Saturday, April 30, 2011

El Campo

I missed blogging for Semana Santa, so here it is, late.  Holy Week is a major national holiday.  There's no school, most people don't work, and the streets are clogged with people going to the beach or visiting relatives.  Even though the DR is officially a Catholic country, the religious side of the week has completely disappeared for most people, and it's just another time for drinking and relaxing.

To celebrate, my host family and I went out to visit relatives in the Campo (campo refers to a rural area).  It's a bumpy ride down dirt roads past cows grazing in their fields.  Once you're out of the city, it's wonderfully quiet...less traffic, less pollution, fewer people, and beautiful scenery.  We've made three different trips to visit two different areas of the Campo, so the picures below are not all from the same time and place.

Many PC Volunteers end up living in a Campo community, and I would be perfectly happy with that.  There aren't as many resources available, but there's enough to live on, and it's a very peaceful, comfortable pace of life.  From the hints I've gotten, though, I don't think I'll be in the Campo, but rather in a Batey.  I'd be perfectly happy with that too, but I'll wait until Tuesday when I (finally!) get my site assignment before I go into detail.

The main attraction to visiting the Campo is swimming in the river.  This isn't the exact river we swam in, but it's another one of the many we saw while we were driving there.
View from a hill overlooking a region in the Campo

There are, of course, lots of animals out in the Campo:

The burro was popular.  He didn't cooperate with me very well, but my host family was able to work with him, even though they're from the city and hadn't visited these relatives before.

My host sister on the donkey

Notice the homemade saddle?

Sitting in a hammock under a mango tree

So far, the Peace Corps hasn't been too rough

And, of course, we had Habichuelas con Dulce.  Here are the beans cooking slowly over a fire, with a plastic bag to keep in the moisture.

The Campo facilities.  The door to the outhouse was a curtain.

This little fort was a playplace for the girl who lived there.  It's way more legit than anything you buy in a store, and it looked like it was used often.

These characters joined us for the river and the Habichuelas con Dulce.  The one on the right is some relative of my host family, and it's her house we visited.  The girl in blue is a neighbor.

I love this photo!  Campo girl eating Habichuelas con Dulce.

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