Time Capsule Letter
¡Hola GLA Global Citizens!
I’m sure you all miss falling asleep to the sounds of nature (or pounding Reggaeton music til 3 in the morning), or waking up to sounds of cows mooing and hens cock-a-doodle-do-ing. Or waking up to the sweet melody of your top bunk roomie’s alarm clock going off for 10 minutes straight. How about our delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, cereal and toast every morning? Or the smell of bug spray and sunscreen blowing into our cabins by a rare but much needed breeze?
Ohh, I know we all miss when the water pressure would go weak mid-shower because everyone else is also showering off the cement from their legs. Then, there is always the good old shower companion that startles you when you catch a glimpse of the lizard or frog on the wall! Ahh, yes… the many nights spent trapping giant spiders in a plate and a bowl. Oh the joys of cabin life! But it’s these little quirks that allowed us all to bond so quickly in just 14 days!
When we weren’t running around screaming our heads off from harmless bugs, we were swimming in the refreshing pool, cooling off from a hard days work at service. Or sitting in the back pavilion chatting away with all of our new friends after a trip to the gift shop for snacks. We ate the best rice, beans, and fruit in the world, roasted marshmallows by the bonfire while stargazing, and built sandcastles with the softest sand! Instead of being on our phones, we played UNO and capture the flag, and danced bachata and merengué.
We went to so many beautiful beaches, swam in crystal clear ocean water, lagoons and caves! We haggled prices with local vendors and got our hair braided— shout out to all the boys! We embarked on a catamaran boat ride to our beautiful snorkeling destination and saw vibrant colored fish swimming below us. And don’t forget the memorable boat ride in Río de Yásica, where we took mud bathes and painted Brayan with black sand. We experienced the most beautiful sunsets which painted the sky pink, orange, and purple, before learning about global issues like voluteerism ethics or global infectious diseases.
Like many who visit the Dominican Republic, we enjoyed delicious beverages while relaxing in the sun, with our toes in the sand. But our experience was much more than that, our experience will live on in our hearts, our experience was unique and empowering. We sweat like we’ve never sweat before carrying buckets of water and cement up the hill on water tank days. We interviewed hundreds of local Dominicans about their aches and pains and were able to give them medical treatment they might not have received had we not traveled to that remote community. We traveled here to learn about WHO the Domincan Republic is.
We witnessed a different way of living as local families in rural and small communities welcomed us into their homes and shared their stories with us. We saw the struggles and strides that people in the DR face daily. We get to leave the DR with so much more then a sun tan. Our local Director, Loubens, shared with us the difficulties that Haitian people in the Dominican Republic face everyday. Johnny, the bee-keeper, informed us that he became a honey-maker because that was what he knew how to do and also, that there wasn’t much work elsewhere (and that bee stings are his medicine!). Nicolesa expressed her gratitude to us and explained how having a bathroom would change her and her family’s life.
Our hearts and minds feel full and inspired to continue to learn about global issues and take action. We learned about how we allow inequality into our everyday lives and how people from all over the world are given different opportunities based on the color of their skin or the place in which they were born.
We learnt how to become Global Citizens of the world and how to contribute to global issues. Remember your goal of informing others of global issues and participating in service to your community on a local level.
We hope you all feel empowered to make changes in these systems. Although you are home now, surrounded by all of your comforts, we hope you continue to travel and gain a worldly view. Continue to educate and inspire those around you. We hope you always carry an open mind and an open heart.
Thank you for making this experience everything that it was! You have inspired and taught us along the way and we hope that you continue to BE THE CHANGE that you want to see in this world!
I love my team!! GHI, GHI!!
Olivia, Naomi, Brayan, Andréa, MG, Loubens, Halle
Saturday July 13, 2019
Hola from the Dominican Republic!
All 31 of our Global Health Initiatve students have made it safe and sound to our beautiful beachside homebase! Students were greeted by our in country team and tons of fresh fruit upon arrival!
After settling in and exploring our new home away from home, we had a traditional Dominican style dinner called, “la bandera,” which includes rice, beans, chicken and veggies!
As our first night comes to a close we are all falling asleep to the sounds of giggles between newly made friends, the distant crash of waves hitting the shore and the woosh of a fan cooling down our cabins.
We can’t wait for all the fun that will follow in the upcoming days together and are excited by the anticipated impact that we will have on the public health of the community that we have joined for the next two weeks.
Check back soon to learn more about our first day of service and our first full day in paradise!
GLA Program Mentor
Sunday July 14, 2019
Today we visited the village of Caña Dulce. We split up into groups to utilize our time to get the most done and to learn how to properly organize everything. The different groups were an assembly line up carrying up supplies like buckets of water, rocks, and sand. Another group was creating concrete to help the local people cement the cinderblocks for the towns water tower.
The third group was digging a trench for the water tower to flow. The last group was digging a latrine for a family to have plumbing. We all got a chance to work in each group and all got a chance to start making some connections with some of the locals on the community. Today we all gained teamwork skills and a lot of knowledge about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness, highlighting water access and bathroom sanitation. After a lot of sweat and hard work we were able to come back to home base and cool off in the pool.
Hi Mom,Dad, and Carla! BLEHHHHHH!!!! -Tina
Hi Mom, Dad, Julian, and Rosie!!!! I LOVE U -Camilla
Leaders of the day: Christina and Camilla
Monday July 15, 2019
Clinic Visit and Training
Today we woke up and had yet another delicious breakfast. We then took a 20ish minute drive to “Janet’s” super market. There kids were able to re-stalk on snacks and treats or whatever else they needed. Janet’s had a bag check so we didn’t bring our bags in. The store was very big and had a lot of American products in it. We the proceeded to the clinic after our shopping was done.
When we got back to home base we got changed and hung out wherever we wanted to. We then did training for the brigade. We learned how to take vitals, such as temperature, weight, and height all in Spanish. Then after dinner we learned about different types of human security and went to bed.
-Tara Cumiskey & Ana Sofia Harrison
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Today after a great breakfast we split into two groups to do two community service activities.
One group of 16 GLA students walked to a house at Las Canas to build a bathroom and a latrine. We got a quick demonstration about how we were going to build the bathroom and the advantages of using plastic bottles in the walls. These advantages included adding insulation so that the inside would be warmer when it was cold out and cold when it was warm out. It also uses a resource that is plentiful since the local tap water is not drinkable and they must use the plastic bottles.
We used sweet wire to help the plastic bottles in place and used chicken wire in either side to close in the bottles making sure to not let any bubbles in. Meanwhile, while half were working on the bathroom, the other half worked to dig out a 6x7ft hole in order to serve as a latrine for the family’s bathroom that was being constructed. The group going there tomorrow will finish putting the bottles in the wall and start putting rough concrete on the walls.
On the other hand the second group worked at a clinic in the town Reunion. We split up into four groups, three kids working at registration, three at the interviews, five doing vitals, one scribing for the doctor and three working in the pharmacy. Everyone worked very hard and for a long time to achieve getting through a total of 43 patients, all leaving with the medicine they needed! After a long, hot day at the clinic everyone rested on the long bus ride home to come back to the hotel and enjoy pool time with the other group and a great dinner.
Your leaders of the day, liv, Jonas and Kenyon
We’re having a great time here the DR, miss you Dad, Mom, Toby and Emma! -Jonas
Hi mom, dad and Jimmossss. Love you and miss you – liv
Hi mom and dad! – Kenyon
Wednesday July 17, 2019
Today, many of the boys and Hillary dug out more of the drainage pit. Unfortunately, a large rainfall washed in what seemed to be countless gallons of water. To add to the issues the dirt piles blocked runoff water from draining away. While Hillary worked on removing the water from the pit, the boys dug a canal around the house to drain the water out of the construction area. Eventually, everything was running smoothly and a lot of progress was made.
Meanwhile, a big group of us worked on the insulated bathroom walls. Plastic bottles were arranged in between chicken wire (maya) and sweet wire (alambrae). We used nails called grampas and pulled the chicken wire tightly over the bottles and hammered it in place. Once the skeleton of each wall was finished, we started cementing the inside and outside of the bathroom. Between the mud from the rain and the cement, we all got very dirty. We worked for about 4 hours and had some well deserved free time afterwards.
The other half of the group went to work in the clinic. We split up into different stations so the day would run smoothly. These stations were registration, taking vitals, clinical interviews with patients, shadowing the doctor, and working in the pharmacy. As the day slowed down, some of us went to play basketball. Some local kids ended up joining the fun and demonstrated their skills as they showed us up!!!
Hi! Mom, Dad, Chiara, Stella, and Rachel! Miss you!
Hi Mom, Dad, Gypsy, and Dolly. Miss you guys !
Hi! Mom, Dad, Spencer, Buffy, Gamo, and Pop! I love and miss you all so much!
Thursday July 18, 2019
This morning, we started the day with a yoga session. We performed sun salutations and did a calming meditation. Then we had breakfast and left home base at 10 for our excursion. We drove to the rio Yaisica and took a beautiful boat ride down the river. We arrived later at the beach where the fresh and salt water mixed. It was gorgeous, on one side of the beach we could see the ocean and the other side was the river where we swam. We swam for two hours, some people tanned while other played games in the water. The girls also had a little photoshoot while the boys explored the land. For lunch, we walked down the beach to the restaurant. If we wanted we could order piña coladas and eat from the buffet!
Hi mom, dad, and carter! I love you! -Nicole
Friday July 19, 2019
Today we were woken up by rain however by breakfast time it had stopped. For breakfast we had bread, oatmeal, fruit, frosted flakes, granola and hot chocolate. My group and group 4 went to the bathroom site. We got a lot done, only 3 more panels to cement and the 6 foot hole for sewage was finished and Hilary, Tina, Catherine and Angle, along with later John, Gabe and few of the local kids had to clear a path from the giant pile of mud. For lunch we had chicken, rice, beans, fruit and salad.
After lunch a few of the students got to hangout with a few of the local kids, and got some photos with them (of course with their parents permission). The local kids are not only very smart with some speaking more than one language, but are very strong. After a beautiful walk back on the beach to home base, we had free time before dinner (no pool today 🙁 ). For dinner we had mac and cheese, potatoes, chicken, vegetables, fruits and pineapple juice. Then we got to watch the sunset from the beach, which was beautiful. Everyone got tons of photos of the amazing landscape.
After the beach walk, we had a lecture about infectious diseases and did a cool activity showing how infectious diseases spread. We are officially halfway through the program, which is insane but time flies when your having fun. I miss Canada my friends and family, as well as hockey, but if they are reading this, just know I have bought some pretty unique things to bring home for y’all. Peace out.
Saturday July 20, 2019
After a delicious breakfast made up of cereal, toast, hot chocolate and more we split into two groups to complete community work. During our visit to the house in Las Canas, we continued to work on the bathroom and the latrine. We split up into groups in which half of us were mixing smooth cement using sifted sand, water, and concrete mix. While one group focused on making the cement, the other group spent the day plastering the cement on the walls of the bathroom.
While groups one and three worked at the medical brigade our group divided into different stations. The patients first went to registration, where we would take their name, date of birth, age, and gender. Next the patients went through an interview process where we identified their medical history with questions about diabetes, hypertension, allergies, medication and reason for their visit.
After the interview patients were guided to the vital station. When vitals were taken, the patients would see the doctor The doctor would examine, create a diagnosis and prescribe medication. Lastly, the patient would receive medication at the pharmacy. The entire process is free! We ended up helping a total of 44 patients today.
Hi Mom, Dad, Maana, Maalav, and Avant and everone else!! I love and miss you guys so much! -Shayna
Hi Mom, Dad, Fallon, Melody, Samantha, and everyone else! I love and miss you all! -Angel
Hey Mom, Dad, Logan, and Margie!! Love and miss you!! See ya soon! -Libby
July 21, 2019
The day started out quite normal. Breakfast, normally served at 8, was at 9, meaning the volunteers had a little more sleep. After finishing breakfast we were told that there would be a surprise waiting for us after the project.
Around 10, we went again to the water tank (the first time being exactly one week ago). We did a lot of the same as the first time; building up the water tank on top of the hill for the community.
Volunteers dug trenches, passed materials for cement up the hill, and then mixed the ingredients for concrete. The sun and wasps (which attacked the trench diggers most often) somewhat hindered us. In spite of that, we managed to make more concrete for the masons and expanded a bit more of the trench for today.
As we finished around 2:10, we didn’t go directly to home base but instead to the local beekeeper, Johnny. Johnny’s beehives were a little walk from the village. He had perhaps thousands of busy worker bees in each of his hive boxes which could make a gallon of money depending on the season. Later, we ate some crackers with the honey made from there.
Finally, as we rode back, we discovered the true nature of the surprise- ice cream! A dozen flavors were available: Vanilla to chocolate chip and rum raisin. It took a while for all the orders to be placed, but in the end, it was worth it.
Tomorrow, we go swimming.
Love you mama and papa!
Today, we had an adventurous excursion. In the morning, we woke up, ate a delicious breakfast, and left for our adventure, the lagoon. At the lagoon, there were many interesting things to do. Many people chose to go to one side of the lagoon, where we would jump off a platform into the water. Other activities were volleyball and a deep lagoon. Also, there were interesting caves that we could explore.
Later in the day, after a tasty lunch, we went to Playa Preciosa, an interesting and beautiful place. We swam in the water and bought goods from local vendors. Many people bought things from bracelets to necklaces to wooden turtles. We then returned to the lodge and watched the sunset from the beach. Overall, we had an exciting day.
I love and miss you mama, papa, vasya, and tima. -Julian
Leaders of the day: Julian and Alexa