>The weekend before elections here there are so many people in the streets campaigning. It can get a bit crazy and sometimes a little dangerous. but, all and all it is another interesting time to be here in Dominican Republic. The people in the streets waving banners. The trucks loaded to capacity with large speakers playing music and announcing their candidates at full blast (when they pass bu my apartment I couldn’t even hear the TV).
I went to my neighborhood park to hang out during one of the rallys. The street in Colonial Zone was so congested. There was a hugh traffic jam or in Dominican Spanish, tapon. The cars were decorated with banners and flags. Trucks filled with people and gifts in payment for a vote. People everywhere engaging in all sort of activities including holding mops (swapes indicating cleaning up the government). Vendors everywhere selling their food and wares to the crowds.
I took this video while sitting outside with my neighbors watching the activities. I also added some annotations to enhance the comic value. Enjoy!
>I learned another new thing about Dominican life this past weekend, neighborhoods vote for their own President. This vote is done neighborhood by neighborhood, the neighbors choosing who will represent them to the local government. This vote is called the “Junta de Vecinos”.
I also discovered that each larger neighborhood is divided into smaller sections. (I’m trying to find out the exact information about Colonial Zone to place on the web site). I believe there are about 8 different sectors inside the Colonial Zone area. Each voting for their own President, Vice President, Secretary and so on. I got to watch my old neighborhoods vote (I could not vote as I don’t live in that section now. I hope to vote in the Parque Duarte elections coming up in a few weeks) and it was a serious matter indeed. There was even a policeman watching over the elections. There was a designated committee to take care of the voting table and to count these votes.
The first step is to go to the table where the committee sits, sign in and take the ballot. Go over to the table with the policeman and write your selection (this table was a dominoes board which I thought was very interesting and quite official looking). The next step is to go to the big box to deposit your vote. Then sit and wait for the results, conversing with the neighbors and maybe partaking of your liquid of choice.
At 5 the voting was finished. It started raining so the election board guys moved into the Colmado owned by one for these guys, Colmado Arca. The place got especially packed and loud as the votes were being counted. One of the counters had to even call for silence as this was a very critical moment in the electoral process.
I moved outside to wait for the results because there were just too many people inside the small Colmado. Soon after there was clapping and lots of commotion at the Colmado as the winner was announced. People were clapping and singing as they left the Colmado to share the results with everyone. It seems that the victors won by only 3 votes. Now lets hope her and her team will bring some good parties to the park and also do some good things for my old neighborhood.
>This party was between Hostos and Duarte here in Colonial Zone. The aea is really narrow so all the people were really packed in. All the neighbors were there and we had a great time. Good dancing and music by Los Hermanos Rosarios. Here are a few videos I took of the dancing. Oh, if only I could wiggle like a Dominican! jejeje
The song that is being danced to is called “ROMPECINTURA” roughly translated it is break the waist. The song got the people really wiggling.
Christmas again. I’m not really into Christmas anymore. About 2 years before my move to DR I decided not to celebrate Christmas. I told people it was my way to rebel against the commercialism of the holidays. I sort of liked it. I didn’t feel the pressure of having to buy gifts for people. I didn’t spend all that money an things that most people won’t use or need. (I feel if I want to buy someone something it means more if its not an obligatory gift bought on a day when one is supposed to buy a gift). My family didn’t like that I didn’t get into the season but I did what I felt I needed to do.
Now I sort of enjoy not celebrating. Getting together with friends and family is good but the gift thing. I’m not into that any more. That’s one good thing about Dominican Republic. Gifts are mainly for the children. Food and drink are for the adults, both of which I do enjoy.
When I was living in Colonial Zone for my first Christmas it was so nice. All the neighbors pitched in and put lights in the park and got a tree. They even had a band come and play in the park for tree lighting. The TV people were there also. It was a big thing. The ladies (not me) all cooked food and we shared all in the park. For me that was more special than all the gifts in the world. First that it was so simple and neighborly. Second that they included me, the new American neighbor, in the festivities. They all took me in. Even though I did not speak Spanish well. It was difficult communicating. Where I lived most have lived in the area for generations of at least knew someone that lived there. So for them to accept me really meant a lot to me.
I miss all my neighbors and friends there so much. I do hope when I return I can live in the same neighborhood with the people that I know and care about. Where I feel accepted and safe. I feel I belong in that neighborhood with those people. More than I ever felt I fit in to a neighborhood in USA.
Well..I have to call my Felix now. I miss him so. Then I’ll call my Dominican family, Mamita and Jimmy. Then my real Blood Aunt is coming for me and we will spend the afternoon with my grandparents, Maw and Pappap. After Aunt Lois is staying the night with me. We will have some laughs I’m sure. We always do.