The past several days have been very full and somewhat crazy. Wednesday afternoon, we had a pulga (flea market) at the school. Instead of staying until 2:30 like normal, the kids went home right after lunch. We sorted through all of the items people had donated to Students International and snagged a few things for ourselves. People began lining the fence at 1:20, almost an hour before the pulga opened. When Alberto opened the gate, people came charging in - literally running out of their shoes. For the next half hour, people frantically searched through the different tables. It was basically the small scale equivalent of Black Friday sales in the U.S. That night, we had a Thanksgiving dinner at the base. The food was good, but I have to say my Mom's stuffing is way better.
On Thursday, the American teacher I work under had to go to the capital, so Mary (a Dominican helper) and I taught the class by ourselves. I was a little bit nervous before hand, but Mary is very good and the kids were awesome. Nap time was a bit more rowdy than usual. I believe a few of the kids were testing me to see if I would really make them take a nap ... they soon found out that nap time means nap time. All in all, the school day went very well. That night, Dennisse and I joined Dan at our old family's house for supper (he is staying there now). We had hamburgers! Even though they are nothing close to the hamburgers I have at home, they were still a nice change from rice and yucca. Dan walked us back to the base where we made brownies and watched "Diary of a mad black woman" with Brent. It was the most interesting movie I've ever seen. I can't say I will ever watch it again, but it did give us a lot to laugh about this weekend. Dennisse and I spent the night at the base in the softest bed I've slept in since being here.
Friday morning, after a wonderful breakfast of raisin bran (first time I've had that since leaving home), we all piled into the van and a truck and headed to Dajabon. We went to the Haitian market and actually walked all the way up to the border. It was the craziest thing I've ever experienced. The market is open on Fridays and Mondays; any Dominican or Haitian can cross the border with goods during those two days. Brent explained to us that the Haitians usually bring over stuff that has been donated to them by organizations, like toys and shoes, while the Dominicans sell things like food, diapers, and carry-out containers. The Dominicans are able to buy stuff cheaply from the Haitians and then resell the goods in stores and make a profit. All of the Haitians I saw crossing back into Haiti were either pushing wooded wheelbarrows piled high with rice, beans, and ice blocks or carrying big bundles of goods on their heads. The traffic of human beings was nothing like I've ever seen before. At one point, I was wiggling my way between a moving charter bus and wheelbarrows while ducking so I wouldn't get hit by the huge bundles on peoples' heads. I don't yet have pictures because only a few of us brought cameras, but hopefully by the time I come home I'll have gotten my hands on a few. We walked around the outer edge of the market. It was just as crazy as the border crossing. We had to hold hands and form a chain so we wouldn't lose each other. That night, we headed to a church camp about half an hour away. Me and four other girls pushed our bunk beds together and had a sleepover on the bottom bunk.
We spent Saturday at a beach. This was the first beach we've been to yet that has had waves. That was fun for a while, until one caught me, buried my face into the sand, flipped me over and drug me for a little ways. But I still enjoyed myself. There were lots of cliffs that offered a bit of shade ... I took a nap for a while under one. After leaving that beach, we went to another one, but everyone was so tired that we ended up heading back to the camp fairly quickly.
This morning, we went to a Missionary church in Dajabon. We introduced ourselves and sang a song in English and a song in Spanish for the congregation. We stayed for Sunday School, but the actual church service wasn't until later on in the evening. We stopped in Santiago for lunch. Since we were near a supermarket, several of us decided to pool our allotted money and buy some fiberous food there. We ended up being able to get a lot of really good food, like wheat bread and yogurt, without going over our budget. Creativity is pretty handy at times ... it saved us from McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.