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August 13, 2013

Two and a half months into my stay in the Dominican Republic and I still have not eaten sancocho. It was an aberration to everything I stood for, to my “Dominicanness.” I had had it in mind since I set foot in this country, but the odds were against me; every time I held a chance to enjoy this delicious dish, something got in the way. My colleagues had to pay for the effects that the lack of sancocho had on me; the side effects are very serious, almost lethal. I spent the whole week telling anyone who had ears to hear me that I needed, not even wanted, sancocho in my system.

Regardless of this condition, the week went off great. I experienced some relapses every now and then but in general everything went very smooth. I worked on some amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, with which we are in search of more effective penitentiary and judicial procedures that would be tougher against criminality in our country. The subject of criminality and violence is one that is very close to every Dominican’s heart due to its degree and reach, but also our fervent desire to see it get better. It is a subject that should be addressed for countless reasons, but opening tourism that is so much restricted and overly dependent of all-inclusive hotels is perhaps one of the most important. There is so much to see and experience on this little Caribbean island and that is why leaving without eating a sancocho distraught me. 

Besides my usual work, a couple of things happened off-schedule. Kim came to visit me at the House of Representatives for an interview about my internship. We had a pleasant talk and I felt happy to show her what I have been working on and so that she too could be as amazed as I was the first time coming here. I don’t believe law is her cup of tea but she had fun filming around the building. One day this week I was also invited to visit another department, PNUD, Spanish abbreviation for the Development Program of the United Nations. I conversed with the director and got a chance to meet her intern, a very nice Italian girl that has grown a liking for the country. One of the thoughts that crossed my mind while I was with her is that I bet she had already enjoyed a nice and steamy sancocho and what a disgrace that me, a Dominican, had not. The impossibility of such thing remaining at that state was assured this weekend when my grandmother, who had just arrived from New York, cooked this typical dish at my request. Nothing like cucina della nonna. Now I can finally resume with my work in peace and my colleagues are let off the hook with my constant mention of this famous sancocho.

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