Serendipity in Santo Domingo

 

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I am living in Santo Domingo inside a large house with five other fantastic women: two Dominican, one German, one Dutch, and a Chilanga from Mexico. There is a large mural of Frida Kahlo and Dominican activist Mamá Tingó on the wall facing the entrance that was hand drawn by my Dominican host.
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She and her partner, my fellow paisana, run a Mexican food restaurant with the help from our other Dominican roommate; they rent the kitchen and outdoor space of a cool and eclectic bar in la Zona Colonial and bring life to Cocina Chingona during week nights; on Sundays they run an all-day Desayuno Mexicano.

Our own kitchen is sprinkled with all sorts of Mexican products; there are Costeña brand cans of rajas and dried corn leaves for making tamales, and tucked behind platanos maduros and milk cartons are open packets of tortillas and dried chiles used to make mole. We even have some calaveras de dulce that my paisana recently brought back from her trip to Mexico.

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All of my roommates also work with social issues, with three of them heavily involved in feminist activism in Santo Domingo. Each has or is currently working at the Colectiva Mujer y Salud, an organization I learned about exactly a year ago when I was applying to the Watson.

Oh, and did I mention we have a Mexican cat? Her name is Noche. Apparently, it was a hassle to get her in the country. She needs a lot of cariño and attention–we’re working on boundaries.

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