Saturday, August 31, 2013


September 2, 2013. Well lots of things have happened as of late. I just feel like making a list, my apologies.

I broke down crying with my kiddos and in the office last Tuesday.
The director is now helping me teach (more like manage the munchkins-but often leaves me still or says she has meetings in Villa so I'm left alone anyways).
Her idea of planning was copying the Ministery of Education curriculum book (3 hours worth of writing for me).
Thursday went better with her there but I felt like a failure.
Friday my boss Ann came and she did my house check. With the promise I'll buy a few more locks for the windows and one that actually works for the front door, I got the go ahead to move on my own!
Cue intense excitement and then just as intense nerves that kept me up all night.
She and I then spent the day with Juana, a woman from the NGO American Chamber of Commerce discussing the many challenges I face here with my two schools and what their role is.
Found out much more about my other school that I haven't been able to do anything with yet.
My Doña fed us.
The three of us left for Villa to then talk with Lula and Greg because AMCHAM provides support for their school too.
We went to a celebration held by the Fundación Rica to honor the excelling students of the schools in the area. Munchkins from my schools were there! It was long and a bit confusing at times but beautiful. And I was so excited that there was finally some positive recognition in a culture where negativity is almost the sole motivator. Us PC people were recognized too haha.
Juana pulled (more like dragged) me over to talk with Elva, the director of the other school, and we have a promise to meet and discuss my plans on Tuesday in the afternoon-yay!
Went back to Lula and Greg's place to pull a document off of a USB that a man left me about the court estimate (never met the man before in my life and he left me his business USB like it was nothing).
Returned home.
Started the Courts4Kids application at 8pm.
Finished with a few complications at 11:30pm that was probably the most difficult and scary "Send" I had to press. 
Fell asleep around 4am.
Woken by rooster on the roof at 6:30am.
Started getting ready to go to Villa with Linda to buy some house stuff (!!!!) 
Bought: a bed, stove, and gas tank. But!
Found out that I can only spend a certain amount each day cuz of stupid Banco Popular.
Made plans to go back to Villa in the morning to buy moreeee.
Apparently Dios didn't quiere so I laid in bed all morning and then went to search for Linda in the afternoon. 
All stores close at noon on Sundays in Villa. Obviously we didn't go. 
Made plans for Monday afternoon!
School in the morning. If we ever have all of the first graders we will now have 19. In a tiny tiny classroom. It was going okay until Nati left me alone for an hour and a half after recess. Again, I had no control. Two new kids that came today said straight to my face that they don't respect me so they don't have to listen to me...
Nati has a meeting Tuesday so I'm on my own all day.
Left school around 4 and headed to Villa for another shopping spree!
Bought: locks for my windows and doors, nails, coffee maker (nothing like the ones at home lol), coffee mugs, plastic chairs, pots, broom and mop, dish drying rack, scrubbies, pillow, garbage can, tall mirror...possibly more but I'm blanking.
And I was told I can borrow the fridge I have in my room for the next two years. And Dulce is giving me two tables to use in my kitchen (!!). 

Now it's time to plan for tomorrow... And mentally prepare myself for the afternoon too. 

Buenas noches.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Adios, Mayelin. Nos Vemos Pronto

August 25, 2013. So I know I haven't done much detailed writing as of late. There's a few reasons for that. 1. School started. And despite hardly any kids showing up, there was lots of planning, prepping, and stressing to do. I was at the school from 8am to 5pm everyday (minus the 12-2 lunch break which I already know I'm gonna miss when I go back to the states). 2. I caught the gripe Thursday and wanted to die Friday with the fever I had and Saturday yet again. 3. I've just been super pensive lately and not really wanting to share. 
Nothing bad. But the news of my best little friend, Mayelin, moving tomorrow got me thinking more. 
This is us:

She was the first girl I met the day I arrived here. She helped me unpack. She drew tons of pictures to hide the bare, ugly, dry cement walls. She played cards with me. She laughed with me when the words just wouldn't come (which was very very frequent in the beginning). She was there behaving when I lost control trying to teach the third graders on the spot. She introduced me to her mother who has always been incredible to me and made me feel at home. She did my hair hundreds of times. And let me do hers. She rarely gets to eat so I'd always sneak the rest of my food to her. We played pelota. I told her how beautiful she is everyday. She tried her darnest to sing to my English songs with me. We danced. She took me to colmados. Corrected me sometimes when I made grammar mistakes...
She came today around 6pm and sat on my bed, quiet. We chatted a little and then she said outright, "I'm moving tomorrow." It took me a second to process what she said because I think I was hoping I had heard her wrong or my Spanish sucked in that moment. But I was right. Her mother and father are having issues and she, her mother, and brother (who is in first grade and the biggest trouble maker but also gives the best hugs-love him) are leaving tomorrow. It was just decided today. She looked up at me and as her eyes welled up said, "I don't want to go" and proceeded to sob in my arms... 
And as I rocked her a bit and played with her hair holding back my own tears, I can't even begin to describe the feeling I had. I was so overwhelmed with a heaviness in my heart; but it wasn't all a bad heaviness. Yes, I'm gonna miss the shit out of that girl. Yes, it hurt and still hurts. But wow. How blessed I am to have known her. To have had her touch my life-even the days she drove me crazy and I just wanted to be alone. She saved me countless times when I thought I would lose it and when I felt so alone. And it's been only 3 months since I arrived here in my home. And I'm already so incredibly overwhelmed with love for this little girl. I cannot even imagine what it will be like saying goodbye to this community after my two full years. And despite this insane roller coaster, the emotions I've experienced that I didn't even know I had, and the times where I just wanted to scream, I've never once felt like I needed to leave. Or that I didn't belong here. And seeing another friend (American friend) leave here for another adventure in Africa, the thought, "I could see myself doing things like this for much much more than two years" swept through my mind and took me by complete surprise. That feeling may change after my full service is up but wow... I felt it. And I still feel it. I'm supposed to be here. Doing this. Meeting and falling in love with girls like Mayelin. And hopefully changing as many lives as are changing mine.
I wouldn't change any of this. And I don't ever want to stop.

Buenas noches. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's No Wonder!

August 24, 2013. Well it's no wonder I was sick all the time (not ALL the time, no. But frequently) in the states! I just learned all of the things I'm supposed to and not supposed to do when sick!

So to save my dearest friends and family from back home from the ignorance that exists when it comes to your health, here is that very list-with mostly don'ts. You're welcome :D

1. Don't drink water-Only rum and lemon.
2. Lemon with onion somehow made into tea is the only thing to drink.
3. Don't sleep-too much is bad.
4. Don't go outside for fresh air-and the higher up you go, the worse it is. So don't go on the roof to star gaze.
5. Don't wash clothes-soap and chlorine will make you worse.
6. Don't get wet (I just so happened to get wet from the rain a few days ago which is what brought this on according to all my neighbors)
7. If you have a fever, don't put anything on you that is cold-opposite temps is a bad thing.
8. Don't blow your nose (even if you can't breathe).
9. Don't wet your hair when you have a fever.
10. Don't talk on the phone. 
11. Try not to think too much.
12. Keep laughing to a minimum.

I think I've got them all but I'm sure there's more! I'll let you know as soon as I find them out :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just a Classroom Update

August 20, 2013. 

Just some updated photos for ya :) and for if I even have time to do these things, I'll describe what they're for.

"Hacer Ahora" will be for the kids to do as they come into class since they arrive at different times and breakfast is being served and eaten and it's chaos. So while they arrive and eat, there will always be 3 things to do with the last always being to read.
To the left of the board it says, "Prometemos" which means, "We promise." This will be the rules that we will come up with together as a class. And the kiddos will sign the bottom of it as a promise to follow them.
"Las Palabras de Amor" because it seems as though "Por favor" "Gracias" "Buen día" "Permiso" etc are almost non-existent here... And I'm gonna bring them back.
My little robot man in the corner of the board is my classroom management strategy (for now...). Each day the kids succeed and behave, a star will be colored in. Once we reach the tenth star, we will have free time for the entire rest of the day after recess.

Reading corner.

Not sure how this one is gonna go but these are my classroom jobs. There's tape next to each one so I will write their names beside a job in dry/erase marker and change them weekly.

Self explanatory, I think :). Though in Spanish...

"Thank you for coming!" Because here, that needs to be said...

Buenas noches.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Don't Fight The Current. It'll Sting You.

August 19, 2013. And let the new school year begin!

But we'll get there in a second.  Rewind time for me? Let's go back to Friday. I returned to my site by 4pm after a successful trip from the capital (with lots of stuff jam-packed in the trunk of a car and the trunk bungeed shut-I will admit, my nerves had me checking behind me every two seconds when we were going 80mph). I unpacked everything and laid down for a moment to rest. This "rest" however, turned into me passing out until 8pm. I guess that's what I get for not going to sleep until 2am nearly every night last week and then getting up at 6:30am every morning.  My host mom heard me rustle and called to me that she had made me dinner. I ate by candlelight and went right back to bed until Saturday.  
Saturday I arose to still no luz so I hung out with Dulce a bit. I went abajo to give Juana Iris her certificate for coming to my Community Diagnostic presentation. I also saw Ramirez who said the land is good to go for the court (!!!!). I was so pumped. Lots more information to gather but that part was the most important piece to moving forward. I then headed to see Linda since it had been way too long and since I knew I was leaving again. We chatted for a while but the luz returned so I left so I could wash my clothes. 
Nati (the director) was supposed to come to the school for something and I was gonna hitch a a ride back to Villa with her. She had invited me to go to the beach with her and her family Sunday.  She ended up not coming so I grabbed a carro público and went. And for the second time in a row, I successfully spoke with a random Dominican and understood everything :). I can't tell you how good that feels. I hung out with her and her family and enjoyed watching the dynamics of her children. She has an 18 year old daughter, a 14 year old daughter, and an 8 year old son. And the relationships between the three were exactly like Sam, Jacob, and I. Worlds away and yet we're not so different.
We arose at 6am and started preparing to go. What I didn't know was that there were 7 busses packed with people going too. Haha But it was awesome.
We went here:




I got stung by something. Haha yup. They think it was a starfish? I don't know if you can tell, but there's red, scaly marks in the shape of an oval and then two "legs" branched out from on side and two more on the other. But yea, I was just swimming along, in the midst of 100s of Dominicans, in shallow water, chatting, when...ZING. I felt something wrap around the back of my leg and shooting pain seeped into my skin. I screamed out and the Dominicans asked what happened. Of course I started laughing but I told them something bit me. They asked if it hurt and didn't understand how when I said yes, a lot, cuz I was laughing lol. I left the water and the markings you see above puffed up huge and blushed a deep red.  For a few hours I was in serious pain and fighting back tears. They put ice on it at first and then lemon (oh Dominican home-remedies). After what felt like forever, the swelling went down ("Gracias a Dios y el limón") and the pain stopped coming in waves :D
By the time we left, waited for someone that didn't show up, started to leave again, waited again, and eventually officially left, we made it back by 8:30pm. And public transportation stops at 8 so I was stuck there another night. I love her and her family so it would have been totally fine if the director hadn't just told me...
They don't have a first grade teacher for the first few weeks of school. And then followed up with, "Would you be able to do it?" I'm having 101 emotions along with this new adventure. It's actually not allowed by Peace Corps that I teach. This isn't my job, it's not my purpose. I'm not going to do much sustainable work this way. I'm not prepared. I don't want them to get used to just pulling me into a classroom when there's a hole. What would they have done if I wasn't here?
But then there's the other side of me. Screaming. YES! You can teach! You can try things out that you think would be successful (in a different culture) before trying to tell the teachers to do them! You can briefly help the kids love learning! Maybe it'll be a good way to be an example for the teachers. This is what you love! Sigue!
So I set up "my" classroom today. Holy-new-materials. Holy-in-my-element. Holy-work-load. Oh by the way, classes started today. But it's the norm here that pretty much no kids show up. Whether it be because they don't have a notebook or pencils or uniform or book bag, or simply cuz they don't want to, they just don't come. And coincidentally (or is it the other way around?), the teachers aren't prepared. No plans. No order in the classrooms. Bare walls. Dirty floors. Etc.

But before:

And after:

It's not done despite being there from 7am-6pm (partially cuz I ended up having to make 5 copies of two posters that I had made cuz the other teachers liked them and wanted them too) but I've got all week since most don't come at all this week. Half do next week. And then the rest by the third week. But I've got a billion ideas and no idea where to start. This will be an interesting few weeks, I'll tell you that. 
But hey:

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like
Lao Tzu

I don't believe in always letting things happen for I feel we have the power to change our circumstances and better lives. I do, however, know that there are times when we need to just ride the current; doing the best we can to continue breathing, continue floating, and calling out to those nearby.  Until, that is, a change in the direction comes into view.

Entonces, until I see that change in direction: tomorrow the work continues and I'm going to try again (tried once today) to see the director of the other school. Vamos a ver y Buenas noches.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's Funny How...

August 15, 2013. 

It's funny how... you can forget what a hot shower feels like until you take one again and stand there under the steam almost in shock.

...angry you can feel about everything until one person says one thing and that anger becomes unbreakable determination to change the looming reality ahead of you.

...a shower curtain that takes your breath away can break your bank but make you so incredibly happy.

...exhausted you can be but a few hours alone or a few hours with friends can extend your bedtime past what should be possible.

...good putting the cheapest sandwich cheese and ham in-between the cheapest bread can taste when you're starving.

...good cereal is for the first time in six months. And I wasn't even a huge fan of it back in the states. Dominican can make you feel like you're completely fluent and completely YOU again.

...long five days out of site can feel.

...powerful you feel when you have a dream.

...much love exists here and back home to carry you through the disaster you are in even when you don't deserve it.

...buying underwear can make you feel like you're in debt. can in fact survive for a week without Internet.

...much you can carry in a giant hiking bag and an Ikea bag (and then carry it on a guagua jam-packed with people).

...much patience you can have when you choose to have it. the sense of "home" can be created and the thought of leaving it (whether it be for a week or forever) already horrifies you after less than three months in site.

...we've been in this country for six months already.

..."going with the flow" is no longer just a choice, it's a necessity.

...capable you can be (or how capable you ARE) when it comes down to it. friends are formed in a foreign country where we come from 100 different backgrounds (US and DR).

...ready I am to make a difference when I still have no idea how.

Buenas noches.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

And Sometimes All You Need is Some Music to Dance to

August 10, 2013. Forgive me my fellow readers for it has been quite a while since I have updated the life I live here in the DR.
It has been insane lately but it is finally raining and I've finished (at least I think I have...) all of my plans. Let's backtrack together, though, shall we?
Monday I arose at 6am and headed out to Villa for the talleres, or teacher workshops. I didn't know where the school was so I asked the driver. After asking a few random people on the street, he found out, dropped everyone else in the car off first and then drove me all the way up to the school-which is totally not normal. But man was I grateful! I arrived on time at 8am (which of course means early here) and we started by 9. Seeing all the teachers again for the first time since the end of last year was pretty awesome. It was wonderful to see familiar faces in a sea of teachers I didn't know. We sat together and worked in groups together for the next three days. I felt welcomed, they were patient with me, and I wrote on every charla paper for every activity because apparently my handwritting is a thing of God here hahaha. The workshops were...interesting. Let me just put it this way: the definition of working hard is quite different-and that's not to say it's wrong. It's just different. For example, a group activity that the Ministry of Eduction allotted an hour and a half would have taken maybe thirty minutes in the states. Also on the first day, we weren't given breakfast. So the hour before lunch time was spent arguing with the directors (who weren't to blame) about how we couldn't work if all we were thinking about was how hungry we were... Which then the hour following lunch was an argument of how hot and tired we all were. Haha
Then there's the whole disconnect between the Ministry of Education and reality. Basically the first two days were spent "dreaming." What would your perfect school look like? What would a perfect school in your students' eyes look like? Etc. Then the pedagogy manual. Everything that should be done in the schools according to the big guys at the top of the pyramid. Except... In so many cases here, the utopian dream is nearly impossible. Whether it be due simply to the size of the school and the classrooms or due to the lack of proper teacher training, it just didn't make sense. And just made my blood boil. I saw passion. I saw hope. I saw a desire to change and make things better. But then once an activity was over, there was a break, or the session finally let out at 5pm, the truth escaped the lips of the ones at the bottom of the pyramid and the dream was stomped on by the high heels of reality (I have no idea how these women wear heels in the hills of Villa or the dirt roads of their campos...). And I get it. They're not paid enough. They're not appreciated. They don't get the help they need. But the other half of me is screaming, "BUT THE CHILDREN AREN'T TO BLAME AND THEY'RE THE ONES SUFFERING" and I'm at a loss for how to feel. And then I whisper to myself, "And what kind of change am I supposed to make...?"
Wednesday was my last day because of the work load I had (have) and I thanked God for that. I nearly lost it all day. I was losing patience, losing hope, hearing more things about the reality that I can't post publically, and just plain tired. But towards the end of the day, Nati all of a sudden goes, "Okay we need a dinámica to wake us up. Julie, get up here!" What?? Haha She made me do Alele with 30 grown men and women and it was hysterical. I introduced it saying that it was a dinámica for children and that they absolutely love it, no matter the age group. Also, I love it because it's not in Spanish! But it's not in English either! Haha So I did it with my whole heart (and body) and they loved it too! The rest of the day teachers were chanting it, calling me Alele, and laughing about it. There was also a video taken of the whole thing... And rumor has it that it might go up on Facebook. Haha I'll be sure to share that if it does.
Thursday Lula and Greg came to visit me! We spent the day just chatting and comparing lives. It's amazing how different we are living and we're just 10km away from each other...  They headed out around 4, and I spent the rest of the night doing what I had been doing all week: working on my Community Diagnostic presentation. Oh. That's the other thing I found out Tuesday-Nati, the person I want most with me to plan for this upcoming year, can't come with me next week for the presentation... So I was back to square one: alone. I was able to get Juana Iris but she can't come until Tuesday... Which required lots of emails and rescheduling my presentation. Boy do I love causing problems :P
Friday, I spent the morning trying to wash my clothes but the luz went at 9am and I only managed to get one and a half loads done... So I started plans for the six hours of adult literacy I was supposed to teach Saturday and Sunday. And I have to use the book that doesn't teach squat. But I made some materials, alternative ways of teaching what the book was trying to teach, and incorporated the book activities in the midst of my plans. After all, I firmly believe that adults learn in the same ways as children so I've got dinámicas, big charla paper activities, a crossword puzzle I had to draw by hand with awesome pictures:

(cuz printers are a luxury :P) haha, and more... (Also, that sexy mouth you see above is for the math portion of Saturday's lesson where we will learn about comparisons-less than, greater than- and that the mouth always wants to eat the bigger number-that's how you know what direction the symbol goes haha). That literally took me until 3pm and I finally stopped and headed abajo. I needed to ask Junana Iris if she could come over to practice the presentation in the morning on Saturday and go talk to the pastor. As Lula and Greg and I were planning the trip to the outskirts of the other side of the capital, we decided it would be best if I went to their place Sunday and left with them early in the morning Monday since I was traveling without my project partner. Because of this, however, I can't teach Sunday's class. So I needed to tell him and I had materials for him to use that I made. Of course, a simple visit turned into three hours of us chatting-and of course, I loved every minute of it. He forced me to talk and share my views and opinions on things and he rambled on and on about his (I even translated Adele's "Someone Like You" because he had downloaded it to practice pronunciation and wanted to know what he was singing lol). I finally told him I needed to go and work some more so he let me go. 
Upon walking back, however, I noticed quite a few people leaving the school dressed in nice clothes. Oops. I forgot about mass. I saw China, who yelled at me for missing it but then laughed and kissed me on the cheek. Haha I went home to a dark house and continued to work by candlelight. We didn't get luz until 10:30pm that night.
Today, Saturday, I arose and continued my laundry. To which my luck, bad luck that is, continued as the rains came and the luz cut out at 9am yet again. We finished my last load by hand, I hung string across my room to hang clothes, and Dulce put up rope in the back room to hang up more.

It's just not the same as the less-than-an-hour-dry outside in the DR sun...
But I spent the morning working more and waiting for Juana Iris to show up... She didn't. It was raining on and off yes, but there was plenty of time in between to make it to my house... I finished my adult literacy plans, finished my presentation as best as I could without the very, very, very needed corrections by a native speaker, and realized it is Saturday and I also had English class at 2pm.. So those plans followed. I managed to finished everything by the time Dulce placed lunch in front of me and told me to stop working so hard haha. But the rains continued and the reality of having both my English class and literacy class slowly disintegrated. And I got pissed. I worked way too hard and too long to not have class because of the rain. 
To calm myself, I went into my room and laid in bed for an hour... Letting the thunder in the distance beat at a slower pace than my heart.
Only to be "woken up" (wasn't actually asleep) by Alex poking me in the back and Lili crawling in next to me... Oh man did I feel like heat in my head haha. We chatted for a second and then I took my iPad out in the gallery and blasted upbeat English music and started dancing like an idiot. Alex joined me a bit and I felt 99% better.  It was so funny. I guess sometimes all you need is a little music to dance like an idiot to to end a crazy week.
English class didn't happen of course but the rain stopped before 3 so I headed out for the adult literacy class. And it went... AMAZINGLY. haha I was in my element. The Spanish wasn't perfect but they understood me. The dinámicas were hysterical. They expressed out loud that they felt as though they were learning something. And one guy was going to tell the pastor (he wasn't there, his wife was) how well the class went and was upset I wasn't teaching again tomorrow lol. :D I was flying high despite not being completely proud of the plans due to the lame book. 
Timing was perfect too and we ended right at 6. I went to Juana Iris' house to see if she could come over to practice and she was working... Until 2am... Looks like I'm gonna have to go to her house early in the morning and drag her to my house before I leave for the capital...

And with that, I'll leave this novel to a close. It's 6:30 now and all I wanna do is eat dinner, drink coffee, and hopefully go out and dance to celebrate the end of this week. Though I probably shouldn't go abajo every Saturday, I really want to this Saturday. Haha Vamos a ver!

Buenas noches. 

Update at 9:45pm: Moreno went abajo without Dulce and I. And the luz just came back... *sigh*

Sunday, August 4, 2013


August 4, 2013. 

MY HOUSE! With a little bit of a lawn!!

From the front door to the back. Not sure if that furniture is gonna stay but I hope so!! (Definitely not the moto though)

El baño! It's huge and INSIDE! And that tank for water is soooo helpful. That would have been so expensive. Definitely getting rid of that woman though...

The bedroom in front which is gonna be my "Sala de Tarea" for the kiddos in school :)

And the other two bedrooms were taken by Lili (like all these) and didn't turn out so well so I'm not gonna post them. They're smaller but perfect. Already said I wanted a plug in the one room and Dulce put someone in charge of that lol 

But here:

I don't know if you can tell but I'm REALLY EXCITED!! :D haha And sweaty... But don't judge me. It was really hot today and I was with the pastor for his adult literacy class and he made me teach on the spot. So it was stuffy in the school and I was sweating from nerves... Thanks Eduardo.

Okay so let's discuss something. My current rent for one bedroom with a family which covers food and such is $6,000RD monthly. That calculates to be about $146US. 
Now. An entire house with three bedrooms, bathroom, living room, kitchen, and gorgeous view of the rice patties (which I will get a photo of eventually)  is $1,500RD. That comes out to be $36US a month...

And that's all I have to say :)
Buenos noches.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How To Rent a House in the DR

August whatever today is, 2013. 

Me: Dulce, I'd like to rent Lucy's house.
Dulce: Okay, hang on. 
(Picks up phone, dials)
Dulce: Lucy? It's Dulce. Julie wants to rent your house.
Lucy: Okay.
(Hangs up)
Dulce: Okay, now she knows so no one else can claim it. When do you want to start renting?
Me: September.
Dulce: Okay.

The end.

Friday, August 2, 2013


August 2, 2013. Okay, I'm ready to go public with this. Haha that sounds funny. But seriously. Now that plans are in the making and three of the most influential people in my community know about it, I feel like I can tell everyone what I've been losing sleep over due to my excitement.
Remember the blog about my new dream within my bigger dream of Peace Corps? Upon doing interviews in the community, I discovered and understood better than there is absolutely NOTHING for the kids to do here (no matter what age, really). Yes, there is a Play but no one uses it because no one has the materials (a bat, glove, ball, nothing). So while my focus is in the schools with literacy, my new dream was a secondary project where (somehow) a center could be built for kids to hang out with books, games, etc, and also a court for them to play basketball or volleyball or something (and with materials!)
Well. Just about two weeks ago in the Peace Corps newsletter was an article about an organization in the states called Courts4Kids. This group sends a sports team of about 15-25 kids either in high school or college (with adults too) to a community somewhere in the world to build a court where it is needed and with the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, and soccer. They provide about half of the cost and provide extra labor hands. The community has to raise the rest, provide the local contractor, and information on where the team can stay and travel costs (etc). That's half of my dream right there... sitting directly in front of my face on my little iPad. Literally only a day or two after I had this realization. But the application was due August 31 if you wanted this to happen in 2014. I cannot even begin to describe to you what I felt in my chest that night. I didn't sleep (and haven't really slept since). My mind raced as far as it could go before my lack of knowledge halted all thoughts. So I would return to the beginning and filter through it all again. Was it possible here? Where could it be built? How could we raise the rest of the money? Would the community members go for it? Do I have the Spanish to explain all that is needed? Could we find out all the information necessary in one month? Etc.
Wow. So finally yesterday I was able to see the pastor and do my interview. First sign from God (as if I haven't already gotten a ton just with finding this opportunity when I did): I caught the pastor at his house. Second: In response to the questions, "What kinds of things are here for the youth to do? And what would you like to see here for them?" he said there is nothing. And among other things, he would love to see a court for the kids to play because so many play basketball or soccer but not baseball. Hahaha oh my god, seriously. Third: I showed him the project and he literally sprung to his feet with excitement. He went off, hands flying around and feet pacing the floor, about the possibilities and with the biggest grin on his face, raved about what a blessing this opportunity is. He told me to share this with my director and that Ramirez (another influential body in the community) was a construction man so he would know all about finding a local contractor, the land, and getting prices (fourth sign?). 
So today I met with Nati at the school. We discussed all things diagnostic first and then I brought up the project. She got excited too and proceeded to call Ramirez who came to the school within 20 minutes. The three of us spoke for an hour about where, how, when, and what needed to come next. 101 possibilities were discussed and plans are in motion. Ramirez already called someone to speak of the land and knows the urgency of the application. A Junta de Vecinos meeting will be held to involve the community and possible power-people in the bigger towns around us may be able to help financially. 
Holy. Shit. On the way out of the school I may or may not have done a little happy dance with a squeal.... And got laughed at hard haha. But with their excitement and quick movements I finally felt like there was passion here that matched mine. And this might actually become a reality. Incredible... And now, I rest for I have no more words to describe just how I feel. I'll have to leave that up to your, the reader's, imagination and how well you know me :)

Also: I freaking love avocado.
Buenas noches.