Sunday, October 30, 2011

Campo Immersion - Day 6

September 23, 2011

Today I was with the flooring group and we laid a floor for a woman and put yellow coloring with it so she got a yellow floor! It was really cool. Herman who is in charge of most of the flooring is literally the sweetest man ever. He is so patient with us and really wants us to learn how to do the floors by ourselves so he gives us a lot of room to do work. The woman who we laid the floor for also gave us tons of oranges while we were taking breaks and they were heavenly. I’m going to miss these oranges when we get back to ILAC.

Herman teaching Nat and me how to smooth the floor
 I have been speaking more Spanish with my mom and my brother-in-law and my nieces and nephews. It’s hard but the more I speak and understand I get more confidence. Even if I don’t understand completely I can usually get the jest of it because of context clues. My niece Vivi comes over in the evenings to draw with me in my journal. She draws a stick figure and tells me that person’s name and I spell it out for her as she writes it down. She drew her family and added me in the picture. It was really cute. She drew my family at home too because she wanted to know who was all in my family. It made me miss my mom, dad, sister and brother. Tomorrow night we’re having a fiesta with games and dancing and singing so I’m really looking forward to that!

Mithra and Kailee smoothing while Herman adds the color

-Chelsea Schnitzler

Campo Immersion - Day 5

September 22, 2011!

My "madre" Matilde and me in front of our house.
I am loving the campo! It is so beautiful here and I love my family so much. My mom's name is Matilde and is the sweetest lady in the world, and my dad (Cheche) is so awesome! Every day when I come home after work and supper they give me Spanish lessons and help me improve my speaking skills. Work is really fun, and I am so happy that we are pretty much on schedule with the latrines and floors. Comunidad Doce really is coming together through our work, and we are learning so much about each other and the wonderful people in this community. My brother is so funny, his name is Chichi and every night we play UNO, where he beats me SO badly!! It's been a great experience so far, I am so excited about the week to come. :)
Chichi and me!
- Sarah Spencer

Campo Immersion - Day 4

"What we would like to do is change the world.  But all we can do is we can throw out pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world." -Dorthy Day

Today we had our first group reflection and we discussed our time in La Vereda so far. We couldn't help but feel that despite the projects that were being finished, that we weren't doing enough for this community.  Emily shared how incredible she thought it was that essentially the entire world was created with the smallest reaction which then led into a beautiful chain of reactions.  Our work here isn't always in the number of projects we finish, that is important too but our most valuable work is in the small interactions, each one in some way causing another.  At the end of the day, we may only have two latrines completed, but we also have caused countless reactions.    

- Kara Luebbering

Campo Immersion - Day 3

20 de septiembre

Today I woke up refreshed and ready to go. After breakfast Shelby, Max and I headed with Lingo to continue working on one of the letrinas from yesterday. Since we did not have a lot to do and it was raining, we played and danced with the children while we took cover in Blah’s house.
                                                        Shelby, Max and me with "Blah" 
During lunch siesta, Cecila, Lindsey, Shelby and I went back to my house. We all sat down to play dominoes while my sister was sewing a shoe holder for her daughter, Dioelly.

After lunch we finished Blah’s letrina! Took some photo ops with it and Shelby also go to take a ride on a burro. J  After that we headed off to the comedor. We played dominoes again and took pictures with all the little kids as we waited for dinner.
We all fit!
After dinner, my mom came back to pick me up for dinner. When we got back to my house, we had a little fiesta of our own.  My mom, dad, and sister-in-law taught me the Bachata and Merengue.  Hoping by the end of the semester I will be able to master these two dances.

- Sarah Rubbelke

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Campo Immersion - Day 2

Today was our first day of work. We were all divided up into three groups. We also met the three construction leaders that would be helping us for the ten days:  Oswaldo, Lingo, and Herman. Today, we worked down the mountain about twenty minutes. The walk down is way easier than the walk up! All the groups got the pleasure to mix cement for each project. Then one group helped put a floor into a young couple’s house. I believe the girl was around 16, and she was pregnant. The husband was not too much older. Right next door the other two groups were building a latrine for the whole family. Lingo’s group mainly hammered the walls and roof of the latrine. Oswaldo’s group put the base down for the latrine and made the floor. And Herman’s group made the floors for the houses. We formed a bucket line system to move the cement process along faster. We also met Oswaldo’s boy today, Chino. He made Shelby and Kailee push him around in the wheelbarrow. Overall today was really fun. It was very hot in the beginning, but rained right before dinner which cooled down everything. I think everyone is still trying to get used to their new families and surroundings. But it seems that everyone is in high spirits, so the outlook to the trip looks pretty good.

- Carly Stratton 

Campo Immersion - Day 1

Today was our first day in the campo.  I met my family and I have 4 siblings- 3 sisters and a brother.  My family seems to be so sweet.  They live an a nice house and are building a huge new one next door- 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms!  Since bathrooms aren't a really normal thing in the Campo, this was really exciting.  My mom was so excited to show me that they would have indoor plumbing!

We got here at about 3:30, met our families and went to our houses.  I then met all the neighbors and talked with my sisters.  WE played Dominoes and they taught me 2 new card games.  My mom offered me every food under the sun and I snacked on Guayava- a fruit- and a really yummy caramel dulce!

After playing for a couple hours, I had to go back up the extremely large hill to eat dinner.  For dinner we had tostones, spaghetti, avacado, break and crackers.  They even made us kool-aid!  It was fun to hear about everyone else's families too!  A lot of us don't have siblings, but I am pretty lucky :)  After dinner we came back home and played more dominoes with my dad- we won!  Tomorrow we get to work building 18 latrines and cementing 5 floors..
So far so good!  I think this will be a great experience.  I'm still pretty nervous, but hopefully it gets better--- they speak so fast here!

-A piece from my journal
Cecilia Blume
Me with my host mom and sisters

Monday, October 10, 2011


Part of Comunidad 12 with the kids of La Vereda!
Each semester, Encuentro students go on two Campo Immerersions.  During these immersions, we spend ten days living with host families in rural communities. While we are there, we spend time getting to know the community, living in solidarity with our new neighbors and working on a service project.  For our first Campo Immersion this semester, we went to a small mountain community called La Vereda, near the north coast of the country.  While there, we constructed 18 latrines and 6 cement floors for families who didn't have them.  We each took turns blogging about our experience, so here are our perspectives of what life was like in La Vereda!

Welcome to the Comunidad Doce Blog!

Saludos de la Republica Dominicana!  Greetings from the Dominican Republic!

We've started this blog in order to better share our experience in Encuentro Dominicano with our friends, family and classmates who are interested in understanding what exactly we do with our time down here.  Once a week, one of us will leave a little message to fill you all in on what we've been doing, new things we've learned, and any adventures we've been on.  We'll share pictures and videos as well, so that you all can really come to see the reality that we are living in the DR week to week.  We hope to also use this blog as a space where our followers can learn how to help with some of the initiatives that can help our brothers and sisters here in the Dominican.  First we have some catching up to do, so stay posted for updates on what's been going on for the past month since we arrived!