Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Everyone made it safely to their airports and arrived at the base camp. Students were immediately immersed in a completely different and foreign environment. From the moment they landed many were facing a language barrier and had to navigate their way to the GLA staff. Being submersed allowed students to get a feel for the type of atmosphere they will be in for the remainder of the trip. They then faced Dominican traffic, a very new experience for many. The lack of strict road laws and relaxed signs were quite the shock.
Once students arrived at home base, they were shown their rooms and were settled in they had dinner and were then briefed on the agenda for the week. Staff led a lecture / introduction once dinner concluded. Then students were sent to bed and got their much-needed rest for the service work the next day. After waking up and getting breakfast we then to go work to our service project. While working many students noted on the differences between life here and that of the US.
Working through a language barrier caused some difficulties, but students were able to remain patient to overcome them. We worked on two houses, putting plastic bottles in as insulation, and covering spaced with chicken wire. Many students also marveled at the ability to use old plastic bottles in the creation of the buildings. Students went to home base for the swim test and icebreakers. After, the students were treated to dinner and a lecture by Junior on the 7 elements of human security. Then they gathered in mentor groups to talk about bonding things to help the students open. Then students retired to their bedrooms to prepare for tomorrow’s events.
Written by Nova and Zach
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
On the 14th of July we had a nice morning yoga session to start the day at about 6:15am. Breakfast was some yummy eggs and peppers with a choice of toast or oatmeal.
We then headed to the community service site, La Colonia, where we started cementing and continued bottling the two houses. Our service project has been a real highlight of the program so far. And as you can from our photos, we’re making some really meaningful progress!
At around 3:00pm we went back to the Home Base, swam a little and a group went to buy ice cream and walk on the beach. Afterward we held a student debate as a leadership activity over the pros/cons of building a large baseball stadium in a local community here on the island. There were four different student groups representing the government, government supporters, the people, and support alliance. Support alliance won the best critical argument, but the government supporters had an extremely solid argument and amazing debate skills, especially when you know that they were provided with the least solid evidence. They were all really good and fascinating to hear out.
Today, on the 15th of July, some of us woke up to go watch the sunrise and started their day at 5:50am. Early start! For breakfast today we had some great pancakes with honey.
We then headed to Dudu Lagoon, a famous spot in the Dominican Republic with beautiful views. It’s like a hidden oasis in the jungle. We spent the day swimming and playing volleyball and soccer.
We had lunch at a restaurant and then headed to the beach. We were able to go into the ocean and spend the rest of our day at the beach. Excursions like these really round out the experience as they complement service well, and offer both fun and a bit of a unique insight into life on the island.
Afterwards, we headed back to the home base, but we got detoured because of a strike going on in the community. After a slight delay on the bus, we got to the Home Base where we had a conversation about the demonstration, so we could turn the detour into a learning experience about life in Dominican communities. We then had a nice dinner and had a lecture on global health and climate change. Our day ended with our mentor group discussions and reflections.
Here are some more photos from yesterday and today for you to enjoy!
-Saskia, Aaron, Maria & the GLA Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Hi there! Lea and Ella E. were chosen to be leaders of the day today. We started off with an early breakfast then had a 2-hour bus ride to our service cite at La Grua.
At La Grua we mixed concrete and lugged buckets of it to 2 different houses within the community. They used the concrete to lay floors in 2 homes. Our amazing local director, Junior, showed us around and gave us a descriptive tour of the community in La Grua. We were able to learn about their struggles and how they live their day to day lives. We had a chance to connect and play with the children of the community. They were very kind, friendly, and welcoming to us as visitors. We all loved the kids so much and getting to hangout with them was the highlight of our day.
After La Grua we arrived back at homebase and had some free time to build better connections with our friends here. After that our leaders of the day led us in a group game and then we ate dinner. Lastly, we received a detailed lecture from Junior on economics and poverty.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Today started out like a typical day. Lauren took some of us to the beach for a walk/run at 6:15. Although we missed the sunrise, it was nice to start the day by hearing the waves. Thankfully, the sand was hard this morning. Yesterday, it was so soft.
Breakfast was delicious. Today we had French toast, eggs with peppers, and the delicious Dominican fruit. After breakfast, we ventured back to La Colonia. One crew spent the morning finishing the chicken wire and water bottle while the second crew kept putting concrete onto the walls. We enjoyed lunch (early today) at 11:30. We ate down by the bus today, since we were going caving in the afternoon. We enjoyed chicken, beans, salad, and fruit! On the way to the park, we drove through some larger towns and saw the ocean with tourists! At the park we began our adventure by planting seeds. Then we embarked to the first cave where we descended 90 feet into the ground and jumped into the water.
The path down was tight and dark, but we were equipped with flashlights and helmets. The experience was exhilarating and remarkable. The second cave we entered was only 20 feet underground, but it held century old rock. We had to be careful not to touch the rock as it would damage it. Lastly instead of descending into the third cave, we ascended to an edge and jumped into the water. The drop was about 9 feet; the feeling of landing in the water was freeing and refreshing. Our park tour guide even climbed up the side of the cave, like rock climbing, and jumped down from thirty feet above. The splash hit everyone!
After the caves, we came back to the lodge and took quick shower. Then, we played in a NINGA tournament and enjoyed a delicious dinner. Lastly, we walked to the local store and indulged with some ice-cream. They had a new favor tonight: caramel! We are looking forward to hiking Mt. Brison tomorrow! Goodnight:)
Written by Elle and Cassidy
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
After our pancake breakfast this morning we headed toward the bus for La Colonia, our service site for this trip. At La Colonia today, we split into groups to work both on cementing the walls of the lower house and bottling the walls of the top house. With some students leaving the service cite early from feeling under the weather, the students who remained at La Colonia stepped up to get even more work done on these houses.
After eating lunch at the service cite, we returned home with extra free time. This time gave us the opportunity to further bond with each other by playing games, hanging out at the pool, and getting to know each other better. After free time we all gathered in the kitchen for the “appreciation circle” activity and then enjoyed dinner together. Tonight’s lecture was a super informational movie that gave us all a new perspective on poverty. This has been a great experience so far!
Written by Ethan and Natalie