A Dominican Graduation

My mom of course asked how Tropical Storm Isaac was.  I have to say it has rained at least at some point since Thursday night, and at some points very hard.  Hard and long enough for a damp patch of the ceiling to drip on my pillow, but luckily the end I was not using.  However since the storm did not touch the island, there were not overly strong winds.  The Peace Corps had restricted us from gallivanting around from Thursday night to Sunday morning.

Luckily before the 6pm curfew, I was able to attend my host mom’s graduation.  She now is licenciada (has a bachelor’s degree) in nursing.  According to Ronelka, this means she can be a boss nurse.

I had my usual Dominican warning of being asked or told the morning of the event.  After lunch and us girls had dressed up, we all climbed in the truck and headed to San Cristobal.  Once we located the setting of the graduation, the girls removed their tubis and Ronelka turns to me and puts her finger to her lips.  She had cut of a significant length of her hair (of course it is still longer than mine) and had not told her mother yet.  There was no big reaction to report when her mom did notice, so no drama if that is what she was looking for.

After a while of waiting and professional pictures being taken, the graduates are finally told to go outside and line up (luckily at this point only a bit of wind).  A difference in the dominican graduation is that they are escorted by a padrino or madrino (that is first translated as godfather or godmother, but has other translations such as sponsor) for the procession and as they go on stage.  Here are Rafelina and Nelson walking in, as the band plays.  The different schools have different color sashes.  All in all it was a nice ceremony for a Thursday afternoon, roughly the same as one you would attend in the States, except all in spanish.  Their names are called, they lift and move their tassels when they receive their degrees (although it is not the official paper), and they toss their caps at the end.  Although they do not take the tassels as keepsakes.

One final shot of the proud graduate, as she deserved to be.


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