All students have are on their way home! We apologize for the lack of photos and will try and get some on the blog post-program, you will receive an email update!
Today was the fifth day that I was able to enjoy the Dominican Republic. I was awoken to my favorite breakfast. GLA puts a heavy focus on an amiable and comfortable ambiance, where one feels welcome to explore new friendships and cultures. GLA gives the students ample amount of freedom in decisions regarding with whom they wish to spend their time. In regards to strict guidelines about boundaries around the campus, the mentors are rigid and no students challenge the logical rules. I appreciate the freedom given to us when we traveled to the lagoon resort. We were allowed to participate in everything the resort offered. Because I am being protected from instances that could happen if I were to venture out of the compound, but not being restricted from participating in authentic Dominican activities. I am pleased with the amount of money GLA costs. The tuition I paid not only pays for the supplies we build with, but also allows for this program to continue. I am conscious of what I choose to pay for, and I am confident that GLA is a worthy program to give your money to. Also, GLA makes each moment of time a strengthening experience. Every night we are treated to a guest speaker who is able to relate her knowledge to us. After that, we are able to participate in an activity that provides us with more information as to who we are as an individual, which enables us to effectively lead others. These activities are followed with reminders that a strong leader also needs to be able to work with others in an honorable and community-conscious way. I think the activity that sums up what GLA is all about is: we commit the 7 Aspects of Human Security to memory each night.
Making A Difference
Today was the fourth day our 10 day GLA family has been together in the Dominican Republic. The past 3 days have eye opening in so many ways. Today on day 4, we traveled on a 5 minute bus ride down the road and up a hill to a bottle building being built in your own neighborhood of the Dominican house for GLA. All of the bottle insulation had been done by previous GLA groups. Today, my whole team worked o the landscaping for the area as well as cementing most of the walls in the building, getting it ready for the contractor to come in and fix it up professionally. While landscaping we evened the land to make it self sufficient for gardening fruits and vegetables for the Dominicans to eat for free. WHen walking inside the building, the four room building is being built for little to no payment medical care for the local Dominicans. Other rooms are also being built for an English learning center and as well as a community center to meet at. Being a part of the process to help the impoverished improve their health and education is life changing. Most people are complaining at home about when they can get wifi and the new clothes and cars the want. And when you travel to a place like the Dominican Republic, where most people are hungry or sick and only have the clothes on their backs, it makes you appreciate what you have at home waiting for you every night. Being here and helping people in need is the most amazing feeling in the world when you realize, you personally, are making a change for the better.
Today was the third day here in the Dominican. Our group woke up at around 7 and headed to breakfast which was the usual eggs and fruit. We piled into the buses and started our hour drive to Caraballo. When we arrived we immediately headed over to the bottle school which was in the middle of the field and surprisingly large. Some people went to work with the cement making others organized the bottles and most cut the chicken wire to create the walls. I helped in creating the walls which was actually hard. You have to first measure and cut the wire, then hammer it up, and then insert the bottles between the layers of chicken wire. It sounds easy but it takes a long time and a lot of energy. Also throughout the process the locals will talk to you and distract you with games and jokes. Soon lunch arrived and it was delicious even though it was the usual chicken, rice and beans. After lunch we went back to work for a little then started to clean up the site and say our goodbyes and headed back to the compound. We got to finally go to the beach and it was amazing. The waves are the ones you wish for and the water is the perfect temperature. After dinner we are allowed time to play amongst each other and then its time for bed and within minutes of curfew everyone is asleep from such a long day.
Today was the second day of my ten day service trip in the Dominican. Our group got up at 7 AM, had breakfast, and headed out to a mountain village called Brison. We were in the bus for about an hour and a half. When we arrived at the bottom of the mountain and stumbled groggily out of the bus. Some students headed off to the local convenience store, while others went to the bathroom (a local Dona was kind enough to lend us hers). When we finally began to hike, I remember being excited and energetic. I loved the street that our bus stopped on. There were so many Dominicans weaving their bicycles around all of the cars. The traffic lessened as we went up the mountain, but soon I became so tired that all I could focus on was the hiking. This two hour hike was the hardest physical activity that I have ever done in my life. I felt so humbled when I found out that the student residents of Brison have to make this hike every time they go to school!
All students have arrived safely in country and are ready for an amazing program! Stay tuned for blog updates!