Friday, November 16, 2007

Moving right along...

Hello Everyone,

Thanks first to Egan for posting the information about Noel and for letting everyone know that I am safe and sound. I had a tough time getting to an internet place where I was because my area was affected pretty heavily by the storm. Lots of places closed or no transportation available for many days.

In all areas, the DR really did get hammered from that storm. Many of my new Dominican friends will be working hard for many years to recover from that storm. Houses were swept away, and the cost to agriculture, such a big part of the DR economy will be affected for years.

Anyway, as Egan said, I am fine, thank God. I was in an area that saw some flooding, but my house was fine. Two of my fellow volunteers did evacuate their houses in the middle of the night the first day of the storm. We spent many days afterwards helping them clean up and recover furniture. Luckily, no lives were lost in the community where I was at the time of the storm.

Life in Peace Corps is moving right along, despite the interruption of the storm. A few days after Noel, it was back to training and learning about our posts and projects. Then, back to Santo Domingo for a few more in-depth sessions and preparation for our final jump into the interior.

Luckily, I now know where I´ll be stationed for the next 2 years! Peace Corps doesn´t want me to post the name of my exact site for security reasons, but I can tell you that I am in the Province of San Jose de Ocoa, just about in the center of the country, high in the rugged mountains of the Cordillera Central, the DR´s main mountain range.

I am in a little bitty town of about 300 people. No electricity (except for a few houses with solar panels), and no running water. The main modes of transport are: Land Rover (yes, Land Rover!), by donkey, by motorcycle, or by foot. The roads aren´t much more than jeep trails scratched out of the rocks. For those of you who know me well will surely know that I am THRILLED to be out in the sticks like this and wouldn´t trade my new home for all the hot water in the fanciest hotels in Santo Domingo. This is Peace Corps after all!

I have some pictures to post, but alas, am again having trouble with this public PC in the internet café. Will do my best to post some pics next time. Until then... Un fuerte abrazo a todos mis amigos... -Tod.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tropical Storm Noel

For those of you curious about Tod's status after Tropical Storm Noel blew through the Dominican Republic, he's fine. He was able to contact his mom earlier this week and report back. Thankfully our buddy Tod is doing alright. Lots and lots of rain did fall there, power is still out in many places (as of 11/2/07), but his group seems to be out of danger.

Here's some footage I found on the local news website here in Seattle. It gives you a good idea how severe the flooding was in the Dominican Republic. The "hurricane season" is nearly over and we'll be able to rest much easier.

*AP photo courtesy of CNN