Thursday, September 08, 2005

US Embassy Visit

I spent all day in the Embassy yesterday on the phone with the bank. No one was able to help me because no one knew exactly what my problem was. After about an hour and after being transfered from Bank of America to Visa to Bank of America again, someone finally realized that past Fleet customers are having problems withdrawing money from ATMs abroad. So, basically, I will not be able to withdraw money during my stay in the Dominican Republic. In order to receive money, I have to call the bank from the embassy (because that is the only place where one could call a 1-800 number) and then pick up ¨emergency cash¨ from Western Union. I asked the women if she understood how unsafe that was. She did not understand. Basically, everytime I go there to pick up money, the teller knows exactly how much money I will receive. If the teller is malicious, he could give a friend some signal and have them rob me on my way out. Let´s hope that this is the worse case scenerio, but I have to be vigilant.

Other than my financial woes, I had a great time at the embassy nonetheless. The program manager at the office is a Middlebury Alumni. What a small world! Middlebury alums are seriously everywhere. And, my Fulbright program manager in the states in also an alumni of Middlebury! Other than my Middlebury bragging, the people at the Embassy told me what they tell all Embassy employees and Fulbrighters which is that I am representing the United States and that I have to behave in that way. Do they know that Bush is also representing the Unites States and is not doing a great job at it? They do not have to worry about me--seriously. Please do not get me started on the US´s response to Katrina.

In terms of project, I am in the process of writing a questionnaire to give to the teenage mothers at the hospital where I will be working. I have also been reading some newspapers and I have seen some interesting reports so far. On Monday, there was an article on the infant mortality rates and how the number is increasing here. There was also an article on the illiteracy rate in the Dominican Republic. The article also stated that the government hopes to start a program for adults modeled after the program that Cuba uses called ¨Yo si puedo.¨ To me, I think one of the reasons for this could be in the increase in the number of teenage pregnancies. For example, "the children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at greater-risk of abuse and neglect" ( We need to something here and in our country about comprehensive sexual education and health literacy. I´ll be sure to see what I could learn about this during my time in Santo Domingo.

I should get going but I will be sure to keep you posted on my discoveries, challenges, and adventures.


Anonymous Carlos said...

It is always nice to hear from my hermana. It sucks that you have to go through all this shit in my miss you lots and hope to speak to you online soon...MWAH!

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Dena, great to hear your spunk and spirit coming through despite your obvious frustration. The DR is a lucky place to have you on the island. Don't get me started on Katrina- Blythe got out before the storm and is back sailing to make some money. First semester of Law School is down the drain - fortunately other than that she is fine. Bet you don't need any fleece sox! Momma D

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Denna,
Love the title of your blog and you are right it is not a safe thing to do to just jump out of a moving vehicle. Now that you are going to D.R, make sure you take your own advise because as a Dominican i can guarantee that busses or any moving vehicle is crazy. Well i will be checking youre blog here and there to see how your research is going.

3:48 PM  

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