Time Capsule Letter
I’m sure you all miss waking up to the odd howling of Ernie & Oscar, our home-base mascots, as they MOOed like cows outside of our cabins bright and early each morning! Or waking up to the sweet melody of your top bunk roomie’s alarm clock going off for 10 minutes straight. How about our delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, cereal and toast every morning? Or the smell of bug spray and sunscreen blowing into our cabins by a rare but much needed breeze?
Ohh, I know we all miss when the water pressure would go weak mid-shower because everyone else is also showering off the cement from their legs. Then, there’s always the good old shower companion that startles you when you catch a glimpse of the lizard or frog on the wall! Ahh, yes… the many nights spent trapping giant flying beetles in a handy-dandy Pringles can. Oh the joys of cabin life! But it’s these little quirks that allowed us all to bond so quickly in just 10 days!
When we weren’t running around screaming our heads off from harmless bugs, we were swimming in the refreshing pool, cooling off from a hard days work at service. Or sitting pool-side chatting away with all of our new friends. We made so many beautiful friendship bracelets over hours of casual conversation. We went to so many beautiful beaches, swam in crystal clear ocean water, lagoons and caves!
We ran like our lives depended on it across miles and miles (or so it felt..) of burning hot sand. We haggled prices with local vendors and had our hair braided and beaded by local women at the beach.We embarked on a catamaran boat ride to our beautiful snorkeling destination and saw vibrant colored fish swimming below us.
Like many who visit the Dominican Republic, we enjoyed delicious beverages while relaxing in the sun, with our toes in the sand. But our experience was much more than that, our experience will live on in our hearts, our experience was unique and empowering. We traveled here to learn about WHO the Domincan Republic is.
We witnessed a different way of living as local families in rural and small communities welcomed us into their homes and shared their stories with us. We saw the struggles and strides that people in the DR face daily. We get to leave the DR with so much more then a sun tan. Our hearts and minds feel full and inspired to continue to learn about global issues and take action.
We learned about how we allow inequality into our everyday lives and how people from all over the world are given different opportunities based on the color of their skin or the place in which they were born. We hope you all feel empowered to make changes in these systems. Although you are home now, surrounded by all of your comforts, we hope you continue to travel and gain a worldly view. Continue to educate and inspire those around you. We hope you always carry an open mind and an open heart.
Let’s not forget about our goals that we made in mentor groups! William’s group to do 20 hours of service each semester, Carlos’ group was to also do 20 hours of community service as well as go vegan for a week (which will be held accountable via a groupchat). Jackie’s group was to continue to educate ourselves as well as others about issues not only occurring in the DR, but also worldwide and to strive to be global citizens.
Thank you for making this experience everything that it was! You have inspired and taught us along the way and we hope that you continue to BE THE CHANGE that you want to see in this world!
Walner, William, Carlos, and Jackie
Saturday July 20, 2019
When we woke up everyone was a little hot but everyone was excited nervous for their first official day in the Dominican Republic! Breakfast consisted of eggs, toast, cereal, oatmeal and hot cocoa. No one was sure what to think of having a hot drink while it was so hot but once they tasted it people flocked. At the service site everyone, despite the heat, worked tirelessly to build the platic bottle house while taking short breaks to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Some people mixed the concrete while others pasted the walls once they were insulated with plastic bottles. We met some of the family who we were building the house for and heard a powerful speech from them. After the lunch buffet at site and an invigorating team-building activity led by the student leaders we finished the house and began touring the town. We got the opportunity to interact with some of the locals and got to meet many of the town dogs (One of which we named Papaya).
After a fun filled day, we all took cold showers when we got back to homelodge and hopped in the pool to cool off before meeting again to discuss shared expectations then enjoyed fried fish and plaintains. once we were all stuffed and well rested, we learned about human securities and insecurities and had an open discussion. We ended the night with mentor groups and all went to bed ready for another fantastic day…
XOXO sun burnt and livin life (Seth R)
Sunday July 21, 2019
Today we woke up brighteyed and ready for the new day in the beautiful Dominican Republic. We woke up to a more traditional breakfast of French Toast, cereal, eggs, and a delectable banana smoothie. We then hopped in the van and went to service site passing some strolling cows along the way. We continued working on the plastic bottle house and it is amazing (!!) to watch it come into fruition. I (The writer/editor have begun training my writing pupils to continue my new legacy.
XOXO Sethy – I’ll stay in touch
Let us continue with our service adventure. The day was filled with joyful children and a taste into traditional dominican food. IT SLAPPED AND HIT DIFFERENT. We grew friendships with not only our fellow student campers but also with the local children. We shared interests, played games, and worked on the house together. Thats all for now….bye baddies mwah!
After a great day at the bottle house, we ventured off onto a stunning beach that was close by to our lodge (2 minute walk)! We stayed for a while; some people even went knee deep in the water! After walking back from the beach, many people enjoyed pool time. Then we had another amazing dinner with a rainbow spectrum of different lasgnas, amongst other nutrients and beverages. Immediately following dinner, we had great and informative lesson on the topic of the divide between and Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Then, we split into deep and reflective mentor groups. Now we are here long past our bedtime (#savages) writing this blog to our loving parents.
T-H-E E-N-D. THE END.
MADISON AND CAROLINE
Monday July 22, 2019
We woke up to the sweet sound of birds realizing it was our first day without service!
Our breakfast consisted of eggs (with plenty of spices) and cereal. We all piled into the whip (the van) and headed off to the lagoon. After an intense volleyball match and a lot of swimming in the stunning swimming holes we got to eat a scrumptous combo of spaghetti and chicken. On our way home from the lagoons, we stopped at a beach for a couple of hours. We then headed to the dazzling beach where the shore just kept going and the water glistened. We headed over to where many different men peddled their wares to us and many campers picked up necklaces made of assorted beautiful metals and gemstones.
XOXO Sethy – tired and living lavishly
We enjoyed our time at the beach by drinking gorgeous (virgin) pina coladas (in pineapples!), shopping, taking pictures, and most importantly playing in the waves in the crystal clear water. Once we came back to the home base, we enjoyed a minimal amount of free time, in which some people played in the pool, while others rinsed off from the beach. Once our free time came to a close, we consumed a beautiful array of tacos, amongst other side dishes that warmed our empty stomachs.
Following dinner, we played a fun new game, called “electricity,” in which we got to know each other better through various movements. After this activity, we had an eye opening experience about ourselves regarding specific characteristics and differences between our identities that we may possess. We now have extra free time before returning to our bedrooms at 9:30, which is nice because it is more time than we usually get to spend with each other before bed.
CATCH YA ON THE FLIP SIDE,
CAROLINE AND MADISON
Tuesday July 23, 2019
We woke up to our normal traditional breakfast and then headed to the service site for a long rewarding day. The house was coming together as we started to plaster and we were beginning to see the fruit of our labor. We also visited a bee farm with one of the leaders of the “caño dulce” community.
When we got back to the camp we had half an hour of meditation or “selfie time” and then we met with our mentors. My group went down to the beach at sunset and basked in the dying light admiring it’s natural untouched beauty. We then went night swimming in the pool, tiring ourselves out for bed.
Xoxo Sethy who’s chakras are all lined up
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today’s adventure woke us up at 7 o’clock to a delicious fulfilling breakfast before the tiresome excursion; brison. This vibrant community lives along a steep mountain, and we had the privilege of hiking a mile and a half up it. The journey was sweaty and intense, we all thought we were dying, and needed multiple water breaks to sustain ourselves.
However, in the end it was extremely rewarding because we got to meet Doña Máxima and eat the amazing beans, chicken, and rice she cooked for us. We also met her mother, who is 87 years old. Their resilience and energy was astounding; they hike up the hill almost everyday! also the view was stunning, even after we learned it was corrupted by deforestation.
The way down was easier, but took more concentration because there was less grip on the rocks. Quickly we were back on the bus, exhausted and ready to take cold showers at home base. After a refreshing dip in the pool and a few card games, we ate dinner!
It was some of the best food so far, Zancocho, which is a kind of stew with potatoes and chicken.
After dinner, Loubens, one of the local directors, talked about his life story. He had to cross the border between Haiti and the DR to end up working for GLA and 7 element.
We finished the day with a role play debate about the difficult situation between the DR and Haiti.
– by Ariana, Belle, Seth
Thursday July 25, 2019
We woke up to a delicious buffet of different breakfast foods and coffee. After breakfast we headed to a local community to pick up trash and freshen up the neighborhood. We went around to local businesses while picking up trash to not only clean the neighborhood but also get to the root of the problem of pollution and educate them on why littering affects the community.
After working up a sweat we got to cool off and (safely) cliff jump into an open cave. We went to the beach after and got a picture perfect view of the sparkling water and scrawling coastline. When we got back to the lodge, after resting of course, we participated in an engaging discussion about our personal morals and ethics and then applied those morals and ethics to theoretical situations and discussed the outcomes. After a long mentally and physically draining day we were thrilled to hit the hay and call it a day.
XoXo Sethy – Sipping (virgin) strawberry daiquiris in heaven `
This morning, we woke up to a typical GLA gourmet breakfast under the palms; which consisted of various
cereals, eggs, rolls, fruit, and a refreshing passionfruit beverage. Following breakfast, we prepared to
depart to our new work site. In terms of service, our goal was to finish flooring a house using cement.
Many of us mixed cement, while others transported it to the house.
We enjoyed a classic spread of rice and gandules, fruit, fish, plantains, and salad for lunch. Working tirelessly all day, we were able to get the job done early, meaning we had the opportunity to get ice cream at a local creamery afterwards. With a variety of different ice cream selections, it was difficult to choose only three scoops to fill our bowls (#hungryworkers)!
After arriving back to the lodge after service, covered in cement and dirt, some refreshed themselves in the pool, while others cleaned off in a nice cold shower. Once our hour of free time came to a close, we enjoyed a cultural dance lesson from the locals. During this time, we had the opportunity to learn an array of classic Dominican dance styles. With many laughs, we found our true inner dancers. Immediately after this tiring yet energetic dance lesson, we devoured an American style dinner; one that we have been looking forward to all trip. T
his dream meal was made up of classic Kraft mac and cheese, penne pasta with marinara sauce, plantains, fruit (ofcourse), salad, bruscetta, french fries, and some freshly squeezed pineapple juice for a drink. After we filled our bellies, we enjoyed a short amount of free time before embarking on a cultural adventure where we learned about life in the Dominican Republic directly from two local sources.
Now we are enjoying one last bit of free time before hunkering down in our bug nets for quiet time at 9:30. After a long and tiring day at service, many of us are eager to get to bed so we can wake up refreshed for our last full day here in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
It was a pleasure chattin’ with ya! See you lovelies tomorrow,
CAROLINE AND MADISON
Photo Credits: Rylie Fryberger & Sophie Koziol