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Monday June 11, 2018
Everyone has arrived! After 3 airport pickups, we decided to pick Miles up. Everyone’s excited to be at the lodge and to start working on a water project first thing tomorrow!
Tuesday June 12, 2018
Today we put our strengths to the test by digging trenches for five hours. Even though the three locals made more progress than all 11 students, we worked really hard in the sun all day. We ate lunch with the locals which everyone loved! Miles thrived with the shovel from his snow shoveling experience. Helen made lots of progress with the pick-ax while Ali and Elizabeth excelled in rake holding. Isabel used her Spanish speaking skills to communicate with some of the locals. Molly and Callia made the courageous decision to wear pants while working. Danielle’s favorite part of the day was “I’m glad moving the dirt around the road is over.” Emily’s favorite part of the day, “digging trenches at Polanco was draining, but it was satisfying and worth it in the end.” After working we went straight to the pool to rake our swim test. Luckily we all passed in the pool! We played lots of swim games. Most of us winded down for a nap while others went to the beach. Now we’re all waiting for dinner. It just started to rain which will cool things down. After dinner we have a lesson and tomorrow we will visitar a clínica!
By: Ryan and Viv
Wednesday June 13, 2018
Today we woke up to the sound of roosters and had mashed potatoes (and more) for breakfast. It was a day of seeing and trying new things. After breakfast we learned about the Dominican healthcare system, then we visited a clínica to see what we had learned in action. After a lunch of rice, pork, avocado, and fruits we took a trip to the beach and put our feet in the clear blue water. We then learned more to prepare us for our medical brigade day tomorrow.
Currently we are sitting under the palm tree roof of the dining room area as we write this blog. Lizards scamper across the ceiling beams, and the enticing aroma of dinner mingles with the ocean breeze. We are so excited to step into the shoes of Dominican doctors tomorrow and continue to learn about Global Health as it relates to Dominican culture! Hasta Mañana!
–Isabel y Danielle
Thursday June 14, 2018
This morning we woke up at 5:45 to see the sunrise on the beach. It was pretty but a little cloudy. Today we worked at a brigade clínica in the Haitian batey called severe. We went through a rotation of registration, interview, vitals, waiting, consultation, and pharmacy. There were a total of about 25-30 patients. On the way back we stopped at a grocery store with A/C and it was awesome! Overall it was a good day!
-by Elizabeth and Molly
Friday June 15, 2018
Today we went to Laguna Gri Gri. We took a boat tour through caves and mangroves. We finished the tour at a beach where we spent the rest of the day swimming and snorkeling in the clear, blue water. Lots of us got corn rows from a local at the beach. We ate fried chicken for lunch and drank piña coladas in pineapples and coconuts (virgin of course) while a man serenaded us with his guitar. We found a sand dollar while snorkeling in the coral reefs. We met some local kids on the beach that swam with us.
“I spent most of my time tanning, and I got sunburnt. Sorry mom!”-Alli
We ended the day with ice cream and headed back to the lodge to relax. At dinner, Viv laughed so hard that she snorted three times. We are looking forward to our next adventure: the Caño Dulce bathroom and bottle house.
Alli and Emily
Saturday June 16, 2018
Callia and Helen speaking!
Started off with a hearty oatmeal breakfast, along with our trusty pineapple (which we have at every meal). Once we reached our service site, known as caño dulce, our job was to build a bottle house bathroom. It took a lot of determination and strengths to hike up the hill with all our supplies and an extremely large roll of chicken wire, which caused a few bumps and bruises. We reached the bathroom of the woman we are building it for. She kindly bestowed the group some mangoes to snack on while working. We conjured up quite a sweat hammering and attaching wire to posts and organizing bottle for insulation. Additionaly, we attempted to dig a 6 foot hole for the septic tank. Pecking around us were some odd looking chicken, which we watched while eating our chicken meal (Plus pineapple of course). Once we arrived back at the lodge, we chilled at the pool and jammed out to music. Next, we bought candies at the shop, following a Spanish lesson from our favorite instructors. It was definitely nice to decompress after a long fulfilling day.
Sunday June 17, 2018
Today our group got up bright and early to eat breakfast! After breakfast, we prepared for our trip to the local market. We separated into 3 groups and attempted to ask for directions only in Spanish which was much easier for some compared to others. Each group was successful with buying three plantains for dinner. Then we left for Polanco to dig those trenches again with less progress than was made the first day. We all chatted and prácticas our Spanish with the locals. We ate a lovely lunch at one of the locals’ houses and then continued digging. Since UV rays are higher here, we ended our work day a little early. We walked up a hill on a mini hike and looked at a beautiful view. We walked back down to the bus and rode back to the lodge. Some of us jumped in the pool while others napped. Then we ate dinner (which was fish instead of chicken!!!!) All in all, it was a 10/10 day! 🙂
-Ryan & Miles
Monday June 18, 2018
Today we went back to Caño Dulce for the second time. We enjoyed the cooler weather and kept a positive vibe during our hard work! Our hole for the septic tank was originally 3ft when we started and then we ended at 5ft! It was the bomb.com! We had some trouble hammering planks of wood because they split, but eventually we snagged a few.
Some quotes from the day:
“My hand fan saved the day,” a quote from Isabel, whose hello Kitty fan chilled us all out.
“Even thought I split the wood 2 times, I never split my pants!” says Allie.
We had a great time today! See you all in 5 days!
-Love Helen and Viv
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Today we woke to a little taste of home when Nutella was served with breakfast. We then learned how to make tostones, a classic Dominican plantain treat, for our day trip to the Yasica River. At the river, before our boat ride, we got to snap some pics of iguanas, tarántulas, and even a chicken-eating crocodile! We then took a relaxing boat ride through the mangroves until we reached a beautiful stretch of beach. We swam in the pretty blue water and had garlic chicken and piña coladas (virgin of course) for lunch.
After our long day at the beach we got to go to a local ice cream shop! After our leadership seminar tonight we are looking forward to putting our skills to good use tomorrow while mixing cement in a Dominican batey. We are having so much fun but cant wait to see you all in a few days and share about all of our adventure!
-Danielle and Isabel
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Today we traveled 2 hours to La Grúa and mixed cement for the first time. We we’re making a cement floor for an older man Who happened to be undergoing dialysis. It took all our Blood, sweat, and tears but we got through it. We we’re helped out by a local man Who came armed with great music and some sick dance moves. After our hard work, Michaela and Katherine broke out the cheese and chips for a delicious Nacho lunch. Thankfully, today we were protected from the hot Dominican sun by the surounding mango trees. On the way back we stopped at our favorite (Air conditioned) grocery store to stock up on ice cream and m&ms. Looking forward to our last few days in the DR!
-Miles and Callia
Thursday June 21, 2018
Today we went back to Caño Dulce to finish the bathroom. We mixed cement for the second day in a row and then plastered it on to the walls. We took a break and had rice, beans, chicken, and pineapple for lunch. After chatting for a little, we got back to work!
No one fell in the hole we were digging, but Ryan fell to the ground laughing. Local kids from Caño Dulce would come see the worksite, and a local dog too (we named him Paco). After returning to the lodge, some of us went swimming, then we showered to get the cement off our hands. For dinner, we had boneless fried chicken, fried, sweet plantains, fruit, and really good juice. Looking forward to distributing vitamins tomorrow!
-Emily and Molly
Friday June 22, 2018
Today was our last work day! We got the chance to sleep in until 8:30! Ryan ran. We went to school to run a vitamin distribution. We got through 60 patients! Callia and Isabel worked at registration, Emily, Molly, and Helen worked at vitals and dealt with lots of crying babies. Ryan, Danielle, Viv, and Elizabeth worked at interview and used lots of Spanish! Finally, Allí and Miles worked at the pharmacy section and sorted gummies. When we got back to homebase everyone fell asleep. Ryan and Viv went to the beach and did some meditation while everyone else refused to wake up. We had our second debate tonight, dinner, and a charla! We are all excited for our day tomorrow at the lagoon!
-Viv and Ryan
It is strange how when the program starts, time seems to move at a snail’s pace. Then, as we move through the weeks, time starts flying and I can no longer remember what day of the week it is.
This summer is the first time that I have ever been a part of something like GLA/7 Elements. I never went away to a summer camp as a kid or volunteered in a foreign country as a teen. I have also never been responsible 24/7 for a group of teenagers for two weeks straight. I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this job, but I am glad I was able to spend the start of the summer with a perfect group.
I feel very fortunate that for my first time having this experience, I was gifted with the GHI-B group, made up of 11 brilliant, fun, and hardworking students. I am so happy that I had the chance to learn from them and grow with them as we experienced so many new adventures together as they moved through the global health program. Each student made a lasting impact on me and really set the bar impossibly high for every group that follows.
To all GHI-B, thank you for an amazing two weeks! I loved learning about each of you as individuals and seeing how successful you were when you joined forces as a group.
Miles, thank you for being such a trooper. I’m sure it wasn’t easy being the only boy in the group but you embraced the challenge and totally crushed it. You set an excellent example for the others for what hard work really looks like! (You are also the best rap lip-syncer I know!)
Viv, thank you for always being understanding, level-headed and kind. You have a beautiful spirit and I loved your dedication to everything you attempted. You did an amazing job and you are hilarious, so I was always cracking up.
Molly, you are so brave and willing to try new things. I love your adventurous spirit, willingness to voice your opinions to the group, and how fearless you were when you were the first person to take on the 35ft drop into the lagoon. Also, your dark sense of humor is so funny to me!
Isabel, it is really amazing to me how confident and comfortable you are in your own skin. I love that you are so willing to dance and sing as if no one is watching. Thank you for being so helpful and kicking butt at all of the brigades.
Helen, thank you for always being able to dish out jokes and take them too! You were a great leader and I really appreciated how consistent you always are. I always knew that I could count on you for good work and 100% effort.
Alli, thank you for 2 weeks full of laughter and stories! I love how self-aware and introspective you are. You are a wonderful person, full of insight and with a heart of gold.
Ryan, talking with you was like talking to a very witty and intelligent adult. You have powerful thoughts, great ideas, and a remarkable point of view. I really love your sense of humor and the way you could brighten other people’s days (after you had your coffee).
Emily, you have a very strong will and aren’t afraid to vocalize your views to the group. I was really impressed with how fast you work things out in your mind and how quickly you can come up with solutions and make adjustments as needed.
Callia, you are such a genuine and sweet person. I loved being around your positive energy and it was so nice to always see your smiling face. Thank you for being so wonderful and always having a willingness to learn.
Liz, I really loved all your funny faces and I loved it even more when you didn’t know you were making them. You worked incredibly hard at work sites, really helped to keep others motivated, and provided back up as needed. Thank you for always being so effortlessly generous and nice.
Danielle, thank you for always keeping the laughs going. Your laugh is infectious and I really enjoyed getting to know you as you became more and more outgoing with us. Thanks for making the two weeks to entertaining and letting us see all the pics/videos of you know who! I’ll be waiting for my real housewive’s shoutout!