DAY 5 … Another Day at Sabana Perdida

And the plans change… again

Originally, our plans for today (Tuesday) were to go to Sabana Perdida in the morning, teach until the afternoon, and travel to the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (www.uasd.edu.do) for Dr. Rust to have his meeting (he may be joining their staff while on sabbatical from McDaniel next Spring of 2013), then rest. INSTEAD… we started the morning off at UASD, then taught at Sabana Perdida in the afternoon, then had dinner with Tommy. So, let’s begin with the details, shall we?

Waking up before the alarm clock is a VERY strange feeling, especially after such an exhausting day yesterday. Due to the fact that Dr. Rust had a meeting at the University this morning, we got to “sleep in” until 8:30 … awesome! We piled into the same familiar white van and headed off to the University, but surprise; our interpreter, Juana, came with us. While Dr. Rust was enjoying his initial meeting, the rest of the group that tagged along to this optional event went to go get food. I personally LOVE Dominican pesos and the fact that everything is so cheap compared to America. As we proceeded to find a spot in the crowded quad, the intensity from every single student’s stare was even hotter than the heat down here. I guess I need to spend some more time tanning by the pool and brushing up on my Spanish to fit in. After Dr. Rust’s meeting was over, and the delicacies had been consumed, we headed over to meet up with the Directora of the psychology department, Dr. Ana Contreras. She took us on a VIP tour around the campus, introducing us to many heads of departments and deans. The Campus is beautiful, and we were informed that 70,000 students study at the Santo Domingo campus, with 130,000 in the entire university system.

We hurriedly said goodbye to Dr. Ana and piled into the van again, this time with Paulina, the principal of the Sabana Perdida school that we’ve been teaching at. We then went to pick up Hector and Belkis to ride with us (honestly, I’m not sure if I feel safer with Hector or Dr. Rust driving on these traffic-law-less roads). With this addition, we have a full van, remember that.

We arrived at the school just in time for lunch, which makes me happy because I’m hungry all the time. This time, in addition to the chicken and rice, we had some fresh fruit: papaya, cantaloupe, and pineapple. Delicioso! 

Yesterday (Monday) while teaching, I fell in love with the youngest children and asked to teach with them again. While Dr. Rust had another meeting with the teachers of the school, the rest of the group taught the older kids about real heroes, while Jamie, Emily, and I taught (more like played) with the younger kids. Teaching little kids doesn’t go over so well, neither does a language barrier, as the little children had very little experience/exposure to Sign Language. But as soon as I whipped out the coloring books, boy, did I have some fans! The older kids take on a natural responsibility to help the younger children. Maybe this is something about the Dominican culture, or maybe this is something within the deaf culture here.

One boy, who basically proposed to me yesterday, gifted me with more food. We are pretty much going to get married now. 😛 Unfortunately, our day had to end, and again, we piled into the car; this time with Paulina’s daughter as well. Yes, we had 1 too many people in the car, and had a great time, especially Max who entertained us all with his Spanish.

Upon returning to the hotel, some of us returned to the pool to swim, or sleep in my case. After, we met up with Mr. Tommy Guzman, the President of the Dominican National Association for the Deaf. I am flattered and honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to grace us with his presence. He discussed the history of deaf in the DR. Prior to the 1960’s, people were being killed for being deaf or having any physical signs of being disabled. That is why one of the ladies we met at Juana’s house for lunch on Sunday was forced into being a nun; to protect her from being killed. Even this past week, we can see the deaf are looked down upon here, and there is still a struggle today to achieve that equality. This is still trying to be achieved in America in my opinion.

An interesting side note, the menu had English translations so we knew what we were ordering. However, the night before, Dr. Rust was not sure what he ordered and forgot to look up the translation. Well, tonight we now know Dr.Rust ordered lambi … conch! Guess there is a first time for everything.

Being down here really makes me think differently and be grateful for all that I do have. I still can’t wait to return back to home. But, I guess I can stay for a beach day tomorrow.

Until next time,

~Deanna Dicello 🙂

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One Response to “DAY 5 … Another Day at Sabana Perdida”

  1. Tracy Says:

    Deanna….. Thank you for sharing your day !! How is that Tan coming?? Tracy

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