Friday, March 25, 2011

Yale Service Tour to the DR -- Day 1 ("The Journey to the DR")

Friday, March 11

The big day is finally here.  Tyler finished his exams a few days ago, and found out his grades just before I picked him up from school.  I finished my last conference call in the morning, so off we went to the airport.

Our JetBlue flight left JFK airport pretty much on time.  Every seat was filled and Tyler and I almost immediately noticed that this was not like any other flight we had ever been on.  It was like a huge party, with the passengers excited about their trips.  Although there were clearly some Americans heading for the beach, most of the passengers were speaking Spanish and seemed like they were heading home.  The crowd was speaking rapid-fire Spanish and the rat-a-tat-tat of their conversations infused the flight with an energy we felt the whole week.

When we finally landed in Santo Domingo, we met up with some of our fellow Yalies, and shared a ride with them downtown.  Although some of our group was flying in on Friday, most were coming in Saturday.

When we arrived downtown in Santo Domingo, we learned that the big, electric keyboard we had sent down was held up in customs.  Even though it was used, the customs officers were valuing it as if it were new.  We would have to go to the FedEx office the next morning to get it out of customs.  We were disappointed, but felt we had a plan to rescue it in time to get on the 2:00 bus to San Juan de la Maguana with the rest of the group.

Jose from Cambiando Vidas heard about our problem and offered to help.  "Call me tomorrow," he said, "and I will take you to the airport to get the keyboard."  Jose had an air of calm and confidence, so I didn't think we had anything to worry about.

With the customs plan set, Tyler and I went to our hotel and got a quiet dinner.  We went over the plan for teaching the piano again and called it an early night, very excited and a bit nervous for the week that laid ahead of us.

No comments: