Each day we followed a carefully planned schedule of meals and work, which flowed surprisingly well considering that Dominicans aren't known for their punctuality or even necessarily their awareness of time. At our orientation Sharyn warned us to expect Dominicans to observe time in a rather slushy manner, but that she expected the Americans to be respectful of the agenda that had been prepared for us. A local resident might show up to an appointment 45 minutes late and get away with it, but that kind of leeway wasn't an option for us. This here time sensitive lady appreciated the imposed structure!
Sometime between 6:00-6:30 every morning our wonderful cook, Nena, entered the kitchen and began preparing breakfast, which was then served at exactly 7:30. We would go through the food line, fill our plates, and take them out to the charming covered dining patio.
A few of us, however, preferred to start each day with some exercise to kick-start our engines and get them revving before the work projects began, so the walking club set out at 6:30 each morning and watched the sun rise while getting the kinks out. We enjoyed the convenience of walking 4 or 5 abreast right down the middle of the street thanks to a local ordinance that closes one side of the divided road for walkers and runners every Monday through Friday from 5:00-8:00 a.m. Jarabacoa is actually a resort town for wealthier Dominicans who can afford to leave the oppressive heat of the low lying areas and escape to the mountains during summer. As a result there are many beautiful houses in this town, side by side with the more typical modest Dominican homes.
Upon our arrival at the clinic in Pedregal we would get our work orders from Paul and then head off to our work sites. I happened to be part of Team A, aka Alpha Team, whose job it was to tear down and then rebuild the kitchen walls at Mechi's house. In addition, some of the A Team spent time next door at Mila's working on a porch railing. On the other side of the village the B Team was building a closet on the back of a house that this same team had built for Christina in 2011. The vast majority of the work being done on all 3 projects was concrete. It was pretty obvious while tearing down the lumber from the old kitchen walls why concrete is the preferred building material. The local termites would need a good orthodontist if they attempted to feast on a concrete railing, and rumor has it that there is a scarcity of such medical personnel in the area, so homeowners are pretty safe from that particular kind of vandalism when they build everything out of concrete.
At noon we stashed our tools in a safe location and walked back to the clinic where there was a cooler full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ham and cheese sandwiches waiting for us on the porch each day. The little colmado across the street did a hopping business while we were there, selling cold drinks like crazy for a whopping 15 or 20 pesos, equivalent to less than 50 cents. During our lunch break Dr. Wendy was whisked away on a motorbike by her husband for her own siesta, the gates to the clinic property were closed to keep the local children on the other side of the fence, and we enjoyed our humble meal and our naptime.
2:00 meant getting back to work for another three hours, or mixing it up with the locals if there weren't enough tasks for everyone to do on the worksites, and then at 5:00 we made our way back to the clinic in all our sweaty glory, more than ready for the showers that awaited us in our villas in Jarabacoa.