New Year, New Ideas

Feliz año nuevo! It’s 2011, which means I’m coming home THIS YEAR. It’s amazing how fast Peace Corps is going, but although the end is drawing near, there is still much to be done. But before I begin explaining my new project, I’d like to recap on the greatness that was 2010.

Highlight Reel:

  • Made 4 trips to beautiful Cabarete beach
  • Jumped off the 27 waterfalls 3 different times
  • Hitchhiked in a race from Hato Mayor to Bayahibe and won second place
  • Spent vacation at a resort in Punta Cana with my parents
  • Celebrated 4th of July in Las Galeras, Samana and took a boat to the amazing Playa Rincon
  • Celebrated Halloween/One Year of Service down in the south at San Rafeal and Bahia de Las Aguilas, which required 31 volunteers to ride in the back of a pick-up truck for almost 3 hours, which is obviously awesome
  • Hiked and swam in the waterfalls of Bonao
  • Took a trainee to Ben’s site up in the mountains of Bonao where we hiked up a river to a waterfall then had a bonfire on the ridge in front of his house while his Dominican neighbors played live bachata, which was simply the most amazing weekend ever
  • Hosted a photographer working on a photojournalism project featuring volunteers from all over the world (more info on his book coming out soon)
  • Cooked a lot of food and shared a lot of love with my dear friends Ryan Stock and Shilpa Jhobalia, two of Peace Corps’ greatest returned volunteers
  • Taught 21 teenagers how to write their own business plans
  • Assisted 2 girls from my community to compete in Peace Corps’ and Plan International’s national business plan competition “Construye Tus Sueños”
  • Learned to make higuero with my artisans and spent a weekend at an artisan exhibition
  • Made and sold lots of Caribe Clean floor cleaner
  • Had the time of my life with my amazing Peace Corps and Dominican friends
  • Took in a campo dog and enjoyed her companionship
  • Said goodbye to good friends, let go of an old love and stumbled upon a new
  • Formed a very deep, valuable friendship with a Dominican guy

They say that your first year of Peace Corps service is not easy, and they are right. It was not easy to immerse myself in an unknown world, alone, and without speaking the native language. It’s been a challenging year, but it’s been great! I’ve reached the point in my service where I feel like this is home. I know my way around, I know who to trust. And because of this, I’m ready to tackle year two with confidence.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN: This year, I have decided to build a recreational center in my community. This project will consist of building bleachers next to the basketball court, installing a generator, electrical poles, and flood lights, landscaping, painting, and recycling tires. To make this possible, not only will I need the immense support of my community but also the support of my American community. I’ll soon begin fundraising through a Peace Corps Partnership Program. Once my grant has been processed, I will post information on my blog and on Facebook and probably YouTube as well on how to donate to my project through Peace Corps’ website.

Thanks for all your support and I hope everyone had a very happy new year!

*The photo below is the area we are going to build bleachers and landscape. I’ll post before and after photos as the project develops.

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One Comment on “New Year, New Ideas”

  1. Kate Says:

    Most importantly, FIRST COMMENT BELONGS TO ME.

    Secondly, I’m super excited that I made the highlight list for oh-ten. Hoping to be on it in oh-eleven as well.

    And finally, I’m super proud of everything you accomplished last year, and everything you have planned for the coming year. This is a huge project, but a vital one for your community, and it’s going to be a meaningful legacy for your second year of service. Keep up the good work, Roberts!

    -Kate


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