Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
It’s Ben! I hope you’re all doing well, and haven’t forgotten me or the team yet! My summer in the DR is wrapped up and now I have a chance to reflect on the great memories we built together.
We finally finished and painted the house in Las Canas (we went with a sky blue colour) and everyone is all moved in, the water tank in La Grua is now completed and the whole community now has water access!
When I saw the water tank completed in La Grua, I thought back to the early days of digging that hole in the gruelling heat (that was the hardest part of the whole project), you guys really kept my spirits up through it all. We had some ups and downs, as you do in life but we had laughs to the very end and didn’t lose sight of the big picture of why we were there – to help others and learn about the world.
I hope to see you all again soon. Make your life matter. Make me remember you when I read about you changing the world for the better. I hope I’ve helped to bring you a little closer to becoming an expert global citizen.
Your Director and friend,
P.S. Do you miss the rice and beans yet!?
Summer Blog Posts
Today we arrived at Puerto Plata International Airport, warmly welcomed by live music and good weather. By 5 o’clock we were all on the bus heading to homebase and the white sandy beaches.
After we settled in we all had a dinner filled with exotic fruits with chicken. By now everyone was talking to everyone and getting to know each other. We are all excited for this adventure!
-Jackie and Miles
*Missing from photo Jackie Houston, Lila Lanier [resting at base], Zoe Kane, Georgia Baker [late arrival], Mary Macko, Schyler Temperado, Kathryn Simmon, Sarah Jacobson, Skye Guindon [late arrival]
Today marks Day 2 of our adventure in the Dominican Republic. We all woke up ready to get started with our service project. After approximately a mile of walking we made it to our destination. The project we are working on is for a family of nine who need a home with better sleeping arrangements and roofing. Some of the jobs we did were insulating and plastering walls with plastic bottles and concrete, digging a hole for septic purposes as well as leveling the floor.
After we finished working at the site for the day we walked home, taking a route along the beach. When we got back to the lodge everyone rushed to put on swimsuits so we could all get in the water before dance class. Some of the locals came to teach us a few common Dominican dances and everyone had a good time.
After dance class we ate dinner and then celebrated Emily’s birthday with cake and a song. When the cake eating was completed we had group reflection time where we discussed the importance of the 7 elements and why we came on this trip.
As we embarked on our second day at the bottle house, we found ourselves making loads of progress specifically with wiring and bottling. As we continued our work, we realized how tedious the process can be. With sore backs and hands, we made cement to finish up some of the walls. During our work we experienced rainfall, cooling us off in the midst of the humidity, and enjoyed home-cooked food from the hospitable locals. After accomplishing a good amount of work in a short amount of time, we got to leave early. Without a cultural activity today, we had the opportunity to bond with new friends on the beach and relax in our cabins after a hard work day. Everyone cheered for Taco Tuesday and loved the tacos made by the lovely doñas.
Shortly after, we had our daily lecture led by mentor Rick, who gave an inspirational speech on justice. We ended the night with our mentor reflections where we deepened our thoughts on justice and privilege.
-Lily, Bree, Grace Motta, Cami.
June 22, 2016
June 22nd, our fourth day. Today was our last day working on the Las Canas bottle house. While working today, it decided to pour and everyone huddled inside the house, except for those few brave soles who continued to mix cement. Soon after the rain stopped we got back to work and continued towards our goal of covering the second wall of the house with cement. At the end of the day, stepping back, we realized how much we had achieved. Over the first three days we were able to cover the first GLA group’s wall with cement, bottle and cement our own wall, and make friends with both locals and GLA participants. After returning from the bottle house most of us, the GLA students, headed to the beach, where the water was blue and the sun was shining. We are looking forward to the next few days and hoping they will be as fulfilling as the ones before.
June 23, 2016
Today our GLA group went to Dudu lagoon and Playa Preciosa for a day of fun and recreation. This is our 5th day on the 10 day beach side service adventure, but our first adventure day. We began the day traveling to Dudu where we were able to zip line into a lagoon, cliff jump, and explore underwater caves. After all our fun activities we enjoyed a delicious lunch consisting of fried chicken, rice, beans, and salad. After lunch we had a leisurely game of volleyball in a sand court.
Today was day 6 of our Beachside Service Adventure in the Dominican Republic.Our day composed of several activities located in the La Grua Haitian Batey. We drove about two hours to the Batey where we were then divided into three groups. Group one began digging a water tank for the local community. The second group began the workday with painting the local community center. Group three began their day by painting a locals home.
Throughout the day, all three groups rotated through the three jobs in the community. We then ate lunch all together along with some locals in the community center we had been working on. We ended the day with a tour of the Haitian Batey as a group accompanied by several locals. Towards the end of the tour, many local children joined our group and shared several laughs and smiles with us. After a long and empowering day, we came home to eat dinner and discussour day.
-Sarah, Aissatou, Sky, Jane and Kathryn