Saturday, September 30, 2017

And it's twins!

Another busy few weeks which kicked off with yet another hurricane, this time Maria. It took a similar course to Irma passing north of the DR but was closer to the north and east shores so they took a hammering. Also Maria was  much slower so the rain lasted longer.

Other Caribbean islands were not so lucky and those affected by Irma had no time to gather breath before Maria smashed into them, and some will take years to recover. Our neighbouring island Puerto Rico was particularly badly hit along with the Virgin Isles, Dominica and St. Martin.

Here on the mountain it was windy and rainy but not as bad as Irma.

The weekend after Maria I was expecting a visit from two British/American ladies - mother and daughter - who had read my books and were here in the centre of the country teaching English for a few months. They  wanted to see the books come to life so came up to visit from Saturday to Monday and having gone out to see the Moncion dam on Sunday morning, we got back to the news that Oregano the pregnant white goat had given birth to twins. We charged down the field and there they were - perfect.

They could stand up, they were all furry and to die for. The only problem was they would walk a little way then lie down and sleep and Oregano would go looking for them, but they sleep so soundly they wouldn't hear, so we had to trek all over the fields looking for them.

Here are my visitors, Harriet and then Bahama with one of the goats.

Someone, I think it was Chivirico who was here, said they were both males so we were trying to think of names until we discovered it was a girl and a boy. So the boy is Harry, after Harriet and the girl is Bahama.

Here they are in their house.

It was obvious we would need another house as Oregano wouldn't let Picante or Maggi into the house, so Danilo built one, using wood from the hen house which had previously been the balcony.

And now they are nearly a week old, running and jumping and are so cute. I will leave you with Harry who has taken to sleeping in the bran bowl (I wondered where my washing up bowl had gone) so no one can eat.

Next stage is to learn how to milk a goat so I can make goat's cheese. That should be fun - not!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hurricane Irma by a Dominicana (at last!)

Well this has been a busy time. At last the day arrived for me to be sworn in as a Dominican - August 31. Danilo and I left for the capital on the Caribe Tours bus, and spent the night at Casa Sanchez Boutique Hotel in the Colonial Zone. After a lovely meal in the restaurant there and a good night's rest we set off for the Ministry of Interior and Police in the morning, as we had to be there at 9 am.

The Ministry is in an unattractive grey government building

where we were taken into a large auditorium, signed some papers and had a Dominican flag pinned on us. Danilo had bought me a new outfit, and instead of his normal choice of high shoes and skin tight hooker jeans, I looked like an American gospel singer. Perfect.

The ceremony was lovely, short and emotional and I was sworn in and awarded my certificate, You are not supposed to smile in official pictures as you can see.

We then met Olga, who had helped me throughout the process and off we went to the Junta Central Electoral to hand in my file to be able to obtain a Dominican birth certificate which would enable me to  have a Dominican identity card, or cedula.

We went from total efficiency to total inefficiency. On arrival we were sent back outside to get a photocopy of the file - from a man in a truck. (Apologies I can't get this picture to go the right way up so you will have to tip your head to the side).

Then back inside and wait in a crowded room for your number to be called where they checked the file and sent you to another window to pay the basic fee. Then back in line to go to the first window again with your receipt to be told if you wanted the document quickly, which I did, you could pay VIP and go back to the payment window and pay more, then back in line to go back to window 1. Danilo thought it hilarious that VIPs had to wait longer.

Two hours later it was done and Olga agreed to pick up my birth certificate and put it on the bus to me the next day, so we set off for lunch at Adrian Tropical, a restaurant specialising in Domincan food.

A lovely meal was had by all, but due to the traffic we missed the last bus to Mao, so had to go to Santiago then catch a local bus home.

Next stage was to take the file when it arrived to the local JCE in Moncion, which neighbour Margarita who works there did for me, then I had my birth certificate and a day or so later went for my cedula and Ya, now I am a Dominican. It only took 3 years!!

Between being sworn in and receiving my cedula Hurricane Irma decided to visit. We knew it was coming, but hoped it wouldn't be too bad. As it was we were woken  by the torrential rain at 3am which did not pause for 12 hours. The winds were strong but not hurricane force, and the worse thing was being worried the internet aerial would fall. As it was I had internet all day, which was just as well as I was doing interviews for various tv and radio stations and was feeding information all day long to the Washington Post as their normal person who did it was not in the country and recommended me.

The house flooded constantly so Danilo was mopping while I was typing with my feet underwater. We fared with no serious damage but Mao and Esperanza were both flooded.

There is now another potential hurricane on the way, so fingers crossed she comes nowhere near here!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dogs on the increase and Goats on fire

So, as you know we decided to get Rasputin to replace Rin Tin Tin and in the same way we were sort of semi keeping our eyes out for a Great Dane as we missed Belinda dreadfully. Unfortunately there are not many Great Danes here and they are all very expensive - out of our price range. Then Danilo had a phone call from a Great Dane breeder who said a friend had Dane puppies and would we please take on as they were not being kept in a good condition.

Off we went, and they were actually close to us in Cacique. First we were taken to see the father called Ecooby (Scooby lol) and I have never seen such an enormous Great Dane in my life. He was being kept in a wooden enclosure and was standing up on his hind legs and even towered about Danilo. Then to see the pups - 2 of them, one black, one white and the mother was a Belinda lookalike but bigger.

We found out the price, a third of the normal Dane price, and came home to discuss it and I wanted to research white Danes as they can have hearing and sight problems. I told Danilo to check the white one out for signs of blindness or deafness and probably best to get the black one. They were also being kept in a small wooden cage with a mud floor and the white one was too scared to come out.

Danilo returned with a three month old Great Dane puppy in tow - the white one.

He appeared to see well and hear well so that was nothing to be concerned about but he was scared and made a beeline for Lobo. We had been planning to have him in the house but he only wanted to be with Lobo and the two of them do everything together. Slowly he is becoming more used to people, and he has now stopped peeing where he lies (he had no choice before). He is ecstatic to be able to lie on comfy rugs and has his own sofa as well.

He is already enormous at only 3 months. Here he is with Rasputin and they are the same age.

We were trying to think of a name, and people suggested strong names like Samson, but he isn't a big strong confident dog. He is just Goofy in everything he does - so that is his name. Welcome Goofy.

In the meantime the goats are fine - Oregano and Picante. It appears that Oregano is definitely pregnant as you can see here when I am giving her her evening snack.

Luckily I have been put in touch with a goat lady, who keeps goats in Spain and her Facebook page is Experience Olvera if you like goats. She has told me she can tell when Oregano will give birth by looking at the area under her tail so my job this afternoon is to take a picture of Oregano's bits. Don't worry, I won't post it.

In the meantime I was taking Rasputin for a walk the other evening and noticed that the goats weren't in their hut. I asked Danilo why not, and he said a chicken had laid eggs on the straw in the hut and the goats broke the eggs so now the straw was full of ants and goats don't do ants in their bed. Which is fair enough as nor do I. He said he would fix it.

The next night I was taking Rasputin for his walk and noticed smoke coming out of goat hut. Danilo explained he was fumigating by burning the straw. Fair enough. Until at 10pm neighbour comes running to the door to say the goat house is on fire.

Danilo rushes outside, back and forth with buckets of water, while I sit here chatting on FB to friends and shaking my head. Suddenly the back door opens and in walks Danilo, naked. I asked why he was naked and he said everyone knows you have to take you clothes off when you put out a fire, as they get dirty or may be set on fire too. Wonder if anyone has told firefighters this?

Here is burned out goat hut.

And here it is with new roof and new straw and goats are very happy. As  you can see Danilo is an expert roofer at using the "just chuck it on there" method.

And we have a new goat called Maggi (after the stock cube).

And the big news from a couple of weeks ago is that my books arrived. The truck was too big to get down our track

And when I opened the box - there they were, along with a load of goodies and a 50 pound bag of rice sent by the lovely lady who arranged for them to get to me.

Now I need to start getting ready to do a nationwide tour signing books. The book is selling well, with 25 reviews on Amazon so far, 2 4 star and 23 5 star which is a great relief.

"This book is beautifully written and does an incredible job of drawing you into the culture of the Dominican Republic"

"The author of this book is amazing it is the only book in my life that I could not put down until it was finished !"

"Lindsay took me on this journey with her. I felt like I was watching a movie through her eyes. Her love for the country, for her husband, for her life and living her dream inspired me and touched my heart deeply. What a great book for women not to stop before the miracle told brilliantly by this author."

Please do think about buying it if you want to learn more about me, my life and the Dominican people and the country.

Have to go now  to take a photo of a goats bottom and start preparing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irma. Hope all of you in the path of this nasty woman can avoid serious loss and damage, and I leave you with happy dogs playing in their sandpit.