Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them after activities are completed to have with them through the night. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location and time zones. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 12
This is Katia, GLA International Director, and I am writing to you from Indalo Lodge, our homebase in Las Canas, Dominican Republic.
After a few flight delays, all students safely arrived and travelled together, two of them from Santiago de los Caballeros airport and the rest from Puerto Plata airport. Once at the homebase, we got to explore the property, the surrounding neighborhood and had a walk to the nearby beach right before enjoying their first dominican dinner.
Altogether, we went through a program overview, talked about cultural norms and expectations for this program. We also chose leaders of the day who will be writing to you in the upcoming days, so expect to hear directly from the students starting tomorrow!
Everyone has now gone to their rooms to rest and prepare for their first day of service work. Stay tuned for more Global Health stories in the Dominican Republic.
DR GHI team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 13
Written by Leaders of the Day: Eden and Londyn
On the first full day here in DR, we started off early with a tour of the neighboring community and finished our program orientation. When we returned we got to know eachother better through ice breakers, and games!
Then we enjoyed some lunch and headed off to our first service site where we helped construct a bathroom for a local family. There we nailed in wire, and insulated the walls with recycled plastic bottles. We even got to enjoy some fresh mangos from the family! When we returned we took our swimming test, and enjoyed some free time at the beach and pool. We had a lot of fun playing volleyball and tanning!
Then we had dinner and a lecture on public health, where we learned about the relationships between the environment and the society and how we can make an impact in Global Health!
We are so excited for our first excursion day tomorrow where we will be going to Dudu Lagoon, and a beach!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 14
Written by Leaders of the Day: Gracia and Redding
We started the day off with a later than usual breakfast, getting 30 extra minutes of sleep. We packed up our things and left for the Dudu Lagoon. After an hour drive and a pit stop at the bank, we arrived and toured the beautiful blue ponds and cave. After an hour and a half full of swimming, diving and tanning in the two natural pools, the group ate lunch at a local restaurant. Boarding the bus again, we landed at a nearby beach and enjoyed tasty (non-alcoholic!) piña coladas in pineapple cups and splashed around in the ocean for the first time.
Covered in sand, the group visited local stores and spent time shopping for jewelry and other souvenirs. Returning to home base, we had some free time before dinner, where we ate some delicious sancocho, a local favorite soup originated in Africa. A short walk after dinner took the group to get ice cream from a nearby small shop. We ended the day with games like Werewolf and a brief meeting with our mentors. We had an amazing time with our first excursion and are looking forward to another day of service tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15
Written by Leaders of the Day: Bay and Melina
Today we woke up at the normal time and made our way to the service site after breakfast. We got there by walking through the local town and made it there in about 15 minutes. As we walked, we saw local animals and people while experiencing the regular ways in their community. While being at the service site for 3 and a half hours, we got a lot done. We finished a whole wall of the bathroom by filling them with reused stacked water bottles and covering it with chicken wire.
After completing our service for the day we returned to home base for lunch
and had a guest speak to us about domestic violence in the Dominican Republic. We then had time to relax by the pool followed by dinner and another guest speaker that trained us for the medical brigade for tomorrow. He explained the different types of roles and medicines he will be prescribing tomorrow, as well as the common diseases in the area.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 16
Written by Sophia, Poppy, and Jordan
Hello from the Dominican Republic!
We started our day off early with a 5am wake up, then made the two hour drive to complete our first medical brigade. Using the knowledge from last night´s info session, we were able to provide basic medical assistance to those in need. In addition to our clinical duties, we spent some time getting to know the culture and children of the community.
On our way back, we grabbed some snacks and essentials at the supermarket before continuing the drive to home base. After dinner we had our first debate session and mock trial, during which we gained new awareness on the complexities of different perspectives and the potential guiding forces behind change within communities.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
Written by Eliza and Lauren
Today we went to a new town where we were building a house and a bathroom for the community. Along with nailing in chicken wire and filling walls with plastic bottles, we learned how to make cement by mixing it with sand and water. With the cement, we filled and smoothed the walls we had been working on. Most of us can say that we have never sweat this much! It was a long day of working and some talking with the locals.
When we got back to home base, we swam in the pool to cool off. The cooks made a delicious meal of tacos or nachos, however you chose to make it. We listened to a presentation about malnutrition from the doctor who works with us in the medical brigade. He taught us about symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, and general information.
Tomorrow is our last construction day at a new location which should be a lot like the work we did today. We’ve been learning a lot and having fun and can’t wait for more.
Talk to you tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Jordan K. and Lilli M.
Today was our last construction day and it was our most productive. With sand, water, and cement powder, we made cement to plaster the walls of a neighborhood house; we finished in a record time of 2 hours 45 minutes and some seconds! Because we finished so quickly, we got to enjoy food back at the lodge and compensated the remaining service hours with a beach cleanup where we collected bottles and other trash for future service projects.
To celebrate our last day of construction, we hung out at the pool and some of us went to get ice cream! Before our celebration, however, we had our mentor groups for the day where we discussed the ¨thorns, buds, and roses¨ of our trip so far and the rest of the trip to come. After dinner, we wrapped up the day with a ¨pulse check¨ of how we are feeling physically, mentally, and overall.
Tomorrow is our 27 ponds excursion where we will swim, hike, water slide, and jump into the (hopefully) refreshing river near La Grua! Shout out to all the fathers of today for those who celebrate. All of the dads are missed and appreciated throughout this trip and we hoped they had a great day.
To be continued with much love and all of our adventures!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Written by Sarah and Lacey
Today we started the day off with breakfast at 7 AM with toast, eggs, and fresh fruits. We then had an eventful two hour bus ride to Damajagua Excursion. Here, we hiked up a beautiful mountain where we found the top of the waterfalls. We then began the fun! One by one, we jumped into the beautiful, blue abyss of the DR. The natural rock slides were intimidating yet thrilling, and we all came out alive.
After our excursion, we grabbed a bite to eat at a local restaurant where we munched on fish, rice, and pasta. We then headed to the supermarket where we peacefully shopped! We got delicious froyo and smoothies as we prepared for the bus ride back. Once we arrived at the home base, we enjoyed some down time before dinner. We then had a discussion about human security in the DR where everyone shared their thoughts surrounding the topic. We ended our night with mentor groups and got ready for bed.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Written by Chihyo and Hayden
Today we started off later than usual with breakfast being at 7: 30. At 8: 30, we headed to the small town of islabon for the second medical brigade of our program. The groups got to experience stations they had not experienced in the first medical brigade at La Grua. The doctor took time to not only help the patients but also taught the students how to examine the patients including taking blood pressure testing glucose levels and inspecting ears for medical abnormalities.
After the majority of patients had gotten treated, and the brigade slowed down, most of the students ended up playing soccer with the local kids. Due to the lack of patients,we decided to end the brigade earlier than the planned time and therefore the group decided to head to the popular local shopping area near the beach where we split up into different groups so each individual could attend shops and stores that they had interest in. The stores featured local jewelry and a variety of clothes including the bathing suits which were a very popular purchase within the group.
After the shopping we headed back to the lodge and had 2 hours of free time which included many naps and pool times for those who had energy left. At 6 p.m we ate chicken and fries for dinner. Dinner was followed by the seminar of the night which discussed the public and private health system in the Dominican Republic.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Addie and Abby – Leaders of the Day
We started our day off later than usual with an 8 am breakfast. We then hopped on the bus and traveled to the ChocoJoba chocolate factory. There we were able to learn how the chocolate is made and were even able to purchase chocolate and other cacao products made there.
Afterwards we headed back to the homebase for lunch and had a quick break before our service activity. Our service consisted of building and painting Bee Boxes, where we learned about the science behind the habitat of these important pollinators. Once we finished, we took a short hike to the location of the bee boxes where we witnessed the use of the bee boxes in action and were rewarded with a taste of the all natural honey made by the bees.
When we all arrived back at the homebase, many of us enjoyed our last day at the pool and relaxed before dinner. After dinner, we quickly met with our mentor groups before ending the day with a movie night screening Rio.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Sahil S. and Johnny A.
Hola, ¿cómo estás desde Puerto Plata, DR? What a day we had! It all started when LOD’s (us aka Sahil and Johnny) woke everyone up with fun hip hop music (God’s Plan by Drake). We then moved on to having an amazing breakfast, full of nutritious eggs, milk, and bread. We filed into the bus around 8:00 and headed to our third and final medical brigade.
We arrived in Guanabano, Joba arriba in the beautiful and breezy mountains of the Dominican Republic with little showers of rain. We conversed with spectacular and diverse amounts of people in the community. We provided essential medication to children and adults in need after a quick consultation with Dr. Caho. Around 5 fulfilling hours of helping those in need we wrapped up our final medical brigade and headed back to home base (ecolodges).
When we arrived back to home base after playing games in the bus with Warren in our ride back we quickly changed into comfortable clothing to continue our service at the beach where we collected ocean trash, beach trash, and microplastics. We filled around 5 bags to the brim with plastics like bottles, caps, shoes, and other forms of plastic. After a brisk walk back to the home base we had a little bit of free time to roam around and grab some ice cream. Dinner, was eventful! With laughs and giggles filling the atmosphere around us, we enjoyed sancocho, a traditional Dominican stew.
As dinner came to a close, we rounded up the whole group and prepared for trivia night and cultural night! Trivia night was a fierce battle between the three mentor groups. We were competing between different genres of music and general trivia for the victory. At the end Diego’s group (Sahil’s team) came out victorious.
Wrapping up the night the whole group participated in a fiesta with local Dominican’s who taught us about their culture and their traditional dance. We played dominos and enjoyed a competitive game of Boys vs. Girls volleyball game. A cultural experience to bring back to the states that we will truly cherish forever!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Rosie and Mikaela
Hola parents and relatives,
Today we started the day bright and early at 7:00 for a breakfast of mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, pineapple, spam, cereal, oatmeal, and a fan favorite of coffee.
We took an hour and a half bus ride to the cable cars in Puerto Plata, where we rode the gondola and enjoyed amazing views. Once on top the mountain, we visited several gift shops, before stopping at a concession stand for some much needed snacks. We took a short nature walk to several local attractions, such as a cave, a heart walkway, and a lagoon.
After, we rode the cable car back down and took the bus to a buffet of chicken, rice, beef, salad, pasta salad, and beans. Once everyone was full, we went to the Amber Museum and had a look at several rare minerals from the Dominican Republic. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city and the several shops. We took a visit down Pink Street, a place that every turn blinds your eyes with the color pink, and several pictures were taken. We all enjoyed several scoops of delicious gelato, while relaxing and conversing with others.
After our long day, we took the bus back to homebase, where we did a reflection activity about what we learned throughout the trip and how we hope to grow once we return home. Dinner was at 6:00, and consisted of rice, beans, fish and peppers, pineapple, salad, broccoli, and potato salad.
Once we had finished dinner and had taken a short break, we celebrated the final days by competing in a competitive karaoke night. Good night and see you tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Sofia and Leah – Leaders of the Day
Today was our last day in the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic! We started off the day by finding out which superlative we were voted for. Some included most likely to become president, most likely to become a billionaire, and even most likely to get stuck in their mosquito net. After a heartwarming appreciation circle, we left for a snorkeling excursion in Sosua. We swam in crystal clear waters that were dotted by colorful fish, whilst a barren coral forest decorated the seafloor. In the reefs, wire cages could be seen on the seafloor called Biorock that are meant to restore the reefs by progressing the growth of coral.
After exploring this underwater environment, we returned to the beach and ordered some fun drinks such as piña coladas and frozen lemonades while tanning and eating pizza. Finally, we returned to home base for dinner and to continue packing for our long journeys home. We gathered one last time at our neighboring beach for a bonfire to celebrate the final night together. We made smores, sang, and took the last pics of the trip.
Overall, these two weeks have been immensely influential and life changing. From cementing houses, swimming in lagoons, participating in administering healthcare, and swimming in the pool at homebase, we have learned what true community service means. Not only does service impact those in which we interact with but also personal perspectives and biases. Including engaging in lectures and debates about Dominican Republic politics and their government’s priorities, it is clear that public health is defined internationally but appears differently in various communities. While public health is often regarded as a subject that solely appears in the medical field, it also includes security, personal, political, and environmental issues that occur at the global and international level.
As this trip comes to an end, we are grateful for the unique learning opportunities that the GLA staff have organized and supervised for us (and of course, our parents, for funding this amazing excursion). The many perspectives, lifestyles, and environments we have been exposed to will continue to impact our actions, thoughts, and relationships that we encounter in our futures.
Thank you for a trip we will never forget!