Just after six in the morning my friend and I went to town with Dilenia and her son Uvardi. We took a bus to Santiago, waited for nearly two hours and then took a bus for nearly four hours to a small town called La Laguna.
In La Laguna we were greeted by Dilenia’s mute brother, her cousin, and four mules. We bought some food at one of the four local stores and then headed off.
After the forty minute mule ride we were greeted by Dilenia’s brothers and sisters (about 8 of them), some of her nieces and nephews, her parents and a large meal. After a cup of hot coffee we explored the village and then it was already time for dinner (a special stew called Sancocho).
That night before bed we hung out at Dilenia’s parents house playing dominos and joking around with the family (even more family members came by to see Dilenia and the two American visitors).
The following morning (Saturday) Dilenias’s mom, Carmen, got up early to to make up coffee, feed the farm animals and got busy making us a big breakfast. We ate so much that day it felt like we never stopped eating.
That afternoon I went with Dilenia to a village hair salon to get my hair straightened, hung out with my new 8 year old buddy Lauri and went to a number of Dilenia’s relatives home and drank coffee in most of them. Then we went to a village dance party of which I did my best to avoid dancing without offending anyone.
Then on Sunday morning we got up just before six and took a few mules back to La Laguna, got on a bus for four hours to Santiago, then we got into a public van that took it’s time getting us to La Vega, then for the final stretch we took motor cycles to the barrio.
That village was the furthest one I’ve ever traveled to in the Dominican Republic and well forth the trip. The scenery was amazing, the coffee was excellent, and the hospitality was almost overwhelming!