way of my sitting around, but other than that I have been watching Back to the Future movies in spanish and reading whatever books I could find in the volunteer lounge before I left.
It doesn´t seem too bad right now when it comes to living comfortably. I have cable tv and my own bathroom... and this is what disappoints me. As we went through training I was led to believe that I had signed up for 2 years living in a tiny town with no electricity and no water, I would be all about cutting things with machetes and climbing trees for cell phone reception. In order to produce drinkable water from the river I would devise a column made of sand and gravel that would kill off the bacteria and remove any dirt or waste, I would also impress people with my ipod. Sadly, I will not be impressing anyone with my great american technology and in fact, the youth in town are slightly dissappointed that I only have an ipod photo and that it can´t even play video. There is water for about half the day every day, and I don´t have to run it through a purification column because they buy pure water from the supermarket to drink.
Oh well, with this sad realization that I will not be living in the jungle I have found myself facing a greater challenge than merely having to survive in the wilderness. That challenge being to convince a group of teenagers that I am cool and organizing them into a group that can carry out projects involved in cleaning up the polluted city we live in. As I face a new set of obstacles in my project I also find that there is much more opportunity here as well. Over the past 25 years the Dominican population has switched from a 70% rural populatoin to a 70% urban population. With so many people living in one place there is much more possibility to improve the way of life because word doesn´t have to travel far.