It is the anniversary of my father's death in a couple of days time. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly from mesothelioma in 2005. I think about him every day, and talk to him at night when I take the dogs for a walk. I like to think he is one of the stars which are out almost every night here and are amazing as we have no light pollution. He was very supportive of me and what I did, however crazy everyone else thought I was, and the fact he spoke fluent Spanish was fabulous as he could speak to Danilo. The picture below was taken on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary to my mother which was in April 2005, and Danilo and I went to the party. That was the last time I saw him.
He came to visit me in the DR for a week, after I had been here about six months or so. He and I would go to a bar on the beach at night, but because the music was so loud, we would go down to the ocean and sit on a tree trunk which had been washed into the ocean by one of the tropical storms or hurricanes. After he died, Danilo went down to the ocean and brought the same tree trunk back to our house so that I could sit on it in the garden.
A couple of days ago Danilo told me to look out of the window. He had remembered the anniversary coming up and had transplanted an orchid onto the tree in front of the window where I sit. Orchids were Dad's favourite flowers. This time they are real and not plastic!
I am always receiving emails and requests for help and information about the country, and especially from ladies wanting to know about sanky pankies. So when I received an email entitled 'Any advice" I thought it was nothing new. Until I read it. It was from a lady called Kathryne who is carrying out doctoral research at Newcastle University in the UK into holiday relationships - not quite a PhD in Sanky Pankies but not a long way off! I thought it was really interesting. She was looking for any British person who has had a holiday relationship with a Dominican, or someone from some other countries, to take part in a survey for her doctoral thesis. You can check it out here if you would like to participate.
We had a crazy weekend with a houseful on Sunday, not only Chivirico but his grandmother, my step grandaughter who is 4 months old and Tracy, a lady I met online via the book and the blog and her husband, Jose.
Here is the grand baby who was very well behaved.
We had a great lunch of barbecued ribs and moro de guandules and then Danilo proudly showed off his prize cockerel to Tracy - as you do.
Everyone then went and gathered avocados - well enough to last a day or two.
As you know Danilo has decided to run once again for mayor in Guayacanes. His logic being that he learned a lot the last time, and that if he doesn't run again, all that hard work and money will have been for nothing. This time, he says, it will be different. It does seem to be different in that he has the support of all the key party figures such as governors and party leaders and the phone is ringing constantly day and night.
My original reaction to be honest was, oh no not again. But as time has gone on, I have realised that you cannot take away people's dreams from them. The fire he had in his belly to actually make a difference is as strong now as it ever was.
I love the fact that he is so optimistic, but I have always wanted his unwavering optimism to be tempered with a little realism. We were talking about this over dinner the other night, and I know that people brought up in poverty often dream impossible dreams, such as becoming a world class baseball player or winning the lottery. My dreams when younger were achievable - a better job, a bigger house.
Danilo dreamed of one day having a machete like his father, but never in his wildest dreams could he imagine travelling abroad or studying at university, let alone being mayor. Unfortunately dreaming is not sufficient to win elections, and although the party have confirmed that they will give him all the financial support he needs after the primaries, assuming he is then elected candidate, he needs to fund the campaign up until then which is April next year. Actually, the way things seem to be going, the other candidates for the party are likely to withdraw even before the primaries which will mean his automatic naming as party candidate without the need for a vote.
So I am busy trying to raise money again just like I did four years ago - fingers crossed this time it will work! I will just need to talk to my father, twinkling up there in the sky, and keep the faith. Si Dios quiere, as they say here, this time he will win.