On Thursday, we visited an orphanage with 25 boys in Jaibon, about an hour outside of Monte Cristi. Despite countless stories of hardship, these boys excelled in carrying out our eight-legged curriculum. Three of the boys had been found abandoned in a vehicle just a few days prior to our arrival. The habitat here was quite different, and Argiope, an araneid rarely found on our expedition was collected in the garden. At the end of the day, the boys serenaded the group with a couple of songs and a guitar.
On Friday, we lead a group of kid’s at a learning center in Monte Cristi through their neighborhood to collect. Despite poor habitat on the city streets littered with trash, we discovered many interesting specimens. Collecting was quickly followed by time using the microscopes. That afternoon, Greta Binford and Father Elmond departed for Puerto Plata after lunch, and the team returned to collecting. Night collecting was lovely, aside from millions of hungry mosquitos: after an exciting, challenging week of working with children, it was a nice change of pace to return to the relative simplicity of collecting solo. Furthermore, last night reaped fruitful samples including a new record for scorpions in the region, several elusive Solifuges and many fascinating araneids.