Jan 1-3: Dominican Hospitality

Now that we’re off and running in the new year we thought it was time we started trying to spend more time with locals. To start our adventures I asked the mother of one of the boys if she would like to teach Nicole how to make another Dominican meal. Once we explained that we would pay for the food she was more than happy. Understandably since making food for an extra 4 people when your living in poverty would not be an easy task. Nothing like volunteering your wife for a little extra work!

Todays Cooking Teacher

Todays Cooking Teacher

Using some improvised Spanish sentence constructions we attempted to setup the lesson for a few days latter. It appears we didn’t get the message across because the next day, as we were heading out the door to town with my parents, she showed up to get Nicole for the lesson, food in hand! One thing we have improved on since getting here was improvising, so off Nicole went. Not sure whether there would be food for one or all 6 of us, or when the food would be ready the rest of us had a little “snack” while we waited. When the lunch was ready it was delicious. Spaghetti with a homemade sauce, rice and beans. The spaghetti had just a hint of cilantro which gave it a unique flavor.

Enjoying Lunch

Enjoying Lunch

Their home was the most interesting part for me. It was pieced together from various pieces of cut lumber, trees, and scrap lumber. The walls would clearly not have withstood rain from the sides, but the shelter of the trees may prevent this from being a problem. On the other hand, the roof appeared quite well done and probably leaks less than ours. On the walls hung a selection of childrens school certificates demonstrating water leakage wasn’t too much of a problem. They did have an old fridge that was pretty empty and this appeared to be the only food that was stocked in the home. The kitchen was simple; a 4 burner gas stove (no oven) sitting on a small shelf. Utensils were hung on the walls and there appeared to be pretty good selection. Shelf space was limited to maybe 1′ by 2′ total. The entire kitchen area really wasn’t much bigger than 5′ by 5′. In reality there was really only one small room, roughly 7′ by 10′ for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Of course there was a stereo system, but it was quite small and there was no TV.

Breakfast at our House

Breakfast at our House

Afterward Nicole thouht it would be fun to invite them over to our home for breakfast the next day as she was planning on making pancakes. Well to be truthfull we were planning on my parents making pancakes, but we won’t tell them that. After waiting a while past the indented meal time, understanding the differences in time scale in this culture, we decided I better head up and see what was happening. We’re not sure whether they were waiting for someone to come grab them or were just getting things together, but they came straight down. The breakfast was delicious and included fresh strawberries and bananas Nicole and my Mom had picked up on their early morning walk to town. Both the Mom and her friend came, but unfortunately the other boys and the father were working. After breakfast we couldn’t stop them from doing the dishes, which we still feel a little guilty about.

Then they invited us for lunch. Hmmm. Now we were beginning to wonder if they had interpreted our original request to teach Nicole, not as “IN a few days”, but as “FOR a few days”. I tried to explain that we really enjoyed their food and would like to do it again in the future, but could not get the message across. In the end I caved and agreed to come. Again we felt a little guilty that maybe they figured they had to repay our meal with one of there own. How to get out of this? Simple. We went fashionably late so that it was clear we didn’t intend for any teaching and enjoyed another rice and sauce lunch. All seems to be ok now, but we’ll find out tomorrow for sure.

Nicole put the oven to good work this morning and made her first cake here. The oven seemed to work well and the cake, now gone, was as delicious as ever.

2 Comments »

  1. Comment by Jacqueline

    Classic Ariana Picture….

  2. Comment by Brad Davis

    Definitely. You’ll be glad to know she was actually quite happy, but this is her new pose for photos.

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