Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Cavo’s house is built, local children are playing on the playground in the Los Brazos school, and the children of Batey La Union are living healthy lifestyles. These things only happened because of you and the work that you did during your time here in the Dominican Republic.
It’s totally amazing for me to think back to those dreadfully hot days in July when we were starting these projects. Not only were you all catalysts for change in the communities, but you also left a lasting impact here. Every time I walk past the blue colmado before the street, the Donya tells me that ‘she has fresh empanadas for the group of ladies.” The director at the Los Brazos school, keeps asking me to “bring the girls back to paint because they were faster than anybody else could be.”
I challenge you to take these experiences to heart. Know that you, indeed, made a change in the world and that this can continue. Use what you have learned about responsible, sustainable aid to fuel your passion and fight injustice and lapses in human security. Without a doubt my most entertaining group, use this power of performance to your advantage. Remember, no more bandaids! And, above all continue to be exceptional global citizens. Understand the vitality and ubiquity of health as a global issue and how interconnected the solutions are.
It would be out of character for me not to insert some sort of sappy 90s TV reference, so, in the words of Miss Frizzle from the magic school bus, “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy!”
Wishing you all the best,
The GLA & 7E Team
Summer Blog Posts
July 5 – Day one is complete!
After a long day of traveling, we have all arrived at the home base safely. From the airport, we took a beautiful drive to the home base. Our bus was jam packed with all our GLA students. We spent time poolside getting to know each other before dinner. We had a wonderful meal prepared by our lovely chefs of rice, beans, chicken and lots of fruits and vegetables. We are all having a good time getting to know each other and are excited for tomorrow’s activities!
Kourtney and Donna
July 7, 2016
Today we started building Cavo’s house. The house that we are working on is made of bottles and we are assisted by community members of all ages. We made a lot of progress on the main house in the morning. After, we had a lunch of Chicken, Rice and corn, broccoli, fried plantains, and other fruits. After lunch, we made a lot of progress with the kitchen and got to spend time with many of the children of the community. Later in the afternoon, we had a ‘culture surprise’ that consisted of watching a local make queso empanadas and speak to local fisherman about their contribution to the community. During our free time, a large group of us headed across the street to the beach and spent time in the waves before we showered and got ready for dinner. For dinner we had a delicious array of Caribbean food such as fish and rice and beans. After dinner, our group participated in a water activity that showed how different communities need to ration water in certain ways which was very eye opening. Finally, we had a leadership lecture that covered how to communicate our goals with the people around us. Overall, today was a very productive day and has insured that we will all sleep well tonight!
Aurora, Valentina, and Nancy
July 8th, 2016
Today was a blast! We experienced an adventure at La Playa Alicia and snorkeling at a beautiful reef. After seeing the variety of exquisite fish, we explored the festive shops. Us alpha girls bargained real well. We enjoyed Dominican pizza for lunch as we relaxed under the breezy palms. Fue MUY deliciouso! The water was crystal clear and a perfect temperature. Later we had a little bit of free time, which we used to swim in the pool and share our life stories with each other which included why we choose this trip and what we want to expect in the future. Dinner was another version of our American food with a Dominican Republic twist. Our post dinner lecture was of a documentary of how to assist those who need help on how to become a sustainable community without outside help. Hasta LaVista!!!!
Embrace the adventure!
– Jesse Damm, Charlotte Dudley, Jaeden Cowell
July 9, 2016
Today was a long one, but our new puppy friend Tank and the homemade lunch helped replenish our spirits. Between mixing concrete, water and sand, nailing bolts into mesh fencing with rocks, and stuffing bottles into walls, we managed to learn the merengue (in the rain) from the local children in the neighborhood as well as fall in love with the local animals. Throughout the day, three girls ended up “wives” of a young boy named Julio and Hallie face planted into the mud. Lunch consisted of chicken, rice and beans, a meal we have yet to tire of. Several times many of us had to use the restroom, but this meant we had to use the local restroom. It was made of a concrete floor with fabricated walls consisting of scrap metal and old blankets. We squatted over a concrete hole in the floor. This was very different to the toilets we are accustomed to in the United States.
Proceeding our tough morning, we walked to another part of Las Canas for our cultural activity. We visited the wife and family of the only pastor in town, where she taught us how she makes coconut cookies, and runs the family business. We then proceeded to a local bakery where we ate Dominican style mozzarella sticks. It’s been lit home skillets.
Lindsi Peters, Theresa Landi, Hallie Dezio
July 10, 2016
Today was our last day working at Cavo’s house. We finished cementing the entire kitchen, bottling the rest of the house, and began digging the hole for the latrine. As a gesture of his appreciation, Cavo brought us fresh coconuts to drink from. Our cultural surprise of the day was a demonstration by a local doña on how to make fresh Dominican popsicles. The popsicles were made from water, sugar, and whatever fruit is in season, which was tamarind for us. We headed back to the home base for free time and research time for our capstone projects. The free time was well spent at the beach, pool, and catching some zzz’s. Tonight, we had a goal setting discussion with Cam and an insightful video about the day in and day out of “normal life” and choosing to have a positive mindset. The video was a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace called “This Is Water” and prepared us well for our hiking adventure tomorrow morning!
Brenna Daugherty, Maddie Paas, Shelby Wiggs
July 11, 2016
Today we conquered Mt. Brison! All together we hiked 6.4 miles with a beautiful view the whole way up. Although it was hot, everybody managed to keep a positive attitude. Once we reached the top, we saw a magnificent view and were greeted by the locals with lunch and ice cream. On the way down there were quite a few spills (Nancy, Kourtney, Grace) but all is well and we were able to refresh ourselves with a nice cold Coca-Cola. All the girls are starting to miss their families but overall we’re loving the time we have together!
Emma Helsing, Sadie Schmitz, Taylor Webber
July 13, 2016
Today we had to wake up with a determined attitude to be able to finish building our playground structures. Breakfast was a hearty meal of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and the assortment of fresh fruit. After we finished our meal, we left our home base for Los Brazos so that we could complete our playgrounds. The school that we were working with started from 1st to 5th grade. When we got there, we all headed straight to work as we knew this would be our last day finishing up what we had started the previous day. We each had to give 110% effort and help one another to finish the job. We were successful with our goal and all of the kids seemed to be really enjoying their new playgrounds. The hard part was saying goodbye to all of the kids whom we all just recently became friends with. After we got back to the home base, we had to meet with our mentor groups and then we had some free time. While some girls lounged around the pool, many of the others went to the local beach. After that we had a Spanish lesson with one of our mentors, Anelly, who taught us health terms that we would be using for our upcoming days at the health fair.
Everyone was excited for dinner, which consisted of french fries, fried chicken, vegetables, fruit, and limeade. The last activity of the night was learning about globalization where groups of four/five people created skits that acted out one factor of globalization such as climate change, urbanization, food-borne illnesses, etc. We were all exhausted by the end of it and were all excited for the adventure of tomorrow where we will be heading to a Haitian Batey and the 27 waterfalls.
-Megan Evans and Sami Kubota
July 14, 2016
This morning we had early breakfast, which consisted of cereal and fruit. At 8am we all got on the bus for a two hour ride to La Grua, a Haitian Batey. In case that two hour bus ride sounds boring, we spiced it up with a flat fire. When we got there we bonded with the kids and went on a community tour. We learned about H2O filters. Then we had lunch, with some crazy rain!!!!!!!!!!!!! After that we really switched gears and drove fifteen minutes to 27 Charcos. At 27 Charcos we first climbed up the waterfalls and then descended by sliding and jumping down them. At the end we had an opportunity to by ice cream and souvenirs. When we got back we had dinner and discussed our plans fortomorrow.
We began the first day of our health fair! When we arrived to the Haitian batey (batey La Union), many smiling faces welcomed us. After we unloaded the truck for our supplies, we put together four stations that include hand washing, dental hygiene, height and weight, and pulse. Many girls formed bonds with the children that will stay in their memories forever. We went on a small tour of the community with Dr. K where he showed us the living conditions of the Haitian and Dominican people. We had lunch in the church up the road where we had BLT’s. On the way back to the lodge, Meg allowed us to stop for some helado. Free time consumed of going to the beach, pool, and journaling. There was a question and answer session with Amelia for those students who wanted to know more about the Peace Corps and Doctors without Borders. After dinner, we all went into our capstone projects and finished our presentations for tomorrow.
Deuces see y’all in 3 days
Hallie Dezio, Maddie Paas, Valentina Palmini