After over twenty years of failed promises, all of us in Maria Auxiliadora are extremely happy that Main Street is finally paved! Though it doesn’t look very likely that all the streets in the barrio will get paved, there’s still a lot to be excited about. I’m personally very happy. No more battles with mud as I walk from my house to the city. No more getting dropped off at the entrance of the barrio because a taxi driver refused to go through the muddy streets. No more muscle pains from mountain biking through the bumpy streets. So many little things to be thankful for!
In my opinion, this country is obsessed with cleanliness (in a good way). Women often mop their floors numerous times a day and completely flood their houses with water at least once a week. And unlike me, almost everyone showers at least twice a day and three or four times on a hot day. So after nearly ten days without water people seemed pretty desperate and grumpy. Luckily, we started to get water in the faucets again this morning. People from the back of the barrio who don’t get much water pressure filled the streets today with their gallon jugs and buckets, stocking up on this valuable resource any way they could.
I’ve known that everyone here likes to make Sweet Beans around Easter, but I didn’t realize how popular it was until I went to town with Idekel to buy the ingredients the day before. The last ingredient on the list was some sweet potatoes, which are extremely common around here. Yet the day before Easter, they’re extremely scarce. After we’d gone to the fresh produce market, three grocery stores, and over ten corner stores I started trying to convince Idekel that Sweet Beans are good without sweet potato. But he was determined to find some, and at our very last stop we found some very lovely batatas.
I on the other hand didn’t bother making Sweet Beans from scratch this year….. instead I tried out a new product here in the D.R., canned Sweet Beans! They turned out to be pretty good. They’re also a good conversation starter as many Dominicans can’t believe their beloved homemade dessert now comes in a can!
My trip up to the Travesia two weeks ago just wasn’t long enough so Idekel and I decided Holy Week was the perfect time to make another trip up there. As if the two hour speed walk up the mountain wasn’t enough for me, we decided to join some of our friends to explore a cave about another one and a half hour away.
The cave wasn’t quite as big as any of us had expected. Actually, we’re still not sure if the passageway was closed during an earthquake, or if we somehow over looked the correct passage way.
Either way, we had fun trying to light sticks to see with, crawling on the ground under enormous rocks looking for passageway, and just hanging-out with each other. Fortunately on our long trip back to the Travesia we found an abandoned bunch of ripe bananas, a nice little swimming hole, and lots of beautiful flowers. Back in the Travesia we ate lots of good food……….
Hung out with lots of our lovely campesino friends……..
Stayed up late telling stories and jokes around a small camp fire………Had a small Sunday School class with the Travesia kids…….. Hung out with more lovely people……
Watched our friends work together to dry and store precious organic coffee beans……
And then said our farewells to the simple country life.