Sunday, May 11, 2014


Oh my gosh Constanza!

Because I was out of the country when my region had it’s latest Mini-VAC meeting and the new country director was going to be going to this round of meetings I recently found myself in the coldest part of this island a little farther up from the town of Constanza in a beautiful cabin with some of my best friends and some new friends.

I knew before I left for America that my regions Mini-Vac was going to take place while I was gone. When I checked into the region next to mine (the same VAC meeting I went to when I went to Playa Grande) I found out it was also taking place before I returned to the island. When I found out Region 6 was going to be after I returned I jumped at the chance. I have a lot of friends in that region, and I hadn’t really checked out much of that area. I also really wanted to see what the new CD had to say, even though I’ve already met her. I am a big fan of VAC meetings. A lot of volunteers tell me they don’t go to their meetings, but our region is known for having great VAC meetings. I was ready to check out the competition.

Sadly, I was denied. Because this Mini-VAC was in Constanza at a super cool cabin way up in the mountains there was limited space… or something. I was hopeful, but Serp informed me that I was out. So I was home, planning my … whatever I was planning, when I got a call saying I was in. Really?! I was excited, but I didn’t actually know the details. I didn’t know the date, I didn’t know the time, and I didn’t know the route. I called the regional coordinator and she confirmed that I was in and that the meeting was the very next day. I packed a bag, went to a meeting in site, and headed off for parts unknown.

I’ll try to condense the 9 hours of travel that took place after my initial 6 hours of travel to get to this meeting. We started at Caribe Tours at 7 a.m. Wait… that’s not fair. Let me start again…

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. I got dressed, made pancakes, eventually my travel companion woke up and by 5:50 we were out the door. A moto, a bus, and a few steps later we were at Caribe Tours for the bus ride. We met some more of the group, ate some fruit, and took the guagua to Jarabacoa. After that it was the back of a pick up truck to Constanza. In short, it was curvy, cold, raining, and we had a tarp over our heads for a part of it.

Check out my boys! Especially the tan one on the right… the far right! My favorite! 

After that it was a Safari truck up to the national park (Parque Nacional Valle Nuevo) and we dismounted at a beautiful cabin. I’m not going to lie, it reminded me a lot of Colorado. There were mountains forever. It was really cold. We had on hoodies and blankets and no, it isn’t just because we can’t handle temperatures below 70 degrees anymore. I saw pictures that were taken there featuring snow. This is where the strawberries are grown. The beds had big heavy blankets on them… three layers, that we all gratefully used. I chose to sleep in jeans, because the idea of sleeping in the shorts I brought was so undesierable. Also, Serp never took his shirt off. He was spotted wearing two shirts at one point. What world is this?

I don’t want to talk about work here too much, but I will say that this was probably the most meeting heavy of any of my VAC meetings. We talked and talked and talked… and then the Peace Corps Staff left, and we talked and talked and talked some more. It was all policy this and rules that, but it was super casual and that is why I love VAC meetings.

This is where we had the meeting. Check out the website. Just look for Villa Pajon. The cabin in the back is where we stayed. 

Also, Spades. Also, wine. Also, story sharing. Also, staying up late. Also, why was Serpas wearing his shirt so much? I woke up the next morning and took a walk with two new friend through the mountains. We went to a rock garden and had many great chats.

I have to say, Region 6 didn’t fail to impress me.

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