I had class yesterday at la UASD (the biggest university in the country). We were about an hour in to class when we heard yelling out side. We didn't know what it was so we just ignored it. Later there was a big bang and someone went to see what was going on. While we were waiting a student turned around and asked me if I knew how to run fast. Confused at this question I asked what was going on. She said "hay una huelga afuera." That didn't help much because I didn't know what huelga was. Another student saw that I was confused and told me the key word I was looking for; strike. The teacher told us that the rest of class was canceled but that we should stay in the classroom until it was over. But, few minutes later, many students began to leave. Not knowing what to do, we followed their lead. We went downstairs and outside to a covered patio where many students had already congregated. We were asking everyone whether it was safe to leave because we didn't see anything dangerous going at that moment. Some students were running for the closest exit but other students were telling us that that was the most dangerous exit to go through. One of my friends from class told us it was safest to go out the southern exit which was abuot a 5 minute walk from where we were but since we didn't know what was going on down there, we followed another Dominican girl out the closer exit. We had evidently made the right choice because we later found out that the streets outside of the southern exit were abandoned with small fires and trash everywhere. We got back to our exchange school safely and were advised not to go to class at la UASD until the strike was over.
The employees at our exchange school were telling us that we would be able to go to class today (friday) so my friend Brittany and I got on a guagua (city bus) to go to la UASD. We had just gotten to campus and the guagua was slowing down to let some students off the bus. I happened to be looking out the window towards the campus entrance when I saw a guy winding up about to throw a gigantic rock our guagua. The next thing I knew everyone was down on the ground and people were throwing rocks at our bus. The chofer took off and sped all the way down to the shore where the Dominicans on the bus told us to take another guagua back to our exchange school. We didn't know if it was safe to get on another guagua but we called the employees at FLACSO ( our exchange school) and they told us it was safe as long as we weren't near la UASD. The nice thing is, I didn't have class today but I'm just glad we didn't get hurt.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Last weekend I and ten of my friends took a bus 2 hours north of Santo Domingo to a town called La Vega where the biggest and most popular parade takes place. Carnaval is a extravagant celebration that happens every Sunday in February in Santo Domingo, Santiago, and La Vega. In the parade there are groups from most of the larger towns in the Dominican Republic. They represent themselves by wearing colorful costumes like these called diablo cojuelos (co-h-oo-eh-los). There are many different masks, music, and dances that each group does. In addition to this, each diablo carries a balloon-like object in their hands called a vejiga. If you get too close to them in the street and you're not paying attention, they will hit you in the butt as hard as they can! So you have to be very careful about where you are. It was so fun to be a part of Dominican culture! I have lots more of these pictures on facebook. Follow this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=197043&id=600835217