It's 8:30pm. I just arrived to Bani from Villa Sombrero. I went to the Catholic Church service in order to continue my research. I cannot tell them that I am a Jew, otherwise, people will close their doors on me. I arrived about 1 hour early. I went to pay the local barber the 25RD that I owed him from yesterday and also the 20RD that I owed the owner at the local store for a juice. They each gave me a blessing and opened their doors to me for being a loyal human being.
It was about 30 minutes past 6pm when I sat at the back of the Church. I didn't even know how to act. I took my hat off out of respect. I noticed that people made reverence at the doorway and the sign of the cross on their bodies. The majority of the congregants were women and children. I noticed that there were little or no one between the ages of 18 and 30. It was funny to watch one boy who walked right in without making reverence. His mother whispered, "Luis, Luis!" He looked back and followed her lead on how to make reverence and the sign of the cross. Therein I saw the power of women in educating their children.
About 10 minutes before the service began, the secretary calls me, and introduces me to her husband (Jeudi). Sound familiar? Perhaps Yehudí(Jew in Hebrew) or Jeudi (Thursday in French). I then spoke to the priest and he wanted my contact information and some form of identification. Apparently that did not occur to them yesterday. I then handed my FL driver's license and FIU card to the secretary to copy. She then asked me if I was Catholic. I say, "no!" She then asked if I practiced any religion. I replied, "no!" She then asked if I believed in God. I said, "yes!" She finally asked me why I did not practice any religion. I told her that it was for personal convictions that I preferred it that way. Had I told her that I was a Jew and a talmid hakhamim, I am sure that they would be afraid of my presence there.
In fact, at the end of the service, I made an announcement about my research and the type of people that I was looking for. I announced that I needed 20 women to interview; only 4 filled out my pre-screening survey. I noticed that 3 of them stated that their maternal grandparents were Spaniards. To my dismay, none of them stated that they had marriages with cousins in their families. I am guessing that they did not want that in writing. I will be sure to get it out of them another way at the personal interview. As I handed out sheets of paper and pens, women came up to me saying that they wanted to participate but were not 50 years old or more. I smiled and asked them if they and their ancestors were born in Villa Sombrero. After receiving a positive reply, I handed them the materials. I will now proceed to call these 4 women to schedule a personal interview and discover their roots.

Talk about covert research...

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