Friday July 13, 2018
Hello from the Dominican Republic!
All students have arrived safe and sound. What an incredible, diverse group of individuals!
After meeting and having some introductions, we enjoyed a typical local dinner of rice beans chicken and fruits. Before beginning our Orientation, the group headed to the beach to watch the sunset and steal a group picture.
Tonight the students learnt all about our gobal health projects that focus on human security. Each student participated on a respect value contract, on how they wish to be treated and how they will treat others. As their Director, I am already very proud and impressed by this group.
Hilary and the team of mentors.
Saturday July 14, 2018
Today we went to Caño dulce to help build bathrooms for families. We made cement from scratch using actual dirt, not fake dirt, but dirt we dug up ourselves. We had to walk and get water from the river which was a new experience you wouldn’t imagine. We had to mix one batch of cement with dirt and another batch with sand. We had to mix it and it was very dense but the wonderful teamwork we had made it easier. Today’s experience helped the participants help others build a more sustainable lifestyle.
It also helped us expand our connections with one another with our hard teamwork. We came into the program not knowing one another and the first day we worked together as if we we’re friends from before the trip. Everyone is so friendly, even the families, with each other and it’s so welcoming. For the first day of doing labor work it was a very successful day and everyone is looking forward to what’s to come. So stay tuned with our blogs for our everyday activities!
Sunday July 15, 2018
Hi all! Today was already Day 3 of the GHI program! Our day started with a bit of a spider scare, but after that everyone was off to a great start. Breakfast consisted of eggs and fruit, as usual, but mashed potatoes were a bit different. Definitely something to get used to but delicious none the less! Group A split in two to divide and conquer during our second day Caño Dulce. We ventured to Nina’s house to paint it a beautiful turquoise to prevent the wood from rotting sooner than it should, as well as warding off termites. As we worked, some utilized their Spanish skills to get to know her story. She is a burn victim from a kitchen fire at a young age. However, her family and neighbors continue to support her.
Some split off to mix more cement to help the other locals in the neighborhood while enjoying fresh mangos. After finishing Nina’s house, we walked through an orchard planted by GLA to get to a local bee farm. Once returning to home base, many went to the beach to cool off and enjoy the gorgeous ocean views. After dinner, we watched a documentary on the divisions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was very eye-opening! We finished off the night with dance class lead by Idelisa and many added their own spice to the dances! We look forward to tomorrow!
Monday July 16, 2018
Que lo que (What’s up) Parents!
This is Zoe’, Simmy, and Caitlin, leaders of the day! Today we drove two hours to visit and serve a neighborhood, La Grua. Together, we mixed 12 bags of cement in order to cover a local woman’s home. We poured concrete onto the floors in a woman’s house for her and her three children to live in. Before the concrete floor they were living with dirt floors which were unhygienic and spread diseases easier. This was hard work but it all paid off in the end to see the family’s happy smiles. After the work in the morning, we ate lunch in a community center in the neighborhood built by former GLA students.
We then walked to a Haitian community in the Dominican Republic. When we first stepped into the community, what seemed like hundreds of kids ran up to us and gave us all the sweetest hugs ever. We had a brief tour of the Haitian community. Hilary talked to us about the water tank and pump that 7e installed, which provided running water to a community without running water for 30 years. After experiencing all these tiring events, almost all of us took a nap on the bus ride home. But we had a super fun trip to the supermercado! Everyone stocked up on American sweets and chips, and we also exchanged some of our money to pesos. After the fun trip we came back and relaxed before dinner, and learned about the 7 elements of human security during our lecture time. Tomorrow is our first adventure day after 3 tiring days of work. Stay tuned!
Tuesday July 17, 2018
Hey guys! It’s Bia, Justin, and Adam. Today was day 5 of the GLA GHI program. In place of our typical community work, we went to the Yasica River for a break. First, we got to see a bunch of different local species of animals in a sort of private zoo. There were snakes, iguanas, alligators, flamingos, turtles, birds, etc… As soon as we all got the chance to take pictures with all of the wildlife, then we boarded two tiny boats to take us down stream towards La Boca.
La Boca is the mouth of the Yasica River where fresh water meets the ocean. Here, there is no strong current or dangerous animals, so it was safe for us to swim. After a brief rain storm, we had a delicious Dominican style buffet lunch with fresh chicken, plantains, rice, beans, and fresh fruit. Later, we walked to the beach and played a fun traditional Dominican game called pañuelo.
This involved a lot of running, chasing, and falling that was pretty fun to watch. At the end of our long day, we headed back to the lodge to chill out and rest until dinner followed by a lecture on health and its relationship to income levels before going to bed. Adios!
Wednesday July 18, 2018
After our day of fun, we had the luxury of sleeping in until 9. We woke up to french toast, eggs with bell peppers, ham, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, we attended a presentation that discussed the levels of health care in the Dominican Republic, before visiting one of the local clinics. At the clinic we met one of the local doctors who gave us a tour of the facilities. After our visit, we came back to the lodge and sat down for lunch, which consisted of chicken, beans and rice, fried bananas, potato salad, along with fresh watermelon, pineapple, and papaya. Upon finishing lunch, we spent about an hour in a half in the lodge’s pool.
Around 2:30 the group gathered up to learned how to take vitals for our following day’s pop up clinic. With our newly learned knowledge we practiced how to do our clinic through a simulation game. In the game we took turns practicing as; registrars, interviewers, transporters of groups, consultants, pharmacists and data transcriptionist. The group finished the simulation around 6, just in time to eat dinner which consisted of vegan and chicken lasagna. Dinner was accompanied by fried plantains, fried sweet potatoes and fruit. At 7 we meet up to discuss the effects of consumer goods on the planet and on our health. Following the lecture we learned a few more dances from our local director Idelisa. Tired from our fun cultural dance class, we showered and retired to bed.
Thursday July 19, 2018
Today was the day we had all been waiting for! The brigade! After yesterday’s training, we were all really excited to move beyond the simulation and get involved in a local community. We left the lodge with all of our medicine (and energy) packed and ready to go for the day. After setting up the equipment and making sure all the stations were prepared, we were ready for the patients! Everyone was a little nervous about their jobs, but knew that everyone around them were waiting to help. Once we got the first couple patients through and got comfortable in our positions, we were able to step outside of our comfort zones and this allowed the brigade to start flowing! We saw 80 patients in four hours! From welcoming them all at registration, to taking their vitals, to shadowing doctors, and then to finally see them get their medications, the whole experience was extremely fulfilling.
We were able to not only interact with the local community, but also increase our understanding of the health system in the Dominican Republic. After the brigade, we all came back to the lodge a little tired, but also really thankful for the experience we just had. Shortly after, the majority of us went down to the beach to relax, play games, and dance. Then our lecture for the night began! We watched a documentary about the negative impact businesses and NGOs have on local communities they donate to. It allowed us to discuss and realize how even though businesses may have the country’s best interest at heart, there are still many side effects that impact the community in a harmful way. Today was “a beautiful day to save lives” as we all were introduced to and learned more about global health in the Dominican Republic 🙂
-Melissa, Jazmin, Grace
Friday July 20, 2018
Today we went to Polanco to work on a water tank system which will provide water to 200 people. To get water from the water tank to the all the families, we have to install piping which leads downhill from the tank to individual housing. To do so we dug a trench to put water pipes in. We used pick axes to break up the hard soil in the path that the pipe will follow. We also used shovels to clean out the soil and dirt which was broken up by the pick axes.
After a short break for lunch and a little more work, we went to a local ice cream shop on the way back to the lodge. At the lodge, many of us spent out free time in the pool. We also celebrated Raphy’s 15th birthday before our lecture about happiness. During our lecture, we discussed how different things can make people happy and happiness can’t just be defined in one way. Lastly, we headed to the beach after mentor groups to make smores with our bonfire. It was a demanding but rewarding day!
Saturday July 21, 2018
Hello ladies and gents.
Today we had a fun day. We woke up at 6 am to watch the sunrise at the beach. Then, we were off to Dudu lagoon to enjoy beautiful caves and ziplining. After lunch, we went to a beach which had jewelry, Piña coladas, and coconuts that we all enjoyed. Today wasn´t very eventful, but it was extremely relaxing and fun and it was a really nice break to be able to spend time swimming in the ocean together.
We really appreciate bonding with each other and our mentors, and we are starting to become a big family that bonds over body surfing and taking Instagram pictures. Tonight, we learned about the importance of being a leader and the different qualities that one should possess.
We love and miss you!!
Jenna, Zoe, Raphy
Sunday July 22, 2018
We started off our day by continuing our work at the Polanco water tank. The Polanco water tank will help provide running water for over 200 families in this community. Clean running water will help prevent diseases and improve daily lifestyle. Later in the day our mentors surprised us by taking our group to a beautiful beach, called Playa Alicia. We enjoyed many water activities including, tubing, and swimming in crystal clear water. We returned to the lodge tired and sunburnt from our day of fun. Sadly, one of our mentors, Izabella is leaving us for another program in Haiti. We threw her a surprise party which was full of cake and dancing!
Love, Adam and Hannah <3
Monday July 23, 2018
TWO MINUTES BEFORE WRITING THIS, I WENT TO PEACEFULLY TAKE A SHOWER AFTER THE POOL PARTY AND I WAS GREETED BY SOME DUCKS RUNNING ABOUT OUR ROOM- Cristina. Please ask your children for the video of Guillermo chasing them out, you will not be sorry. The day did not start out this crazy, we promise. Once upon a time, the leaders of the day (Cristina, Hannah, and Jaden) wrote “Surprise” at 7 on the daily schedule. SOMEHOW rumor had it that there was going to be a pool party instead of lecture (rumor ‘twas true). Today was clinic day! “Can I get a whoot-whoot if you are ready for vitamin day?” (something mentor Averi probably, most likely said).
Everyone was so excited to see all the kiddos. We had a lesson in the morning about how the brigade was going to run and then we were off! We went to El Bronx and stationed ourselves in a basketball court. No one was safe from the sun and the heat, but LOD’s (Leaders of the day) reminded everyone to stay hydrated!!!! We got through about 40 patients and sent everyone home with goodie bags of gummy vitamins. We got to try the dinosaur gummies and ohmigosh so good. Then the day slowed down and we rode our chariots all the way back to the palace (aka ecolodge). Then, tired from all the work, we took solid naps on the beach until dinner. Dinner was scarfed down and we ventured to the pool for the parrtayyyy. We partied with our friends from Group B until it was time to go to our rooms to shower… you know the rest. But they all lived happily ever after!
The end 🙂 (Shoutout to Momma C and Tcal! Miss and Love you both!!)
Tuesday July 23, 2018
Hello there parents of GLA GHI Group A and future GLA students who may be stalking this blog (we’ve been there). Today was our last work day before departure. We went to Caño Dulce to mix cement and paint houses for the last time. Then we had lunch and we took the bus to go to Playa Alicia where some of us ordered fruity drinks (don’t worry, they were non-alcoholic) at the restaurant and others went to the local shops to get more souvenirs for our families at home.
While everyone else was swimming in the crystal clear water, the people who went to shopping got ice cream after the shopping was done. Everyone was in the water or tanning and the surprise trip to the beach was very relaxing. After the beach, we took a short drive to the supermarket where there was AC! There, we got snacks, drinks, more bug spray, etc. Once everyone was done checking out, we headed back to home base and did the usual free time, dinner, lecture, and lights out. Now, be prepared for a HUGE picture spam.
xoxo, your LODs (Jacqueline, Serena, and Melody 🙂
(btw Pauline says hi to you Erica!)
We ended our adventures here in the Dominican Republic with one last fun day. After breakfast we went to Gri Gri Lagoon and took a boat ride to Playa Caleton. We spent the afternoon swimming and snorkeling in the ocean, tanning on the beach, and buying jewelry and other souvenirs from vendors. We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant on the beach and continued our beach adventures until we left back to the lodge. We came back and had a great final lecture about redefining leadership and later presented the capstone projects we have been working on in our mentor groups. At sunset we took one last walk to the beach and enjoyed taking pictures and spending the evening together. We spent the rest of the night reflecting on the week and sharing nice things about each other. We will dearly miss all the friends we’ve met these past 2 weeks.