We did us some driving Friday — down the mountain from Jarabacoa through Santiago and then on to Salcedo to see the Casa/Museo of Las Hermanas Mirabal. From Salcedo, down through San Francisco de Macoris and back to Santo Domingo. Quite a drive and our hats were off to Charlie for making it all happen safely and surely.
Before we left, though, we had time to visit Colegio Monte de La Transfiguracion in El Pedregal — a small community that serves the tourist city of Jarabacoa. The school has a new principal and seems on the move after a few years of declining enrollments. I have great hopes for it now. Here’s some of what we saw.
An old school administrator Rule of Thumb: Never underestimate what a new paint job can do for school climate and appearance.
Preschoolers run and jump and giggle and shriek in excitement. Music for the Soul.
The principal and his lead preschool teacher pose for a foto. He attended our leadership workshops and was observed taking notes and asking questions of colleagues. Good signs!
A preschooler checks-out the teacher “parking lot”. On a teacher’s salary, most can afford “motos” rather than automobiles. Sound familiar, teachers?
Melvina cannot visit a classroom without spontaneously teaching a lesson. Something in the blood, maybe in her genes. Below is a shot of a bulletin board to meet government directives for displaying student work in each subject area.
Then, we left Jarabacoa . . . sort of. About halfway through the town, Melvina remembered that there is a high quality/low price farmers’ market there. So, we parked, climbed out of the van, walked a bit to the market and watched La Maestra give the vendors a lesson in “take no prisoners” bargaining (in a Christian way, of course). Melvina was pleased with her haul of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Our next stop was a grocery store in Moca where we checked out brands of Dominican coffee unique to the province of Cibao. They are excellent and you can only buy them near Santiago. Los NorteAmericanos loaded up on unfamiliar but exceptional brands.
Then, La Casa/Museo de Las Hermanas Mirabal. I encourage you to get on the Web and check-out the story of these sisters who were murdered by agents of Trujillo’s secret police in the early 1960s. Trujillo himself was assassinated within about a year after their deaths; most Dominicanos credit the Sisters with providing an example of courage sufficient to bring down a dictatorship. It’s not a “fun place” to visit. But, it is an inspiring one. A bilingual guide takes you through the family home, the outbuildings where servants cooked, the beautiful gardens/grounds and finally the final resting place of the sisters and the husband of Minerva, a revolutionary organizer/lawyer. I captured our tour in these fotos.
I often refer to our sense of timing as “impeccable”. Here is another example of our timeliness. We had only a vague idea that most schools take students on a field trip just before the Christmas holidays. So, the line of school buses down the road in front of the museum startled us a bit. Here’s what the approach to the ticket window was like. And, a foto of Melvina relaxing away from the chaos.
We arrived in Santo Domingo and headed downtown for our Cena Despidida (farewell dinner) — a custom at the end of every workshop series. We ate at Angelo’s Ristorante (a favorite place) and walked El Conde at sunset. The ability of an IPhone to capture subtle lighting changes and focus at a distance amazes me.
Saturday our team returned home. Today (Sunday) I am blogging and reclining and reading. Tomorrow brings a school visit. More later.