Sunday July 29, 2018
After a great summer of Global Health programs, mentors and directors made their last trips to the airport to pick up students. Students arrived throughout the day and then eagerly awaited for the whole group to be together. After health checks and swim tests, students were served a traditional dinner of rice, chickens, beans, salad and fruit. We are excited to meet the remaining 6 students coming in tomorrow and can’t wait to kick off a wonderful two weeks filled with learning and adventure. Here’s to a great session!
Mentors and Directors
Monday July 30, 2018
Hey parents!! Today was our first day in the DR, and it was honestly better than I expected. Yes, it may be extremely hot, and we may have been covered in sweat, sunscreen, bug spray, concrete, paint, and dirt for the majority of the day today, but I think for the most part we all had a good day. We got up, ate breakfast, then had a presentation on community ethics to start off our day. At about 9:40, we divided into three groups and headed out for Cano Dulce to help make concrete speed bumps, cement a bathroom, and paint a house for a well-known community member.
We are getting the hard labor out of the way first, thank goodness!! 🙂 While making concrete for speed bumps, all of us in my group talked, laughed, and got to know each other pretty well. I think I finally know everyone’s names! At around noon, we had a lunch break and then switched stations with other groups. Mine got to go paint, sorry to the groups who had to concrete twice today lol. Painting was really sweaty (but fun) as we listened to music and talked more while we did it. After about 2 hours of that, we all got together again to take a community tour of Cano Dulce. It was a really interesting and eye-opening experience, as the people, children, and dogs are all so friendly and welcoming when we come into their community.
We got another (short) taste of air conditioning on our way back to home base, then did swimming tests and had some free time to shower and finally get all of the gross stuff off of us J. Dinner was good, then we played an icebreaker to get to know each other better. The lesson of the day, The Seven Elements of Human Security, was really interesting and educational. Even though it’s only our first real day here, I can tell all of us are going to enjoy ourselves whilst learning a lot of new things. I can’t wait for the rest of the trip, I think it’s going to be a really fun time. Also, I love you mom!!! J
-Danielle, Samantha, Audrey
Tuesday July 31, 2018
Hola Padres & Familia
Checking in are the leaders of the day, Lucy A., Noelle, Clara, Sierra.
Today everyone woke up with the amazing wake up call of Clara saying “wakey wakey eggs and bac-y”. After eating the delicious desayuno, we walked to “Las Canas”. We were there to contribute and work with local masons to provide a space for a soon to be family. A mother and a father started building a house 2 years ago but couldn’t finish because of lack of resources, and we came to lend them a hand to finish the cement flooring. This is beneficial because it helps stop the spreading of diseases, such as scabies and many respiratory illnesses and rashes. A few hours of moderately intense sweating later, we walked back to home base. Most of us promptly hopped in the pool upon returning, and shortly after we headed out to see the ocean. There we collected rocks, shells, and and the most mild of sunburns. We were greeted with incredible food after the beach including but not limited to, rice, curry-esque soup, fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, avocados, broccoli and cauliflower. Following this fantastic meal, we eloquently enter a heated debate centering the rights of property, profit, and life and how they play a role in the health of a nation. Now we are here, left in conversation, preparing for bed.
Wednesday August 1, 2018
Day 4 in the DR, started out with an extra hour of sleep! We had a leisure breakfast followed by a clinic presentation. We then took a trip to Sabaneta to tour a clinic and learn about a day in the life of Dr. Pena. Through this process and a Q&A, we got to learn more about an average local clinic in the DR and how it contrasts clinics elsewhere in the world. When we got back to the lodge, we had some free time and either went to the beach or relaxed by the pool. Soon after, Dr. Pena came to the lodge and taught us how to correctly use different medical tools to take vitals. We then practiced our skills during a simulation clinic. After an amazing meal of TACOOOOOS we had an interesting lecture about the relationship between the DR and Haiti, and even had a guest speaker, Lubens, come and answer our questions. Finally, we had our mentor groups and headed to bed!
P.S. Today is the day that everyone had successfully passed their first bowel movement, thanks to beans and papaya!
Nuray, Ellie S, and Madison
Thursday August 2, 2018
Hello from the Dominican Republic!
Today could not be described as anything less than an adventure. The day began with breakfast and a scenic bus ride to Dudu Lagoon. With a little convincing, the majority of us took a plunge of 35 feet off the zip line into the clear, blue freshwater. Dudu consisted of cave explorations, zip lines, soccer with local children, and WIFI!! (finally)
After lunch we said goodbye to the beautiful Lagoon and hello to la playa! We laughed in the waves, bought local jewelry, and soaked up the sun. We felt VERY fancy drinking a piña colada out of a pineapple on the beach. Afterwards we were exhausted, so a short nap on the way home was well needed.
Back at the lodge, we dove deep into a lecture about the impacts of NGOs and a conversation involving poverty and “doing good.” We attempted to answer the question, “How can we help most effectively?” All of us were moved tonight, and we each gained a new perspective on international aid.
Bye mom! Miss you 🙂
Michaela, Sara, and Cate
PS: PINEAPPLE IS AMAZING HERE
Friday August 3, 2018
Just survived Day 6 in the DR!!
This morning we all came to breakfast ready to go because we had to leave earlier then usual to go to El Bronx. After a 45-minute bus ride we arrived to set up our medical brigade. We all had different assigned roles such as registration, vitals, clinical interviews, doctor consultations, pharmacy and data transcription. At 12 we took turns to take a lunch break at “El colmado,” the corner store.
Then we switched roles and worked hard for a couple more hours until we reached patient 81. Helping us out today, we had a translator named Junior who could speak English, Spanish, and Creole. He is also practicing his British accent so that he can be fluent in a fourth language! We then headed back to the lodge and enjoyed our free time relaxing by the pool with our our super photogenic dog, Ernie. We all love his kisses (especially those who miss their puppies at home).
We had a delicious dinner of lasagna, fried plantains, salad, potatoes, and as always, delicious fruit. After dinner, Guillermo gave a lecture on environmental security. We learned about the different effects of climate change and watched an interesting video called “The Story of Stuff.” Once the video concluded, we headed to our mentor groups to discuss the day and our capstone projects. To conclude the day, we headed to dance class where we learned “bachata” and “merengue” where many of us learned to shake our hips in ways we never thought possible. Now we are ready to head to sleep with sore muscles and tired minds.
Almost halfway there,
Bryn, Lucy, and Emilia
Saturday August 4, 2018
Hey friends and family,
We started our day with a delcious breakfast consisting of eggs, fresh fruit, toast, and the well loved frosted flakes. We then loaded the bus and headed back to El Bronx to work on their community center. We used plastic bottles to insulate their walls, making their center much cooler. After the bottles were set in place, we used a cement technique called “empaneta.” This finished off their walls smoothly. Mid day, we stopped for a well deserved lunch break of nachos and, as always, fresh fruit. After lunch, we worked until 3:00 then headed back to the lodge.
At the lodge, we spent our free time taking long showers trying to get all the cement out of our hair and off our skin. We also made friendship bracelets and hungout with our new friends in the common area, while stretching out and doing yoga with one of our team leaders. We then enjoyed a dinner of fish, rice, peas, salad and fresh fruit. After dinner, we headed down to the beach to watch the sunset.
After watching the sunset, we enjoyed Hilary’s lecture on Food Security. It was very eye opening and many of us may be coming home vegan…;) We then had a nice talk with our mentor groups about the previous week and what we want to make out of our last week here. We cannot believe we are already halfway through our program! We miss our families yet do not want to leave our GLA family.
Ellie H, Grace, and Jackson
Sunday August 5, 2018
Jake, Sidd, and Kendall sliding into the blog, today, we re visited Cano Dulce and painted bathrooms and concreted the floors. We also went to Johnny’s bee farm, where we sampled honey fresh off the wax, then we went to get icecream, from Bon. Then we enjoyed our ride home in air conditioning, a very rare occurrence here in the DR. After coming back from the ice cream shop, we participated in a leadership activity, that taught us the traits that comprise a great leader. After, during mentor groups we discussed our cap stone projects, and stargazed (Guillermo’s mentor group). After that, we hit the zzz’z. (BTW Kendall xoxoxoxoxo to parents)
Monday August 6, 2018
On our free day, we went to a Zoo where we saw local Dominican animals such as a Komodo Dragon, a Tarantula, and a fully grown Crocodile. We adventured down the Yasica river to where the river met the Atlantic Ocean. At the bed of the river, we jumped off the rustic, traditional Dominican boats into the water and spent time there swimming and bonding. Later we ate lunch at a nearby grill where they served traditional Dominican foods, and we drank refreshing Pina Colada’s and Coco Loco’s. We retreated back to the beach and spent the rest of our time there relaxing and getting to know one another better. On our boat ride back, we got to see wind surfers showing off their cool tricks and experience our first rainfall of the trip.
Tuesday August 7, 2018
Hey Mom and Dad!
We had the best day ever today! We began with the first day of Vitamin Distribution. We gave vitamins to children and expecting mothers. We got to see common health problems (like malnutrition) in the DR, practice our Spanish, take vitals, and hand out vitamins.
Then, our mentors surprised us with a trip to the beach! The sand was SO HOT, and the water was so clear! After the beach, we got to stop by the supermarket where we all stocked up on snacks… maybe too many snacks;)
We arrived home at the lodge where we ate dinner, then listened to a lecture about Health Security in developing countries. Javier educated us on the importance of education to prevent disease, limit injury, and help improve personal health. Later, we broke into mentor groups to work on our capstone projects. When we finished working on our capstone, we ended our day with a movie night!
We’re pretty tired, so goodnight!
Lily, Cate, and Lucy
Today was a very exciting day! It was the first water filter distribution of the summer. We woke up early and came to breakfast ready to go. After breakfast we assigned jobs for the water distribution- ticket collection, filter assembly, taping instructions onto the filters, and data transcription. We loaded up onto the bus and headed to El Bronx. When we got to El Bronx we split into our mentor groups and headed off into different sections of the community to complete diagnostics. During diagnostics, we went to different houses and asked questions such as how many kids do you have, what source of water do you use, and what do you use the water for. The answers to the questions were assigned different point values. In order to receive a water filter, a total score of 14 points was required.
The people that met the requirements were given a ticket to come to an education session later in the day. After a long, sweaty morning, we headed to lunch were we ate NACHOS!!!! It was a delicious meal (a crowd favorite) and to make it better there was the cutest kitten on the planet that we got to play with. After lunch we attended the education session where the community members were taught the proper care for their filters. We assembled and distributed the filters to 14 families, providing them with clean water for the next 10 years!!!
After returning to the home base, we had free time that we spent making bracelets and swimming in the pool. Dinner was amazing- potatoes, rice, eggplant, salad, lots of fruit, and lemonade. We ate a lot and then we had a very interesting lecture with another group staying at the lodge called Summer Search. The lecture was about ethics, voluntourism, and how to ensure we are being respectful of cultural norms. Now we are stargazing and enjoying our second to last night together L L L It was a great day and we can’t wait for tomorrow.
Lucy J, Clara, Emilia