Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Fish Man Cometh

A fairly quiet few weeks (for a change).

Danilo was told by the head of his new party that as the results came in they were at party HQ. After the first two bulletins, accounting for around 20% of the votes it was obvious Danilo was in for a landslide victory and then they had a call from the ruling party – PLD – to say “terribly sorry but we can’t let this happen as it is too embarrassing so we will need to change the outcome”.  Which, as we know they did. They have promised him a “good” job but nothing so far and he has enrolled in University for the next semester as he only has a couple of semesters to go until he is qualified.

In the meantime he is sorting and planting the finca and we have yuca and batata (sweet potatoes) growing well, helped by the rain we have had recently as it looks like hurricane season is ramping up as the end of the season approaches.

Albert continues to be ‘interesting’. He has started school here and also goes to baseball practice. There are only eight children in his fifth grade class so I am hoping he will make major progress this year. A new school has been built much closer to us - he walks a couple of miles to school each day at the moment - and should be open maybe next week. Then he will be at school from 8 am to 4 pm.

He called me the other day to tell me there was something wrong with the cat which was making a funny noise. I went to check and the cat looked fine, but he explained if you touched it, the cat ‘buzzed’. I realize he meant it was purring and he had never heard a cat purr lol. The training program, as to how to eat, to pull the toilet chain, not to leave the fridge door open, to clean the bath if you shower in muddy flip flops and a whole list of other things goes on.

The puppy has been called Canguru as she is the colour of a Kangaroo and jumps everywhere. She is a pain in the arse but great fun at the same time with the most beautiful blue/green eyes.

She goes out into the back garden with her mum and is being trained by her to chase chickens and cats - neither of which are good and there is nothing she enjoys more than stopping the cats coming in by blocking their Dominican cat flap aka the hole.

The really good news is that we now have a fish man in the next village so once a fortnight we go and get fish. If we don’t, he appears at the gate to tell me what he has and to make an appointment for me to go and get it. Last week we went to the mountain town and on the way back Danilo had to get to the toilet quickly (too much street food) so he dropped me off at fish man’s place. I bought two lovely snapper (chillo) and then was about to walk home expecting to meet Danilo on the way to pick me up, as it was around 5 miles. Mr Fish Man said he would take me on his motorbike. He must be 70 or 80 years old and on the ride back he drove like a maniac! I made it back before Danilo had even left the house.

The fish were prepared and laid on the last bit of the balcony in the sun – apparently it stops them spitting when they are fried.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Motherless in the Mountains

Doesn't quite have the same ring as Sleepless in Seattle but hey ho.

It is amazing how many children here are brought up without their mothers. I cannot imagine life without my mother, and we talk every day on Skype.

Danilo was brought up without his mother, she found another man and his father took Danilo and his older brother Biembo to live in the mountains above Barahona. Danilo was aged 4. It is tradition in this country that if parents split up, the boys usually go with the father and the girls with the mother. However, if the father has the boys and he finds another woman, she often does not want another woman's child so they go to the father's parents - as in the case of Chivirico being brought up by his grandparents since his mother left when he was a few weeks old.

Chivirico and his grandmother

And Danilo's first two sons were also left by their mother when the youngest was 3 weeks old, as she found another man. Danilo's mother brought them up until she died a couple of years later, and then it was down to him. Even his third child, with another woman, was left by his mum with Danilo for a couple of years until she came back to collect him and take him to Spain.

Danilo and the three boys 2002

Mind you they have changed a bit now

We now have Albert living with us. Yet again, his mother does not want him, and his father isn't able to look after him, although he lived with him until he was 7. Often if the father cannot pay child support, the mother simply hands over the child, which is what happened in this case, and the father is Danilo's half brother but since he had a stroke he cannot manage Albert.

All of those boys without mothers looking after them. And when I see what a delight these boys are and what they have done and will do with their lives, I feel sorry for their mothers who do not know what pleasure and pride they have missed out on. And I really do not understand how they could do what they did.

It even happens to chickens. One of our hens died, leaving a load of chicks, and others look after the first few which hatch, but then if the more eggs hatch  a couple of days later they don't want to know them, so we have to take them away before the mother kills them. So we now have loads of motherless chicks - but at least they all keep each other warm at night in a plastic container.

I felt like I was looking at a picture of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie last night.

The pups have all gone apart from one so the house is relatively free of poo and pee. We ended up keeping one - as she hid when the others left so she obviously wants to stay. She spends all day long finding things to take and hide - so methinks she could be trouble - Miss Brown Nose.

And finally, I sometimes come across other blogs which I enjoy and this is one I recommend you look at. It is written by an American lady who lives in Sosúa on the north coast, who describes herself as a nice Jewish girl. I think she is a lot more than that, and she too documents her experiences in the country - some of which bear remarkable resemblance to mine - including exploding Dominican Pyrex in the oven. Enjoy