third class travel

I must start out by apologizing to all of my fabulous readers. It’s been a little longer since my last post than I would have liked, but in all fairness, my days here aren’t as exciting as they once were. Not in a bad way, just in the sense that I’ve adjusted to my surroundings fairly well and have been spending many of my days working on final papers (all due December 8th) and the final reports for this project (all due December 20th).

As a brief update, we had our third jewelry making class this past week – it went relatively well considering the circumstances.

You see, on Thursday, Jill and I were both at Mario’s house (he has the internet, remember), and, through a series of misunderstandings that I won’t go into here, we had not yet bought the supplies that we needed for our Thursday night class. We also had some last-minute prep work that had to be done dome Mario’s home that involved the internet and printing handouts. And, with these things in mind, we planned our time accordingly.

Planning to leave at 3:00, we called for a taxi at about twenty of.

At 3:20, i had Susy (the eldest of Mario’s daughters who is bilingual) call the taxi company back to see where the taxi was. (This would prevent a scene in which I yell into the phone “Donde esta la taxi?!”, and, sensing my slightly off accent, the dispatcher hangs up on me).

The taxi company claimed that we never called. So we asked for another taxi. They hung up.

I found a sticker on the fridge with another taxi company’s number. Susy called. It is now 3:40.

At 4:00, neither of the taxi’s we had summoned had shown up.

Jill and I looked at each other for perhaps the first time in this country and were at a sincere loss of what to do. I didn’t have a car (the stickers are expired, and until Mario gets new ones, I am unable to drive. The problem with this is that the ENTIRE country has stickers that expire ON THE SAME DAY. Think of the DMV in Jersey and then apply this little complication. You can see how it poses a problem.)

The only option was to call Loly (the pastor of the church where we are holding out classes and one of the overseers of this program. She has also deemed herself our “Dominican Republic Mom”). She tells us she will call us back. It is now 3:50.

We wait.

Mario calls. He has called a taxi for us and it should arrive in five minutes. And it does. (I blame it on the severely male-dominated culture, but then again, I would.)

Problems solved?

Hardly.

As Jill and I pile ourselves and our stuff into the back of the taxi (a small honda), I notice that he is quite a bit older than most of the taxi drivers we have encountered. He also doesn’t seem to understand our English (naturally) or our Spanish (wtf?!). That, or he was content to simply ignore us altogether. I think this was the case.

Jill managed to scrounge a business card of the place we needed to go to pick up the last of the supplies that we needed for that night’s class. Mind you, it is now well after 4:00 and we are supposed to be at the church to set up at 4:30. There is no way for a woman to tell a man from the Latin culture the she is in a rush and therefore he should hurry up. (Trust me, I tried.)

In response to our pleas, this man, without uttering a single word took three different shortcuts to get to the store.

All three of them were the worst shortcuts EVER. One of them was just plain longer, the second caused him to miss the correct street to turn on, and the third placed us in a narrow street with cars parked on either side of the street. Two operating vehicles, going the opposite direction, sat facing each other in the little driving room the remained, each insisting that the other move out of the way. Each backed by the press of rush hour traffic.

Needless to say, more than an hour and 500 pesos later, we finally arrived at the class. It was It was after 5:30.

5:30 is the time that the class is supposed to begin. People were waiting on us. And so, we rushed to set up, quickly adjusted the timing of our curriculum to fit into the new, later starting time, and began. We were frazzled, frustrated, and struggling. This was not our best class, and understandably so. However, the women made necklaces. They had a great time and were very proud of the things they were able to make. We had nine sex workers in the class (the most yet!) and nearly 18 people total. This presents a space issue, but as I tried to explain to the people of Casa Joven, this is the best type of problem to have.

We are excited about the remaining four weeks of teaching!

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