I did not have any entries for August 18, 19, or 20, but I do have some pictures from that weekend.
Brad and I met a few more people today as we walked around town. We talked to a lady at the Portsmouth Book Store where I bought a copy of the paper that had the story of the swearing in. We also met some Ross University med students at mini-cash.
Today we talked to Diom who stopped by our apartment for no reason with his cousins who had for no reason shown up yesterday. His father died of cancer and he lived with his mom, stepdad, and three younger siblings. He told me he wanted to be a pilot when I asked him what he’d like to do when he grew up.
I really hope to meet some more people from Portsmouth and make some close friends. I really miss all my friends from home. Brad and I had a personal talk about what we miss. It is going to be rough for both of us and although we don’t have a whole lot in common, I think we’ll get to be close friends.
I think friends here will be what keeps me from Early Terminating. I never thought I would ET but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go home for a short time to help me through or get some visits from friends.
It looks like we might be able to get someone to do our wash soon. On the way back from a day at the Cabrits & Douglas Bay, a lady asked us who we were. After telling her that we were Peace Corps workers, she asked if we need our clothes washed. She may stop by to talk to us about it and if it is within our budget we might let her. I hand washed my clothes tonight after a dinner of chicken and rice.
The clothes I wore today were very sweaty from all the walking we did. We walked up a very long path on the West Cabrits. I was frustrated because I was afraid it would lead to nowhere but it took us to a cannon and great view of the sea. We walked back down among all the lizards and saw Lennox and some of the children he was informing about the Cabrits.
I met a couple of Portsmouth Secondary School students. I don’t know if I’ll be teaching them because I don’t know what I’m going to teach and even that won’t be certain until the end of September after we’ve been teaching. I’m not too worried. I’ll be happy to be busy and meeting people.
Don left us early this morning and left behind some of his food. I went out to replenish our bread supply and bought whole wheat bread and jacquari. The whole wheat was by mistake but I’m glad. It tastes good.
I also bought a mouse trap for the mouse we saw yesterday. After nightfall we caught it and tossed it in the garbage. I spotted another mouse and Brad set the trap for the next one. I hope that’s all there is. Jay was here when the trap went off.
He came mid afternoon and brought letters. I got one from John Michael [my cousin] and one from Metzer [my college roommate]. John Michael was surprised and Metzer’s was enjoyable. I felt a little homesick and slightly depressed as I read them. I really miss everyone and wish I wasn’t so far away.
But my spirits did pick up as I talked with Jay, saw the article in the news about swearing-in, and played “Hearts.” I had to learn it because I couldn’t remember ever playing it before. I also felt much happier after popping some corn. Brad and I finally mopped the floor but it got pretty dirty before the day’s end and we decided that we would like to have someone do our wash.
The boredom was worse today. I got depressed right before dinner but eventually snapped out of it as we ate, cleaned up, and played 500 rummy again. I think I’m going to need a TV to get through these two years.
Today’s adventure was to go to Douglas Bay again and try the goggles Don got in town yesterday. I took my underwater camera too. Before we left we heard about a tropical storm in Trinidad and Tobago. We weren’t sure how it would affect us. We didn’t get too far before it rained. It did often and heavy.
We were able to take a walk past Tan Tan along the road that leads through the swamp and to the beach. We must have walked 7 or 8 miles. We were only in the water for a few minutes when it looked like clouds from the tropical storm would make it impossible to swim.
On the way back we saw many crabs and heard a lot of lizards running through the grass. I jumped once after hearing so many of them. The three of us stopped at the Purple Turtle and a bar run by Oliver Joseph who was at the disaster preparedness meeting.
I didn’t feel any goose bumps just heat. I wasn’t really too hot except when we took an early morning walk to Fort Shirley on the Cabrits. The walk was just as long as the one to the beach the other day and at first we had trouble finding it. We went past the path which was up the hill and perpendicular to the direction we were walking.
It was really a nice place to visit. They have restored much of it and placed displays inside the buildings. Most of the displays are unfinished. We signed the visitors’ book. Most of the people who signed it were from Dominica but there were some US citizens and others.
We didn’t take a look at all the buildings on the Cabrits because we were overdressed and unprepared. My mind was in such a haze this morning I didn’t really think about what we should take. I was in such a rush that we went to the bakery and stores before most of them were open.
When we got back I washed clothes and did a little cleaning. Brad cleaned the outside of the refrigerator and I did a little sweeping. It got pretty boring today. Tonight we played 500 Rummy. Lennox stopped by today.
Don has also been encouraging us to get more out of Mrs. Garaway but I tried to point out that we shouldn’t go beyond honesty. If it is the honesty that makes me a weak negotiator, I don’t mind. I’ve had enough dishonesty in my life.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about while I’m here in Dominica is starting a monthly Peace Corps Bible study. A lot of volunteers have strong religious values or lean toward them. I was also grateful for hearing that there is a Methodist church in Portsmouth.
I heard about it at a disaster preparedness meeting that advised people on how to survive a hurricane. We are in hurricane season and we are approaching the serious months of the season. The meeting reminded us of some important matters we have to keep in mind.
We went to this meeting after we had walked north to go on the beach and swim. The beaches were small and the hotels I expected were non-existant. The water was clear and cool enough to give me goose bumps.
On my first day as an official Peace Corps worker Brad and I moved to Portsmouth. Don came with us because his apartment won’t be ready until next week and I invited him to stay with us since our apartment has two extra rooms. Although he will pay because he is staying for a long time, guests who stay for only a day or two will not mean we have to pay more rent. I hope I get some guests.
I signed the contract which leaves Brad under no obligation. I’m glad about that because this is his first time on his own and Sue Kelly really scared him (I think) when she was pointing out all the problems the rental agreement might cause. Mrs. Garaway was very receptive to the changes we asked for. We even got a gas stove because Don didn’t use the electric stove correctly which made us think we would not be able to boil water. The stove is in bad shape anyway. There are only two burners of which only one works. We didn’t test the oven.
We swept out the place and cleaned the kitchen and the plates and silverware.
While I was fixing up my room, I was listening to Prince on low volume. “Head” was playing at low volume because I didn’t know how the other two guys would like it. Don came in my room to help me with my mosquito netting and checked out my solar walkman. When he heard the music he liked it enough to want me to turn it up. Brad was happy he was on the other side so he wouldn’t have to hear it.
We also listened to music as the three of us played “Up & Down the River.” I came in last place again and Don won.
I took my first shower in the house and after everyone else finished theirs we noticed a big puddle on the floor. It looks like another thing to talk to Mrs. Garaway about.
I’ve been very laid back about this whole apartment thing. I have not been aggressive at all. It makes me wonder how I would do in law school or after law school when I may need to negotiate. Don paid me a compliment and said I would be very successful. I hope he’s right.