A row of beans

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One of the things that has surprised us in this country is the price of food.   Before we left we thought (perhaps naively) that food here would be cheap.  “It’s a developing country, many people are very poor – surely food must be cheap – how else could they live?”  The truth is that food here is expensive and takes a huge slice of many peoples’ income – and the poorer you are, the bigger the slice. [Read more…]

The Agua in Nagua

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Matt and Ben were sitting around the dinner table tonight having a very adult conversation about water here versus water in England. They made some very incisive and thought-provoking observations which are definitely worth summarising.

We can’t drink the water that comes from the tap here – it’s not potable, but it really is no hardship at all and you quickly get used to it.  Drinking water is delivered in 5-gallon plastic bottles – the sort that is put upside-down into water coolers in every office across the UK.  Empty bottles can be exchanged for full ones in one of a hundred places in every street, or alternatively there is a tanker which tours the streets and will refill the bottles you already have.

We don’t expect anything else that we drink to come out of a tap so what is so special about water?   [Read more…]

A school trip

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A few weeks ago, we visited another “colegio” (private school) to have a look at their facilities and for an intra-school (friendly) basketball game.

The trip was optional but our school would be closed for the day so if you weren’t going on the trip you had a day off school.  Guess what – most of the children chose the “day off school” option!  So the trip comprised the two basketball teams, the two cheerleading teams, their friends and groupies and the teachers who had been conscripted (all of us who don’t have afternoon or evening jobs).

The first rather surprising aspect of the trip was the start time. [Read more…]