Friday, October 26, 2007

Life is beautiful! My old life here as a Peace Corps Volunteer has prepared me well for my new life in the DR. I’m still an amateur farmer. They have to watch me closely and don’t let me do much on my own. My Dominican assigned age is probably about 13 in terms of my farm abilities. So I’ve learned to take it well, as a student of life. I’m learning a new life from the eyes of an adult; learning much more than the harvest cycle of coffee; peering deeper into this culture that is already part of my life. I’m more comfortable in my skin here because I feel more like one of them.

For example, last night we were discussing the whereabouts and advantages of certain fallen trees: some trees last longer, some trees are cheaper, some trees are closer and some trees better hidden from the corrupt forest rangers.

Antonio and I have a connection that surpasses any standard I’ve set for other friends. Although our conversations are constant and we don’t really talk all that well. But we love each other and show it through service. Everyone in Los Frios speaks well of him. Antonio is a father of 9, a farmer, a successful cock fighter. He is wonderful with his hands, and his movements are efficient and careful on the farm.

Lin, another community leader, is a short man who gets very little verbal support. He’s respected as sharp business man, a strong negotiator, and sells more work animals (mules & horses) than anyone else in the region. He can barely sign his own name, and he has taught me an amazing amount of leadership. For example, any leader is going to get shit from some people and not everybody is going to like you; the development of the community is more important than being everybody’s friend; one should tell things how they are and do what one can; in hard times, peoples true respect is shown, not when things are just ‘normal’.

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