Once again I find myself typing out a post in the dark. Which is to say, I am sitting on a bed in a dark room with the electricity out, except I cannot find my internet stick in my bags so I am typing this into Word and hypothetically I will post it when I go to Barahona this afternoon. Or this morning. It is raining outside, or at least it was pouring a minute ago but from the fact that the chickens and birds are now louder than the rain I do not think it is quite as bad.
Some of you are no doubt wondering how this trip has gone so far. All I can say is it has gone as wonderfully as I had hoped, and there are enough good parts that I can disregard the fact that I have literally been craning my neck around corners when passing by certain places where I know certain people are possibly at, just so I do not have to see them. As of now I am down to just avoiding one person and that is probably for the best, no matter what someone hinted at about time changing people. Time does not change people quite that much. Would Caesar have wanted to chat it up with his old pal Brutus if he’d survived the Ides of March, even if the other people in their circle of friends had described his change of heart as eloquently as Shakespeare’s monologue? I doubt it. Knives in the back hurt. A lot.
But that is unimportant. I have other Rubicons to cross, and I cannot be bothered with the one I already built a bridge over. What matters now is that the bright Caribbean sun shines down on me every day when it is not raining and the sparkling river is as fun to swim in as ever and the turquoise Caribbean sea still churns its white waves against the white rocks near the vast green mountains. This is where I am. This is what I am doing:
Get up. Hang around the house, maybe read a book. Well, probably read a book, chat, wait for breakfast, nibble at food, brush teeth, sit on porch, read more book, chat some more, hang out, maybe watch TV if there is electricity, eat lunch. After lunch, go to river, chat with old friends at river, swim in river, chat some more, go back to house, visit with old host family, do whatever, see volunteer friends from neighboring communities, eat dinner, watch more tv if there is luz, walk around Los Patos a bit, maybe read more book if there is luz (light) and hang out with the family here until I go to bed at some point in the night. It’s really quite relaxing. I know it probably sounds boring but I’ve never had a vacation quite like this one before. It’s different not having a schedule for my days.
And it is very different from how things were during the diagnostic, which was much more packed than the average volunteer’s diagnostic. For one, I am avoiding the school where I spent hours every day and the Center I was supposed to be reopening like they are centers of plague. I went to the school my first morning to give the map of Los Patos back to the sub-director, who’d given it to me during my service. It was made by a volunteer but really it belongs to the community. So I darted into the school like a polar bear plunging into the water after a seal, delivered the map, and fled. Then yesterday when I stopped by the sub-director’s house I apologized for my abrupt and probably rude behavior by explaining that I was scared somebody would ask me when I was going to be working in the Center or coming back to the school. It wasn’t unreasonable either. Kids have been asking me that ever since I got back here. I do not want to answer. They don’t like it when I say never. But that’s the only answer there is.
Tomorrow I’m going with some friends by motorcycle to a place called Bahia de los Aguiles. Apparently it is the most beautiful place in the whole country, a real eye opener, a beach alongside a desert located on the other side of the southern bend of the DR. It’s only an hour or so from Los Patos. It should be pretty fun. One never knows what time one has. I’d planned on going there at least a few times during my service but I never did during those six weeks so I am going to do it now.
Oh, and speaking of motorcycles, one of the good friends of my neighboring volunteer told me he did not want to see what would happen if I’d been able to live here on my writer’s salary. Just because I said I would buy a motorcycle of my own and start driving it. I think I’d look great cruising down the main highway in my sporty black helmet when I go to visit my neighbors or whatever. Apparently, though, that thought is rather terrifying to him. Wonder why. Haha. I’m sure I’d learn how to drive one without smashing into everything on sight. Eventually.
Now it is pouring again and the chickens have gone silent. Probably hiding. Oh DR. I remember you and your rainstorms so well. Some things really do not change. I’ll never forget the sound of rain beating down on tin. Even though this particular house has a cement roof, there is still tin over the chickens out back, and it is their roof I am hearing while the lluvia beats its raindrops down upon them. Wonder if I dare go up to the chicken farm again. The farmer was a really great guy. Very friendly. But it is outside of the town, up on the mountainside, and I am not allowed to stray beyond the boundaries of the town without a guide. When I was a volunteer I planned on doing so eventually, when I gathered groups of kids or teens to go with me, but that is out of the question now. That future does not exist.
So, that’s how things are going so far. I’m sticking to the good like glue and making every effort to avoid the bad. I have a lingering suspicion that she is avoiding me too. It’s not like nobody could find me if they tried. Probably the whole town knows by now which house I am in, and she always had a knack for knowing what I was up to the moment I did it. Perhaps she disbanded the surveillance once I was “banished.” Either way, out of sight, out of mind, and I would much rather spend time with the people I once considered my dearest friends. So I am. J
Wolf of No Country
PS: Better yet, I found the number of my internet stick so I am posting this from the bedroom. Perfecto. :)