Thursday June 14, 2018
All students have arrived safely in the Dominican Republic! We are getting to know each other, getting settled into home base, and are all super excited for the next three weeks!
Friday June 15, 2018
Today was the group’s first day embracing the climate of the Dominican Republic. Though it was extremely caloroso (hot), the group pushed through by enjoying themselves, engaging with the locals, and building the community center for the New York Chiquito. Everyone is safe and sound back at The Lodge, staying grounded and prepared for another day in the DR. Overall, today was such a wonderful experience to enjoy with new friends, locals, and the breathtaking scenery the DR has to offer. We hope these upcoming weeks are as amazing as the first has been so far.
Marissa C. and Becca H. – signing off!
Saturday June 16, 2018
As Ice Cube would say, “today was a good day!” We continued our work at New York Chiquito community center. Yesterday 12 sections of wall were completed, and today we finished the day off with 36 sections! Quite an improvement. The opportunity to be immersed in such a connected community has created an intense feeling of family amongst the group. We are on day 3 and the group has not only bonded with each other, but also with the children of New York Chiquito. To wind down a long day of work the counselors surprised us with a trip to Caleton Beach. We head into the next few weeks inspired and energized to learn as much as we can about the beautiful country that is the Dominican Republic.
-by Kyle C. and Cat R.
Sunday June 17, 2018
Today was the halfway marker of our work completed at Nueva York Chiquito. Our team building skills have improved a great deal today as we helped each other start off the third and highest section of the wall. Not only were we hard at work with the walls, we were immersing ourselves in the Dominican Republic culture by dancing and listening to songs with the locals. After our long day at the site we were surprised by the mentors with a trip to Playa Preciosa. We are excited to visit Dajabon market on the Haitian-Dominican Republic border and experience the rich culture tomorrow.
-by Shay P. & Coni G.
Monday June 18, 2018
Rise and shine at 4:30 am! Start of a five hour journey to Dajabon Mercado. After four stops and some other delays we finally enjoyed our lunch at D’House and prepared for our tour through the market. It was turbulent and chaotic but immersed us in the clashing cultures of the Haitians and Dominicans. We also got the chance to experience the massacre river and the bridge separating the two countries. After our unique tour, we made our way back to the bus for our 5 hour journey to home base.
-by Lily O. & Jude H.
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Today we worked on a latrine in Caña Dulce. We did more bottle walls and began a six foot deep pit, which will be used for a septic tank. Later we raced through an obstacle course on the beach as a team-building experience.
-Taryn and Jay
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Today we toured the capital city, Santo Domingo. We arrive at our (air-conditioned, woohoo) hotel around 2 and then headed out to explore the “zona colonial” as a group. We got to do some shopping and visited a lot of cool historic sites. We passed beautiful street art and centuries old buildings such as the house of Christopher Columbus’s son and the first cathedral in the Americas. We then practiced our salsa dancing in a plaza and afterward did a team building exercise, untangling the human knot. Last but not least, we finished the evening with pizza!!!
– Luca and Isabella
Thursday June 21, 2018
Today we explored Tres Ojos caves in Santo Domingo. They were beautiful and the sunlight shining down lit up the clear blue waters. Afterward we headed to Jarabacoa, a mountain town. As rain fell from the sky and a brisk breeze hit our faces, we realized that we were not in Las Canas anymore. Toward the end of the day we did a self-awareness exercise called ‘values line’ which was really interesting. We ended the day playing ping pong and having a piggy back riding competition at our hotel.”
-Megan and Alex
Friday June 22, 2018
Today everyone was very excited to start off the day by going white-water rafting in Jarabacoa. It was an amazing experience and at one point as we glided down the cool river, we surpassed a 4 meter drop! Afterward, we ate lunch, spent some time playing games, and celebrated Luca’s birthday. Next, we took a short drive to a powerful waterfall and came back to the lodge later in the afternoon. It felt good to come back to home.
-by Alexandra and Sam
Saturday June 23, 2018
Today was one of our most challenging days yet! Through hiking the beautiful landscape of Brison, we grew physically and mentally, not only exercising our legs as we took on the 4 km trail but also developing our knowledge of the region’s unique culture and history.
We hiked on a road that led directly through the community, which meant we were able to observe their school, houses and water pipes, some of which had been recently set up by the peace corps. When we got to the top, we ate at the house of a local resident, Maxima, who generously shared her culture through recalling her life experiences (and cooking us delicious food!)
Our strenuous hike made us better understand the difficulties of people in developing countries and appreciate the simple privileges many of us have, such as driving to school and getting a glass of water from the faucet.
– Maggie and Marli
Sunday June 24, 2018
Day 12: Today was our 4th day at Nueva York Chiquito. We finished bottling the walls of the community center. After lunch in the community we went to the beach. We swam and enjoyed each other’s company. We left early due to thunderstorms. Dinner was great as usual. We then had a discussion about issues in comunities in the DR and Haití.
-by Becca and Delaney
Monday June 25, 2018
Concrete for days! Today was the group’s first day working with cement. Although it was different and hard the group stuck together and accomplished a lot! Seven bags of cement to be exact. The trip is going by so fast. Within these 13 days, the group has grown so much and are practically family.
-by Kyle and Jude
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Today was a work day. We finished cementing the walls of the community center in Nueva York Chiquito. One thing that made today more significant is that we met more of the local children. Another thing that made today special was our tour of NYC and the Bronx. We were shocked by the living conditions in the community. This made us realize the true impact of our work. Today opened our eyes to extreme poverty.
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Today we took a break from working and cementing to take a trip to Santiago. First we went to Centro Leon, a cool Dominican museum, and learned about Caribbean history. Then we had lunch at a pizza place, where many of us also ordered some very delicious churros. After lunch we then went to a monument and enjoyed a beautiful vista. We spent time as a group at the top, enjoying the skyline and taking silly pictures. We closed the day with dinner and a viewing of Poverty Inc.
-by Megan & Jay
Thursday June 28, 2018
Today was a great relaxing day! Some of us went on a run in the morning along the beach, while the rest of us took the opportunity to sleep in. We enjoyed a late breakfast and later spent some time in the pool. After lunch we went to a gorgeous beach and played in the water for two hours. We capped the day with a yummy dinner at the lodge and are about to have our nightly lecture. We’ve enjoyed this experience so much and look forward to making the world a greener place. Off to gardening in Caño Dulce tomorrow!
– Shea and Connie
Friday June 29, 2018
Today was our first day back to work after our excursion days. We got our hands dirty planting new banana trees for the community in Caña Dulce. While reforesting, we came across many intriguing insects including delicious tarantulas (haha just kidding). After or banana-filled day in the sun, we cooled off with a quick stop at the ice cream shop. After dinner at the lodge, we watched ‘Before the Flood’, an eye-opening environmental documentary.
– Lili and Sam
Saturday June 30, 2018
Today was our second day at Caño Dulce reforesting banana trees. We came together as a group in order to water all of the trees planted yesterday. There is no proper irrigation system in the community, so we formed a long assembly line to transfer 5 gallon buckets of water from the river to the banana sprouts. Today we shared our cohesion and our determination to aid the community through real interactions with each other and the local kids. The work was difficult but proved to be rewarding.
Thanks for reading,
Kat and Luca 🙂
Today was our last day at Caño Dulce (and our last work day here in the Dominican Republic!) As we have for the past couple days, we worked to plant seedling banana trees and water them with water we carried ourselves from the local creek. Before lunch, we took a trip to visit Johnny, a local community member, and explore his environmentally-friendly bee farm.
At the hives, we were even able to taste some delicious honey fresh off the combs— definitely a highlight of the day! Finally, we ended our work day with some time spent interacting with local community children, playing basketball and practicing our Spanish in engaging conversations. Ultimately, our final work day was a huge success with a bittersweet end— we formed memories that will last us a lifetime as we approach our final days here in the beautiful Dominican Republic.