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.
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 throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. 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.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 13
We are excited to welcome students for our first session of the summer to begin their adventure engaging in service, discovery, and connection. Twenty out of the 24 students arrived at Puerto Plata (POP) airport mid-day. We enjoyed an afternoon settling in and getting to know each other followed by an ice cream treat on the beach after dinner. The remaining four students are with Kate on their way back from Santiago airport (STI) and should arrive in the next hour.
We are excited for good night’s rest before orientation and the first day of service tomorrow. We can’t wait to spend the next two weeks watching the students form new relationships, expand their perspectives, and enjoy all of the beauty this coastal region has to offer.
Here are pictures of the Puerto Plata arrival crew at home base!
(Kathleen, Maya, Emersen, and Caroline are arriving later tonight (Monday) – we are looking forward to having them join the group.)
-Kate, Julianne, and Nilsa
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 14
We started the day with orientation where we got to meet the whole group and learn some interesting facts about everyone and where they are from. We also learned about 7elements, the non profit that works with the local community to design sustainable public health infrastructure projects and created a community agreement together.
After lunch we went to La Colonia to do our service. It was interesting to learn about the differences between the communities we live in and the site. We helped build the foundation for bathrooms using sustainable materials, and learned how to repurpose wasted plastic bottles as insulation. After we got back to the lodge, we had some pool time and met the doctor who we will work with at the medical brigade tomorrow. Overall, we were introduced to the purpose of the work we were here to do and what the rest of the trip will bring.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15
Today was day three of our trip, and we had our first medical brigade where we set up a pop-up clinic in a rural community and learned more about their medical needs. We split up into different groups for different stations in the clinic, some of which included registration, vital signs, and shadowing. It was a very immersive experience because we all got to expand on our medical knowledge and observe the different challenges other communities face.
After we got back from the medical brigade , we went to the beach. We went for a walk, felt the warm water on our feet, and hung out reading, talking, or playing football with a coconut. It was a great way to bond with everyone, learning more about each other and sharing more about our lives at home. As a bonus, the water is so clear and warm here with plenty of beautiful shells. It was definitely a day to remember!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 16
Today was day four, and it was an excursion! For the first part of the day, we went to Lagoon DuDu. When we got to the lagoon, there was a cave and numerous swimming spots. First, we explored the cave where we found a huge bug which some of us found cool and some of us found creepy. After that, we went cliff jumping into the first lagoon. The water was crystal clear and it was enclosed by a cave. When we were done, we went to another large lagoon that was really deep and swam around for a while.There were people zip lining into the water which was fun to watch. After we were done swimming, we ate lunch at a restaurant and the food was really good.
Our afternoon excursion for the day was playa preciosa which is a beautiful beach. At the beach we had virgin piña coladas straight from a pineapple and enjoyed some ice cream. Some people played in the water while others laid on the beach and talked. We also were able to buy jewelry unique to the island. Someone even got their hair braided by a local. After about two hours at the beach we headed back to home base for some free time dinner and a lecture about diabetes and malnutrition. Overall today was spent in the water having fun.
Photos for June 16th coming soon!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
This is Nandini and Kevin as your leaders of the day! Early this morning some of us did yoga with one of our favorite staff members, BEN and KATE! The yoga was relaxing and felt peaceful according to all the GLA students who participated. Later that day, the students and staff traveled to La Colonia where they helped out in several tasks: adding plastic water bottles to the insulation of the bathrooms, plowing the fields, adding seeds to the soil, organizing the greenhouse, hammering the chickenwire, etc.
Overall, all the students had an amazing time at La Colonia and quickly went on a supermarket haul as a reward! Afterwards the students attended a Global Health Lecture which was organized by one of our local staff directors, Nilsa!
Special thanks to all the staff for keeping all the students safe, but also having so much fun here at the DR!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Today was Day 6 and we were able to go on a hike to Mt. Brison. After waking up very early everyone got to the bus for a 2 hour ride. We started with high spirits up the rocky hill and the blaring heat. At the halfway mark we were all able to enjoy passion fruit juice and cake from a local woman who lives on the mountain.
By the 3/4ths mark everyone started getting tired, but we were able to stay positive. Finally, after reaching Maxima’s house, we had lunch and were able to learn about some of the culture and health impacts of living on the mountain. Then we departed for the long trip back down and ended the day back at home base. Looking forward to the water excursion tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
When we woke up this morning, we all got ready and headed straight to Laguna Gri Gri. After a 30 minute bus ride we arrived at a place where we took a boat to go see a beautiful blue Lagoon. After this we swam and snorkeled before setting off to relax for a bit on the nearest beach. From
there we headed back to Playa Preciosa where some people swam and some people read while we all waited for lunch. Lunch was very good today – fish, chicken, avocado salad, and much more; we all enjoyed a reminder of home in our food!
After lunch people went swimming in the ocean which was a great temperature. Then we loaded the bus at 2 and stopped for ice cream on the way home! Everyone really enjoyed that stop. After we arrived back at the lodge we had free time where most everyone relaxed after a long day at the beach. Dinner was another delicious meal that consisted of make your own chicken sandwich, salad, fruit, potatoes, and fresh juice! We finished off the night with a lesson on human security in the DR and a mentor group!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Today we started the day early to get ready to go to the town of La Grua. After the long bus ride we got to the site and got to set up the medical brigade for the day. The town was very different in contrast to La Colonia, full of energy and things going on. Separating into groups we worked within the medial brigade while some of us stayed outside and entertained the kids. Later, Junior gave a tour of the Batey and explained the history and aspects of lives for the people within the Batey.
After a few hours, we headed back to home base. We got to stop at a supermarket, and all of us stocked up on many snacks. We spent time playing card games, bonding, and relaxing after the busy but rewarding day. We had an amazing meal for dinner and got to get ready for our night activities.
Following our long, yet rewarding day, we decided to have a change of scenery, and headed to the beach for a surprise. Bonfire! Huddled around the blazing fire we made s’mores, relaxed and tired from our lively games on the beach. First we did an activity to decide which type of leader we were, and then implemented that into capture the flag where the whole group bonded through high adrenaline and raised endorphins. Ending on a high note, everyone has fully earned their late wake up tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
After breakfast we drove to chocojoba, a chocolate factory that is local and women owned. When we got there we were shown each product they produced at their factory and got to taste raw cacao as well as taste test their products. After sampling, we went on a tour to see how each room was used to produce the chocolate bars. After our tour, we went to their store to buy chocolate bars, jams, and cacao butter. Soon after we went back to home base to enjoy lunch!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Today we drove up to a bee keeper, Johnny’s, house to collectively build bee boxes. We worked as teams to saw wood, nail the boxes, and paint. We later crossed a bridge to get to see other bee boxes and how they really work. Many were kept away from homes to give the bees a safe and private space away from people. We discussed how bee keeping is a productive way of income because of how it relies on the environment while giving back to the community.
After working on Bee boxes we headed towards La Colonia to finish our project on building a bathroom. We split off into groups while some worked on cutting water bottles and others stacked and worked with chicken wire. Once we finished up our time at La Colonia we headed back to home base and finished off our night with a short presentation from a former GLA student and partook in fun group leadership activities to end our night.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Ava & Aiden
Today we had our last medical brigade in Guanabano. We set up a pop-up clinic in a rural community and set up stations with different groups throughout the day. These stations include vitals, chief complaint, shadowing the doctor, etc. It was an enriching experience as we were able to learn more about the community’s medical needs and enjoy our last service day! It was definitely the best way to end the trip!
After the medical brigade we all decided to go to home base and relax. While chilling at home base, we decided to play hot seat! It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to learn more about my peers. Finally, we went and had a night beach trip, and watched the stars.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Today we departed for our Jamao Eco Tour excursion. We started with a 25 minute hike through water and the woods to get to the waterfalls. We jumped from three different waterfalls and enjoyed the scenery. Afterwards, we boarded the bus for lunch at around 11:30am
After traversing through fields, woods, jungles, and waterfalls, the group took a final walk and bus ride to reach our rooftop lunch spot where we ate a delicious meal overlooking Rio Yasica. Once we got back to home base everyone participated in a student led game of Jeopardy on the Dominican Republic. To end the adventurous day, the group played a fun trust based game requiring groups of 3 to lead one student to find their treasure with a blindfold. Looking forward to our last medical brigade tomorrow!