Integration one egg at a time

Today, my small success was learning my tienda man’s name: Alfonso. He’s quiet and doesn’t make many facial expressions, but he always crinkles his eyes when I come to the counter. He knows my face and my strange requests, and he and his wife always greets me graciously. We hardly talk, but our exchanges carry warmth and neighborly solidarity.

There’s an elegance to his movements, as though the sundry toiletries, groceries and snacks he wraps in brown paper are precious valuables and fragile gifts to be borne with utmost care to the palaces and castles of our pueblo.

Today, I ordered the usual: five eggs, two bananas and a papaya. He gently wrapped my purchases and counted my change.

“What’s your name?” He suddenly asked, carefully.

I broke into a grin: “Shanna! And yours?”

Our conversation was only a few obligatory sentences, but we shared the most tangibly friendly smile imaginable and as I gathered my items, we traded a lovely phrase:

nos vemos“, see you soon.


2 thoughts on “Integration one egg at a time”

  1. Wow… your blog is great! I was researching different Latin American Countries to put as my preferences for my Peace Corps application and I always wanted to go to Columbia after meeting this amazing, funny, crazy Columbia woman on a mission trip. After looking at the Columbia Peace Corps website I wasn’t really convinced, but your blog makes the peace sound great. Especially since I’m living in the DR and it sounds just like home to me. God bless you. Continue to do great work!!!

    1. Hey Natasha! Thanks for reading! First of all, you’re so lucky you can put preferences! I hope that helps you find a great fit. Second, I definitely recommend Colombia! It’s not a traditional PC site but it’s a good experience in a country that is working hard to move forward. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Good luck on apps!!

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