Yesterday we started the day visiting Santiago, a larger town about an hours drive from Ocú. We did go there on the first night for an interview, but this time, we wanted to actually see the city in daylight and in particular, visit a teacher's college, Escuela Normal de Sandiago. Founded in the 30's, it educated iniitally young women to become teachers. This is particularly interesting for our project as the founders of the Manito festival were teachers, many were educated here. You may also remember that during our work in Santo Domingo last year, we noted that many older couples were composed of the women being a teacher, and also engaged in handicraft, and the man working in agriculture.
This composition is largely due to this college. Young women in this region were not needed for agricultural work and they might then pursue a teacher's education at this college. Later, they might return and marry in the local community, but also educating the youth. There are folklore love songs written from the perspective of a young man whose love interest has left to attend Escula Normal. The building's architecture is incredibly impressive and I was imagining the impression of this on a 15 year old girl in the 1930's, having lived her live in a simple hut in the hill communities with little opportunity to travel beyond her village. The school is currently at high school level, educating both men and women, and further college education is required for teaching credentials.