Sunday July 8, 2018
Hello from The Dominican Republic!
We were so excited to welcome new students to The Lodge in the Dominican Republic today. Although some of our students are won’t be arriving until tomorrow, we had an awesome introduction day getting to know one another and beginning orientation. We can’t wait to meet and welcome the students arriving tomorrow and have an incredible BSW Program over the next 21 days 🙂
Monday July 9, 2018
Our first full day was quite spectacular and full of new experiences. Although we were nervous at first, we’ve all made new friends and are excited for the weeks to come. We played a lot of card games while at the lodge, and started construction at a community center for the locals in Nueva York Chaquito, which means, Little New York. We also threw a surprise birthday party for our new friend and fellow student, Malia! It was all very new but in the end it was fun making new friends, building a community center, and meeting the locals.
Amrita and Gabe
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Today is day three and we went to Nuevo York Chaquito to work on the community center. We continued building the walls with bottles and making concrete. We also enjoyed connecting and playing with the little kids who live in the neighborhood. Over all, it was very fun and we are excited to continue to work on the community center with everyone.
Wednesday July 11, 2018
We started our 4th day by working more on the bottle building, taking intermittent breaks to play volleyball or tag with the local children. After lunch, we visited a local jewelry store. Then instead of continuing to work like previous days, we were surprised with a visit to a beautiful nearby beach. We all had piña coladas or coco locos. A few of us even got a new hair-do. Afterward, we returned to the lodge for dinner and a lecture on poverty situations.
-by Michael and Ruby
Thursday July 12, 2018
Today we got up at 7:30, ate breakfast, and took a two hour car ride to Santiago. In Santiago, we went to a museum with unique and meaningful art work. After, we went to a monument and walked all the way to the top, the view was stunning. Finally, we returned home and relaxed in the pool.
– An and Gunner
Friday July 13, 2018
Today we went to Cano Dulce where we were building a latrine. Our exact tasks were mixing cement and putting it onto the walls that have already been bottled. After lunch we had a competitive game of basketball with the local kids and learned how exciting connecting with this community can be. We left the project site today feeling super thankful for our homes and all the hard work that comes with construction. We started our capstone projects tonight and finished the evening with a walk on the beach. We are all excited to go to the capital tomorrow!
– Luke and Malia
Saturday July 15, 2018
We started off the day at 8 leaving the lodge. Our drive was 5 hours but we finally reached the capital. We visited multiple historical sites, one of them being the first cathedral in the Americas. We also passed many shop and even sampled delicious Dominican chocolate. For dinner we went to a really cute Italian restaurant and ate fantastic pizza and pasta. Our day in the Capital was a success.
-Amber and Hugo
Monday July 16, 2018
Today we went white water rafting! We learned to face our fears by braving the rapids. Although most of us were nervous, the raft guides and the views helped calm our nerves. Besides the 4 hour long car ride, back in the end it was a fun day!
Your Leaders of the Day
Anastasia and Gabe
Tuesday July 17, 2018
On day 10 we found ourselves back at NY Chiquito! We focused on cementing the walls and finally finished bottling. While we were working rain abruptly started and poured all through our lunchtime. We took a break to take in the rain and play with the children of the community. Around 2 we packed up early and headed back to the lodge.
-by Cole and Renee
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Day 12! Today was our last day at NY Chaquito, which is where we’ve been working on a community center. After growing a relationship with the community, it was hard to say goodbye. Once we finished our work, we took a tour of the community and saw an interesting aspect of Dominican life that we had never seen before.
Later on, we watched a short documentary about the relationship between Dominicans and Haitians since we are preaparing for our trip to Dajabon Market tomorrow, which lies between the border of the two countries. Following the documentary we had a Q & A with one of our mentors who is a Dominican citizen, but comes from Haitian descent. Tomorrow, we’re waking up at 5:30 am which will be difficult, however it will be worth the experience.
Evelyn and Has
Monday July 23, 2018
After learning how to bottle and cement, we were ready to start a new project today and learn how to plant banana trees. This morning we headed to the community of Cano Dulce to plant around 100 banana trees. The community will maintain and farm the banana trees as a source of food and income for the community. Before planting, we had to clear the land and it was there where we encountered some tarantula friends! Some of the kids from the community came to help us dig holes and plant trees as well. We connected with the children, one kid especially connected with everyone and his name was Dollery. He introduced us to cacao and we all got to taste it! Once we finished, we played basketball and volleyball with all the kids. We had a great day and can’t wait to go back and water the trees tomorrow.
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today was our third day of work at the community Caño Dulce. We had a wonderful morning building off of all our hard work from yesterday. We worked on clearing more land and planting, but our main task for the day was watering the banana plants. Everyone worked as a team to form an assembly line carrying water buckets from the river to the plants (quite a distance). This continued all morning until every plant got the water it needed. After enjoying a delicious lunch we played games with local kids and got a tour of the bee hives from the local bee keeper Johnny. We learned so much about his work and even got to taste some incredible honey that he cut fresh from the comb. It was such a great day for learning about local agriculture and bee keeping!”
Luke and Emma (los primos)
Thursday July 26, 2018
On Day 19 we had our last work day at Cano Dulce. We continued our hard work of planting and watering banana trees from Days 16 and 17. We spent the morning digging holes and clearing the hillsides for the baby banana plants. We quickly found that among us in the brush were baby tarantulas and centipedes. While we were tired at the end of the day, the sad realization that we had to say “adios” to the playful kids and hospitable locals hit us all. The mood was quickly lifted when we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, playing cards, and working on our capstone projects at the lodge.
Today was our 20th and final full day in the Dominican Republic. We woke up early to see the sunrise. Some say you’ve never seen a sunrise until you’ve seen one in the DR… it was so cloudy that we didn’t see much of anything, but that’s absolutely okay. It was a beautiful morning on a beautiful beach, and we’re all going to miss those early morning walks. We later went to Sosua and went snorkeling. The water was amazingly clear and you could see the entire ecosystem below the water!