Fish

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Field Trip!

Do you remember when you were in elementary school and you went on a field trip? The teachers crowded 300 kids into a single bus, cramming 4 in every 2 seats, children sitting on laps, people standing in the aisles, handing out dramamine to the ones who get vomity...

No? That's how my first field trip was in the country with the school (several years ago...) The children had so much fun, I decided to take some kids to hang out in the capital. These children are ones I've had long relationships with, some I taught to read, some have been to my house for pancake parties, one set of parents offered my parents a goat the next time they return, and all are from very poor families. Most had never been to the capital.



First, we crammed into the bus on the way to the capital. Then we got to use the metro, which was very exciting. Of course, the kids had to use the restroom, but we got special permission to use the private metro bathrooms (I think the guards felt sorry for me). Let me describe the experience of helping 5 children use an escalator for the first time: Alicia, kid in hand, gets on escalator going down. Alicia then runs up stairs to collect next child, who is also afraid of mounting escalator. Rinse and repeat until all children are clutching the side of the downward moving monster, huge grins on their faces.

The metro was a hit, and we hadn't even gotten to the fun part. I felt like giving someone a present and they're more interested in the wrapping paper than in the gift. We tried to go to the cinema, but they don't open until nighttime here, so instead we went to a park that overlooked the seashore.




We enjoyed looking at the crabs scuttling around the rocks, and I think they liked their first view of the ocean, but, if anyone knows kids, they know that they eat and drink and pee like crazy, so we had to introduce the food element. So we went to McDonalds! The kids got happy meals, and we played with the cardboard milk mustache cutouts they came with. Some highlights of this phase: Kids learned about automatic hand dryers, soap dispensers, and that "chicken nuggets" look nothing like the chicken they are used to eating (which is freshly killed, cooked, and on the bone).



After eating and playing with Happy Meal toys, an employee called us a cab. The driver was kind enough to joke with the kids, drive us past a huge Christmas tree, and take us to the zoo. Memorable hightlight: Enrique learning how to operate door handle of car. While the car was moving. Like I said, we had a really nice driver.

The zoo was fun, we saw hippos and primates and birds and reptiles and played on see-saws and slides and drank, ate, and went to the bathroom. Another taxi (not so nice this time, but we were experts at the sitting and not opening doors part) took us to an ice cream store!



The ice cream was a nice touch, as kids apparently wither up and float away if they are not fed every hour. I gained a lot of respect for the patience of my parents this trip. The kids picked out thier own flavors, and the employee was nice enough to help them say please and thank you (and let us use the employee bathroom). As we were leaving, he took a picture of us, and asked if I was a Peace Corps volunteer. When I asked him how he knew, he said "it's stamped on your forehead."



Finally, how do you know if your trip has been a success? When the kids are sleeping on the bus ride home. So cute when they're sleeping, and not asking to be fed, watered, or taken to the restroom...

I'm leaving the country in 10 days, hopefully, but this one particular day of around 1,000 days here was one of the best.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The best day of my life

The best day of my life? No one can say for sure, since I don't remember every day of my life. I've had some good birthdays, I love every Thanksgiving, acceptance letters have been nice, and my friends and family so wonderful that good days aren't hard to come by.

However, the best day of my life (I think) happened the day after my last post, when I finally made it home to Don Juan.

Here's how it went: After traveling to Don Juan by gua-gua(minivan bus) I get off at the motorcycle stop to see my favorite motorcycle chofer waiting for his next passenger. His nickname, by the way, is Peito, or "Little farty." It doesn't bother me while we're driving along though!

We zoom along, me holding on for dear life (it had been awhile since I'd ridden a motorcycle). As we turn into my neighborhood, my next door neighbor Dariel, who is playing with a rock, jumps up and screams "ALICIA! LLEGO ALICIA!" This kid has a cute grin, and this day was no different. He sprinted alongside the motorcycle, screaming the whole time, calling other kids out of their houses. By the time I got off of the motorcycle, there were 20 little children screaming my name (and several women). The kids helped me carry my bookbag.

And guess who was sitting on the couch waiting for me? Denny (my cat).

I sat down because I'm not as strong as I was in my youth, and am soon plied with a baby. My other neighbor (a 2 year old girl) wraps herself around my legs. The kids seem at a loss for words (which has never happened), and are staring at me as I start leaking from my eyes. The house had been cleaned (oh, wonder of wonders), and several of them tell me how they helped "I swept! I took the trash out! Look where we put this game! Look at this folder here!" The 2 year old takes the place of the baby (mercifully, as she had the "I have to pee" look about her), and my neighbor pops in with lunch- beans, rice, and some sort of meat. I share with her daughter, and the kids show me the welcome home sign the art teacher made for me.

The excitement dies down, and as some kids leave, others begin to start playing. Soon, my Peace Corps friend Angela stops by with a family that I was going to take to Family Camp (they were able to go without me) and another woman from the neighborhood, who begins to sweep and mop my floor. We all share some sweet, cold soda straight from the udder of the colmado, and they tell me about how amazing the camp was. When the women leave, me and my friend share some fried platanos and guacamole she had made me.

She left and kids came back in to hang out, other women stopping by occasionally to say hello.

Over the next couple of days I made it into the school, saw some of my students, and had many happy reunions. Needless to say, even though I can't work to my full capacity, it was well worth it to return; I hope all of you get a day like I received.

Paz,
Alicia

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturday Night Dengue Fever...

A few months ago, I started running to "be healthier" (lose weight). Whilst running, I encountered the most formidable opponent I have encountered in the Dominican Republic.

What was it? It must have been pretty bad, to be worse than poverty, a broken educational system, blatant political corruption, machismo, and loose bowels.

It was a mosquito. The little sucker bit me, and left me with a gift to remember him by: the gift of Dengue Fever. Awesome.

It was a gift because friends come out of the woodwork when one is really sick. The priest, Fr. Ron, paid his driver to take me to the capital AND visited me as I was clutching a bed pan waiting to vomit. It takes a good friend to do that. The art teacher came in from the school and told me about the fun things we’re going to do when I get better (most involve dancing and Presidente). My neighbor called several times and offered to take care of the love of my life (my cat Denny), and more called me and told me they wanted to clean my house. Which, of course, made me think “Why in the heck didn’t I get sick sooner? People are lining up to clean my house for me!” The principle of the school came by and told me all of the students were praying for me.

Pretty much every volunteer in (and out) of the vicinity came by to visit, bringing clothes, flowers, magazines, and positive energy. My supervisor made several visits, and the Peace Corps doctors got together a team of medical miracle workers. Plus, I had no less than 2 aunts and uncles come visit, and both of my parents flew in to see me.

Finally when I had been poked, prodded, drained and re-filled, x-rayed and bruised and iced and scanned and really everything you can think of, they let me out.

And so here is what I got: a 3-week, all expenses paid recovery vacation at home. A new appreciation for freedom (no IV, oxygen, pulse, blood pressure machines anchoring me down). A new appreciation for everything I can eat and drink. Realization of how nice people often are (and of how many wonderful people there are in the world).

And, of course, due to the Dengue Diet, I did lose some weight…guess the running worked after all. Ha ha. hem. (Of course, my family did ply me with food nonstop once I could eat again…and it was good.)

So now, friends, I am back in Santo Domingo. Tomorrow I head for Don Juan, and I am going to try to make the most out of the time I have left here. Due to medical complications, I can only stay until mid-January instead of the summer, so I am going to use the next 60 days to do all of the stuff I have talked about doing, but never have done yet.

Some examples (feel free to add your own suggestions):
Taking some children who have never been to the capital to see a movie in a theatre!
Going dancing in the city of Monte Plata!
Horseback riding!
Making the reading manual better than ever!
Training teachers to use the manual!
Teaching some youth a business course!
Baking lots of things with lots of different kids!
Teaching my neighbors to play Chinese Checkers!
Eating free beans and rice every day for lunch!
Drinking Presidente when and where I feel like it- no need to project a perfect picture of myself anymore!

As always, visitors are welcome until I leave. I cannot wait to go see my goddaughter, friends, neighbors, and cat (mostly the cat, I must say). Hope you all are healthy, well, and full of energy!

-Alicia

Friday, August 26, 2011

Attack of the Killer Moths!

2 months have passed, and I have been jolted out of my non-blogging reverie rather violently by none other than a pack of vicious, disgusting, killer...moths.
Yes, you heard me right. Some find them beautiful. I find them disgusting.
The recent rains (I use "rains" broadly to mean hurricanes) have made me hostess to lots of new friends- large spiders, small spiders, ants, the norm...and the aforementioned spawn of you-know-who. They started out so innocently. A little cocoon here, a little cocoon there, a little heavy rains, and holey moley there are 1,000 of those suckers plastered to my concrete walls. Yesterday, as I was trying to blissfully drift off to sleep after a long, rainy day, I was awoken when something flew into my face. I slapped it- a knee-jerk reaction- into my face, and had moth guts all over my cheek. That'll teach me. A normal person then would have gotten up and washed her face, but I had no water inside the house (I forgot to put the bucket out when it was raining), so I wiped the guts off with my hand and placed them on the side of my mattress. Something ate them in the middle of the night, so now I don't even have to clean up a mess.
Is that gross? My apologies. Have I mentioned my luxury cabin is still open for visitors?
In other news, school has started! I was loving my summer- visiting nearby volunteers, working on grants and emails and literacy manual in the capital, spending quality time with my cat, and coloring and baking with my kiddies, but the free time was really making me antsy. Today I went in and got a list of students who need to learn to read from the teachers, so that on Monday I can jump right in to my last year (sniff!) of teaching kids to read at the school. There are a few who have been working with me for 2 years- my time is running out! But I am very excited.
Outside of school, one of my youth groups is having a graduation this Sunday. They will be presenting a drama and 2 dances, and I will be presenting them with diplomas and cake. It should be lots of good, loud fun.
At long last, the literacy manual I have been pouring my heart and soul into the past couple of months is finished! It is a compilation of activities and worksheets that I have used to teach kids to read, available for volunteers across the country! Just think: a country of literate children. That would be incredible! Goes to show that, even if the government is not willing to shell out for education, a few motivated people can overcome!
On to other things: Latrines: Still waiting for funding. Check back soon. Cholera still a problem. The wait...is...unbearable! Moreso for the families than for me.
Basketball courts: Still fundraising. Those suckers are so expensive! Many thanks for all of the work of Mrs. Manteiga's class, though. You all are AMAZING to help out children you've never met in a country you've never been to! Whomever says that kids can't make a difference is WRONG! You all ROCK!
Sandals: Still breaking. But I did walk bearfoot the other day, because one of my youth's sandals broke, and I didn't want her to feel so embarrassed about walking around barefoot. Big mistake. Those dirt roads are more rock than dirt after all the rains, and, well, my lillies are tender.
Cat: Healthy, his "girlfriend," the kitten, turns out to be a boy, after all. Looks like kitten was using us for the catfood.
Oh, also, finally, I'm a Godmother! I am very nervous- I had an amazing Godfather (Uncle Clark), and I really want to provide the same kind of support for Darianni. There isn't much pressure from this end, as godparents here usually do...nothing. So at least my best efforts will be meeting expectations here. Anyways, her name is, as I mentioned, Darianni, she is 1, she can't say anything but she walks a lot, she is in diapers and loves Dominican food, and whenever she sees me she cries unless I hold her. Which means she likes me, I think, or that she likes being held, which is probably closer to the truth. They really follow a different childcare ideology here, which has been a little challenging at first, but I do my best to absorb the culture and share mine, as well. For example: "In my family, they usually never let us pick up rocks from outside and put them in our mouths. You know. Germs and all. I bet she'll have a really strong stomach!"
Will blog soon, because I will have more to blog about. Hopefully some reading successes or at least something that smells faintly of not-failing.

Live long and prosper!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'll sleep later and Super muchachos

Hello everyone.

I hope you all are enjoying your summers. Whether or not you get some vacation time, it is always nice to go out into the heat and soak up some vitamin D and UVA/B rays. My skin is so tan that I look like I use a bottle of that spray-on tan. Which of course I don't, because I'm a volunteer and I'd rather spend the money on good food.

To get on with the updates...
The past few days I have been getting up early in the morning to go running. The road is terrible, but the views (when I'm not staring at the ground because I've tripped) are incredible. One day, after running with a friend(I leave around 6, get back around 7:30; there's a considerable amount of walking and talking involved) I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep again. Which I can do, because it's summer. It just so happened, though, that the faucet outside of my house had running water. Not one to let a good opportunity go by, and also because I had absolutely no water in the house, I decided that I would collect some water, and then take a nap. During the process of water collection, however, my next door neighbor Dariel poked his head in and asked if he could color. He's such a nice helper that I said yes, thinking I'd kick him out when I got the water. But then his mom said "Alicia, I'm leaving, he'll stay with you for the morning." Great. So of course all the other kids see Dariel and come in to play too. Fine; one of them helps me wash my dishes, which is cool.

This is when the fun begins. My mom had suggested that I let the kids convert the jungle behind my house into a garden. Behind every house in my neighborhood is a large plot, and many families use that area to plant plantains, yuca, and other food. I have not done so because I don't really have that much free time during the school year and when I do I'd rather do something less productive, like watch Glee on my computer. Previously, I had ran the garden idea past the kids and they were super excited. So we're playing in the house and one of them asks when we can start on the garden. Figuring I'm not going to get to sleep any time soon, I suggest that we begin then and there.

Me and the kiddies all stomp out to my backyard. Recently I had paid some guy to machete everything (because my neighbor told me I had to because there were snakes living in my backyard and she didn't want them near her baby). He chopped most stuff down, but left all the clippings. In the US, we'd probably get big trash bags, fill them with the clippings, and leave them on the curb. In the DR, you make piles of the clippings and burn them. Well that is easier said than done, considering the huge amount of clippings, the fact that it rains every day, and the fact that the people working on this are me, who knows nothing about this stuff, and a bunch of 11-year-old kids. So for the past couple of days we've been burning for a few hours, and I hope to finish this week. Anyways, it's all good, dirty fun. The kids decided who would pick up the horse poop for fertilizer (there's plenty lying around) and that we'd plant black beans, corn, plantains, oregano, and avocado. It's their garden, really, so we'll see how it works. I also think I'm going to try to get ahold of a swing or something; that would be fun.

Anyways, that day I did get a little nap in after lunch, but was woken up by a kid who I'm tutoring during the summer. Really though, I'd rather a kid know how to read than me get a nap. And that's the end of my no sleep story.

You all might remember that last year I took some boys to Camp Superman. I took them again this year- 5 days sleeping outdoors, bathing in rivers, peeing on trees and doing other stuff in latrines, learning to say please and thank you and wash dishes and play nice and work together and generally to be little supermen. The camp was going wonderfully until the last day. It started raining in the afternoon; some of the boys were painting masks they had made, and others were playing sports. The boys finished their painting, and it started raining a little heavier. As it was the last day, and the boys were loving playing in the rain, we let them continue playing. Since the camp site was largely dirt, soon we were surrounded by mud. Of course, the playing evolved into mud slinging, which was also fine; they were dirty anyways, and they all played nice (we had worked hard on discipline and respect that week). Then the rain turned into a torrential downpour. We handed out soap, and we all showered in the rain, which was cool, when we, the volunteers, realized that the boys' tents had all flooded, and that a lot of their clothes were wet.

Uh oh.

There really wasn't a section in our training labeled "What to do when you're running a boys' camp and it starts pouring and you only have one partial shelter and no dry clothes and don't really know much about camping in the first place." Luckily, some of the volunteers had had experience camping. We crowded all 42 kids under the one covered area (sticks holding up a tin roof), after telling them to get all their stuff out of their tents. We set up a tarp and a foot washing station under the roof, and hung up their wet stuff in the rafters and on clotheslines outside (still in the downpour; we assumed the stuff would dry during the night). The kids were awesome and really just waited huddled under the roof for awhile; we taught them to play Heads Up 7-Up and Simon Says. When the rain FINALLY stopped we ate dinner (the campo had killed 2 pigs for us), and had a reflection ceremony about the camp. In the meantime, camp workers nailed rice-sack cloth to the sides of the "shelter," making it a big tent. We congratulated the kids, telling them that in camp superman history, no group had ever been able to sleep all together in one big tent. One volunteer read them a good night story, and we all went to sleep (well, the kids did, and we were kept awake by the thunder and rain and fear that the big tent would also flood).

All in all, it worked out fine, and I was very grateful for the fact that PC volunteers are some of the most creative, flexible, energetic people I've ever worked with. And for all the kids know, we planned the rainstorm, and it was awesome.

That's all for now; soak up some rays and keep it real!

-Alicia

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I've fallen and I can't get up!

I realize that I still haven't written about the most adrenaline- filled experience of my time here in the DR.

Was it the time I jumped off of a cliff next to a waterfall? Nope. The time I flew off a rope swing into a lagoon of water? Nope. The time I was chased by a man holding a machete? Uh-uh. The time I found myself in between a hulking ogre of a woman and her child (whom she wanted to keep beating)? Not even close. Okay, think. Adrenaline. Surely, the time I skidded down my steep hill to school and landed covered in mud. Wrong again.

So, what was it? A few weeks ago, Fr. Ron had his 50th anniversary of being a priest (pause now for awe and applause...). It was really an amazing, elegant ceremony, and a ton of people (literally) turned out to give thanks to the man who has done so much for the Dominican Republic (I know. Kinda puts 2 measly years into perspective). I decided to help the teachers serve the honored guests (priests, sisters, and politicians), and then I piled into one of the teacher's husband's cars to start dropping off people. All was going well, until the battery stalled. Not many people know too much about cars, as not many people have cars, so some men did something to get it going again, and she decided to turn the air and radio on (even though I mentioned that maybe it wasn't a good idea). Whatever. So we keep driving, drop off another lady, and have to go up a hill to get back to our neighborhood. We start driving up the hill, make it to almost the top....and then the car starts rolling backwards. Fast. The brakes aren't working, she pulls on the emergency brake, nothing happens, we're rolling and screaming and I've assumed the "duck and cover" position in the back seat, thinking the whole time "My Dad is going to KILL me if I die in a car crash in the middle of some campo in the Dominican Republic." The woman steers us up a small hill (off the road) and luckily we avoid backing into a drop over a river and also avoid a large concrete light pole.

As people see this happening, they begin running, and we have quite a crowd watching us crawl out of the car. One woman starts screaming "Gracias a Dios! Gracias a Dios!" (Thank God, Thank God).



That is a picture of a bunch of guys trying to push the car off the hill she drove up in order to save our lives.

They never really figured out what was wrong with the car, but that night her husband fixed it, and the teacher and I had some beers and listened to bachata because, we figured, we had better enjoy the lives we have.

But, what does that have to do with falling and not getting back up? That's another story, that I will tell now. I figure the theme of today's blog can be bad things that have happened to Alicia but turned out okay.

So here's the falling story: I was on a bus (that I had waited for over an HOUR to catch), and it started pouring. My trip was to check out a potential site (the one I wrote about last time, that had sent a member to drop off their volunteer solicitation). The girl from that site had agreed to meet me with a motorcycle driver, because you really can't just hop on any motorcycle when you're going into the middle of nowhere. I get to where I need to get let off, and because my shoes are so worn and the floor is so wet, I wipe out and fall on the edge of the bus step. Now my butt hurts, I'm soaking, and my pants are dirty. So much for a good impression. So, blah blah blah, I finish the site visit, wait 2 hours for the bus to come back, get home, am late for my meeting, go to bed. A few days later I'm in a conference at a hotel, you know, where there are lights and large mirrors, and I happen to glance at my butt. Well, wouldn't you know it's black and blue! I have a black and blue butt! It is so gross. But, really, what's the point of having a gross butt if you can't even tell anyone about it? So now I've told the world. Also, it hurt a little for a couple of days, but now it doesn't anymore.

Other cute stories not relating to me getting hurt: I drink water out of a big 5-gallon jug (like most people here, since the water isn't potable), purified by the Alaska company. Yesterday, one of my neighbors saw in my Time magazine a picture of Alaska. He asked if I was from there, I said no and showed him Alaska on my map, and then he asked how they ship all that water down from Alaska! And why all the water in Alaska is so clean! Kids being literal is so cute.

Also, today I heard my baby neighbor saying "ooooh!" every 10 seconds. I went outside to check out what was going on, and she was huddling into her mother who was giving her a bucket bath. The water was cold, so she kept squealing every time it got poured on her....sooooo cute!

Last night I colored with about 10 kids by candlelight. Around 8: 10, as I was kicking them out, a mother came screaming at her 2-year-old (I had been coloring with him). "Why didn't you come when I called you?! D****o, c**o!" Now, keep in mind mothers generally let their children wander around the neighborhood, not really knowing where they are (the boys, that is). So me, after having spent a night of hearing or breaking up child beatings, I said to the mom "I guess you should have followed your kid or paid attention so that you would have known where he was! He's only 2!" But with a smile on my face so that she would not beat him and also so that she'll let him back in my house, because he likes it there. But on the inside, I was raging. I hate laziness. And, really? Letting your two-year-old son wander around, not knowing where he is, and then screaming at him? Just so that you can sit at home and gossip with your neighbors? geesh.

In a few days, my favorite siblings (that is, all of them!) are coming to town! It's better than santa clause!

Dios les bendiga,
Alicia

Friday, May 27, 2011

I spy with my little eye...

Today in the office, I saw what I supposed was a little rodent running about. Imagine my surprise when the rodet turned out to be a cute big iguana! Perhaps "cute" isn't the best word to describe my reptilian friend, but it was really interesting looking.

Other things that I am seeing: lots and lots of rain. Every day. Evidently, the April Showers decided to last until May. And probably longer. It's neat because I get to cancel all of my meetings after school. Why is that? Well, if nobody has a car, and the roads are muddy and impassible by motorcycle, and the women can't get their hair wet, and the men don't want to get wet either...there's just really no way anyone is showing up to a meeting. So, some forced relaxation!

The rains are bringing lots and lots more green. Where I live in Monte Plata is so green- before the rains. Now everything is brighter, grass-like plants are taller than children, the flowers are beeeeautiful. On the downside, the river has flooded a few times, making a nearby bridge unpassable, my feet get muddy, and there are lots of flying ants and mosquitoes (both of which bite). But the muddy feet part doesn't really bother me...they're usually dusty or muddy.

Let's keep going with neat things I've seen. A few days ago, a "gang" of around 20 neighborhood boys "rode" past on their "horses" (branches). In the rain and their underwear. Hahahah!

Today was a lovely day at the school, even though I wasn't there for too long. I went to pick up a student from his class to work with him, and his teacher said he'd been sent to the office because he was misbehaving. So I went there, and he had the decency to look embarrassed, and I took him to work with him...and wouldn't you know it, today we finished all the letters. The art teacher with whom I share an office space used to be his 2nd grade teacher, and she started jumping around and hugging him when he read her a complicated sentence. I almost started crying, and he got to write his name down on the list of students invited to the literacy party at the end of the year. I think I have worked harder with this one particular child than most this year (since February). Incidently, this child is also part of a family that got a latrine this January. His sister always helps him with his homework because his parents are never around. Nice kid, except for his tendancy to get into fights when I'm not looking over his shoulder.

Anyways, after that really awesome experience, a visitor from a community around 2-hours away came to see me. This community is soliciting a new PC volunteer, and hopefully they get one. They are so excited about the prospect, and have really motivated all of their community organizations to work together and fill out a form soliciting a volunteer, and have found homes where he/she can live. It's exciting to work with a group of people who really want their youth to have some opportunities, and I hope that they can get a new volunteer!

Just to clarify, this is how the system works (usually): community hears of PC or PC makes initial visit, community decides if it wants a volunteer and what he/she could do, community solicits volunteer, PC prepares community (and trains volunteer) volunteer goes to community! That way, volunteers aren't dumped in communities that don't know what to do with them (hopefully), and, since communities have had to work a little for a volunteer, they're more likely to work a little with them (also hopefully).

The last part of this particularly lovely morning: I had McDonalds. We never really were a fast-food eating family, but still. I don't remember the last time a burger has tasted this good.

Today I'm walking with the neighborhood youth group up to see the other youth group; my girls are going to give them a lesson on discrimination! It should be fun. Also, Sunday is Mother's Day here; we're having a party saturday and sunday to raise funds for the basketball courts we're trying to build here.

Speaking of courts...if anyone knows anyone who would like to contribute to the Basketball Court fund, all they have to do is send a check to the El Portal de Belen Foundation, to the following address, and earmark it "for the basketball court." The organization is a registered non-profit, started by the American priest in Don Juan.

El Portal de Belén Foundation
c/o Greg Calvin, Treasurer
51 Waterview Heights
Ithaca, NY 14850

Also, I hear that raising funds for a basketball court in the DR is a great service-learning project! On a different note, if you are a teacher or work with children and would like to start up a letter exchange program, let me know! I'm always looking for ways to get my children here to think about life outside of their small community, and I suspect it would be a great learning experience for your students to learn about life here!

Thanks for reading!
Alicia