Saturday June 23, 2018
We have all arrived safely in the DR. Despite some flight delays, we are in good spirits and looking forward to the next 10 days! #CSA2
Monday June 25, 2018
The facilitators woke the students of the GLA program 15 minutes earlier to hit the ground running as most all of them were anxious to get working over at the community. From the crack of the first hammer on the walls of the house to the last ball of cement plastered on the walls the house came a long way in the completion process.
Students worked various different jobs from mixing and laying cement, to laying the bottle insulation in the wall, to carving the hole for the septic tank, everyone was working hard making an impact on this community. Alongside the hard work we took some time to interact with the locals and have a fun time playing basketball with the children at lunch time to playing catch with the younger ones, everyone had a blast and there were nothing but smiles on everyone’s faces.
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Today was the first adventure day comprised of swimming in the light blue water of Dudu Lagoon and riding the waves at Playa Preciosa. First, we arrived at Dudu Lagoon and some brave souls zip-lined into the crystal clear water while others played it safe and jumped in. After Dudu we started our next journey to Playa Preciosa which was a salty turquoise ocean. Other than swimming, many people spent their time drinking piña colada’s (all virgin!), getting cornrows, and buying sick jewelry. Day 4 was a very well spent day.
-Authors: Sabrina, Bradliegh, Nicola, and Sofia.
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Today started out as an early morning. Around 6:30 am, we all woke up for a yummy desayuno. Then, we began the bus journey to Mt. Brisón. We began the hike up the tough terrain. We learned about the local community members who need to face this journey cada día to get agua and to escuela. When we finally reached the top after a 2 hour journey, we stopped for a delicious almuerzo with Doña Maxima. The decent was far easier than the ascent, but we still enjoyed the breathtaking scenery every step of the way. We are all excited for what tomorrow will bring!
Thursday June 28, 2018
Today was an amazing day of service. The group traveled down to Caño Dulce for the third time to finish up our progress on the bottle house. Between cementing, digging the hole, hammering, bottling, and mixing cement, everyone had a day full of hard work. We also got to visit a beehive run by community members who sell honey. The day continued with some free time which the students spent playing in the pool and relaxing. A yummy dinner and more time spent with friends completed the day – some event got to catch the beautiful sunset! We can’t wait for tomorrow!
Friday June 29, 2018
Today we visited Las Cuevas de Cabarete. Here, we picked up trash around the community with the help of the park guides. Following that we took a short hike around the protected area which included a view of the surrounding city. Finally, our last stop while we were there was swimming in the caves. Next, we went to Playa Alicia, where we ate pizza for lunch and swam in the ocean.
When we returned we had a pool party and cake for one of our group members birthday. For discussion tonight we watched a short film on the differences and history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We had Haitians come in and talk about personal experiences and answered any questions about being Haitian in the Dominican.
Saturday June 30, 2018
Today was an interesting day because we traveled to our Haitian/Dominican community (Betey) and saw some of the divide between the two groups. While entering the community you immediately see the tough circumstances that exist because of the lack of support. We worked on building a recycling center using empty plastic bottles. The environment was new as the kids were not hesitant in interacting with us and even some offered to help us. We divided into groups of playing and working to make our day flow well.
In the spirit of respecting local community we did not take any photos today. Here are some great pictures to represent our group: sweating heavily on our way up Brisón and sleeping heavily on our trip back home.
See you soon!
Post Writers: Ella, Macey, Kenny, Delaney
Though this year I went on my second ever GLA trip, it truly felt like the first again, the sense of wonder upon landing in a foreign country, the excitement building slowly as all the tired and hyped up kids packed onto the bus, the program-wide wave of exhaustion that ensued when we all got our rooms and the mild depression we all had when we learned we needed to get up at 6 AM for breakfast and head to the work site the next day. Though I experienced this all before it was just as fantastic a the first and it’s truly an experience I hope that a lot more people get to enjoy in the future.
This goes without saying but living with the same people for 10 days really helps you bond and make friends that you truly cant see yourself living without after the fact even though you didn’t know them beforehand. I’m still in contact with about 90 percent of my group from the Dominican Republic over text or snapchat and our group chat is popping. Getting to experience the culture of somewhere like the Dominican Republic is fantastic and sobering all at the same time. The fact that there are totally accessible parts of the country that look like they belong on a movie set just around the corner from our worksite where we were making a house for a mason who was living with his family in a dirt floor house with minimal space was shocking to most of us.
About the Worksite, we all got into four different groups and worked under the leaders of the day who were elected by the previous leaders of the day to lead the day (Complicated, I know) and began to work on the house, some of us made cement, some of us used the cement to cover up the mesh, some of us measured, cut out, and hammered the mesh into place after the wall was filled with bottles and some of us puffed up deflated bottles to put into the walls as insulation. We also played basketball with some of the local boys and girls after eating and one day we even went to see a local beekeeper and got to try honeycomb which was kind of gross in my opinion but I thought i’d mention it.
One day we worked on another groups service project in a primarily Haitian community called La Grua where we worked on a recycling center also made out of mesh and bottles and such, but we also spent a lot of our time there playing with the kids, some of us played a 3v3 with some of the locals on their basketball court while others played catch with baseballs or penalty kicks with soccer balls out in the field near where we were building. Other than working, we also had days where we went somewhere and did something touristy such as going to a Lagoon, Hiking up a trail through a small community, snorkeling in the ocean, or just chilling at the beach and recreating scenes from Baywatch for the lols, but eventually our time in the Dominican Republic came to a crushing end, we packed onto the bus after saying our goodbyes and head off to the airport back home, and while we may not still be in the DR, the memories and friends we made there will never be lost or forgotten.
-written by Alex Kreichman