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 29
Hello from the Dominican Republic! We’re excited to welcome students for their two-week adventure engaging in service, discovery, adventure, and connection. Students arrived to two of the country’s international airports this afternoon and are settling in at our home base for the next two weeks. We enjoyed swimming in the pool this afternoon, eating a classic Dominican dinner, and watching sunset on the beach.
They are tucked in for a good night’s rest before starting the day tomorrow with an orientation and our first service project. 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 some pictures of the group:
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Today the group visited the community in La Calonia. They worked on building a house using plastic bottles. After we all headed to the Supermarket and bought many different items and fruits. Our first free/tech time was 45 minutes which I used to shower off the layers of sweat and sunscreen. We then had an orientation to the Medical Brigade and we all got to practise our Spanish as well as watch fellow student Juliette translate for the group. We ended the night with reflections and got ready for bed. For me that meant eating all of the cookies I bought earlier today!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Andie
We woke up, some of us beginning by running through soft sand dusting our legs with a glistening sunset in sight. We filled up with a unique breakfast of fried cheese and mashed potatoes to prepare for the test of our Spanish knowledge and helping abilities at the medical clinic. We split up into groups: patient flow, entertaining kids, registration, vitals, clinical history, doctor shadowing, and the pharmacy. Each group pushed through their challenges like communicating, taking blood pressure, keeping up with the doctor and learned from it. After continuing our streak of delicious food at lunch, we expanded our knowledge even more by listening to Ben describe the difference between the top death causes of low and high income countries and Nilsa explain the unfortunate commonality of waterborne disease in the D.R. It was eye opening to see how lower income countries died from many causes we have easy access to fix in our higher income countries.
Further, we were so glad to have met the friendly people at the clinic, one telling Brynn he was happy she was learning when she apologized for her spanish. The great day followed with some tasty ice cream, enjoying chilling at the pool, or playing basketball with some skilled locals(they won), and zen beach yoga led by Kate. The night began with a new dinner, sancocho, and a strange but fun human knot activity. Mentor groups then joined with Ben or Kate under the moonlight and we reflected on our highs, lows, and weirdos for the day as well as our prompt: Who is a leader outside and inside our sphere and why? Most highs included being able to have an immersive experience with the community, lows were the ants, and weirdos were the annoying ants. Overall, we could barely think of any lows because we were so happy to have the opportunity to visit the clinic and enjoy the paradise land.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Margo and Juliette
Rest and Recharge: Today, after two successful days of service, the group awoke to the sounds of roosters and alarms. Soon after, many students either joined together for a run up the beach or yoga, lunging at the ocean with the warrior 1 pose. After everyone arose, we joined together for breakfast and learned the focus of the day, “Rest and Recharge”.
Joining together on the bus for our ride to the first destination, Dudu lagoon, “Empire State of Mind” (by Alicia Keys) unified many of the students in song. Once arriving, we explored dark caves then ventured to the refreshing waters of the blue lagoons. Many of the students jumped from mossy rocks into the deep water (!WAS SAFE!). Finally, after plenty of diving and games, we retreated to a buffet lunch where yet again, we ate delicious Dominican food.
From the restaurant, we reached our final destination, Playa Preciosa. The empty serene beach and crashing turquoise waves invited us into an exciting afternoon. We joined together in the salty ocean to ride the playful waves. Additionally, many of the students treated themselves to various local jewelry and we sipped (VIRGIN) piña coladas in pineapples. Later, we bonded together in the classic game, “Where the West Wind Blows”, a bonding game of running and learning about each other’s similarities. After a wet and sandy day, we returned to the bus to end with a shouty rendition of “Party in the USA” (by Miley Cyrus).
The fun in the sun allowed us all to recharge and spend relaxing time with newfound friends. Peace, love, and ciao from Margo and Juliette
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Katie and Noah
We started out the day by going to La Colonia, a nearby community. We continued working on the water bottle houses, and ended up completing our goal of finishing the two areas we had been working on. After a lunch break, we then did more work on a different house, and continued being very efficient. We were also able to interact with some members of the community, which was a great experience.
After finishing our work, we headed back to the home base, where our hard work was rewarded with extra tech time. Some of the group went in the pool, but this was short lasting due to thunder. We then had a full group debate about healthcare and the availability of drugs in lower income countries, which ended up getting very intense. After another great dinner, Doctor Caho visited to give a lecture on malnutrition and diabetes with Julianne as the translator. We then had mentor groups and an early bedtime, tired after a full day of service.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
We had an early wake up to get to Laguna Gri Gri. We packed into a motor boat and got a tour of the mangrove forest that leads into a beautiful clear blue ocean. During the boat ride, I enjoyed Moana sing alongs and Ellis being a great photographer. We stopped to swim in two different spots. The second spot was a clear blue beach where I enjoyed watching chicken fights, looking at the ceramic heads of natives, and attempting to swim out to an island. We then drove to Playa Preciosa while singing along to hamilton.
When we got to Playa Preciosa we were greeted with a wonderful lunch on the beach. After we ate the meal everyone ran into the water. When everyone got tired we sat around the table. As we were sitting at the table someone got the idea to cover one lucky volunteer in sand. Someone bravely stepped up and proceeded to be covered. When we got bored of that we rose from the sand and we all ran to the water and swam for a little longer. After the water, we split the group up in half by mentor groups and had a dance battle to wrap up our time at playa preciosa. We had a chill bus ride back to the compound and chilled by the pool for a while. It was a great day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Today we had an early wake up followed by a filling breakfast to prepare us for the long day ahead. We left for La Grúa at 7 and took on the 2 hour ride. During arrival we were greeted by many children and adults waiting to be seen by the clinic. Registration started sending people through to get their vitals checked and eventually to the doctor. Happy faces of children coloring and chatting with us were admired by parents and onlookers. The slow and steady process continued until lunch at 12. We sat on the bus to eat chicken, rice, an assortment of fruit, and beans. From lunch, we finished with the rest of our patients and ended the clinic.
Post clinic, Junior was gracious enough to provide a tour of La Grua for us. La Grua is home to many inhabitants of the island who aren’t considered Dominican nor Haitian. We left La Grua and began our two hour long bus ride. Waving goodbye to the children behind us. With a break at the supermercado, we all stocked up with the most junk our pockets could afford. With an hour left in the drive, some students watched movies and others enjoyed karaoke on the bus. After tech time we all enjoyed dinner, family style, for the first time in our trip we connected tables so everyone could fit. As leaders of the day, Cassie and I chose a not so friendly game of waterpolo filled with healthy competition and rivalry. Post-game, we enjoyed free time until meditation with Kate at 9:30 and a 10:30 lights out.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Today’s goal was to rest and restore as we started the day with a calming wake up at 7:45 am. With a not so silent bus ride, we arrived at an all women run chocolate factory called ChoJoba. All of us were mesmerized by the smooth, silky chocolate. We all soon learned that too much chocolate can’t be good for the stomach and enjoyed an agonizing bus ride. After that we came back to our “family style” dinner table to have a delicious lunch. We had a talk on domestic violence in the Dominican Republic, what the different types are and how to prevent and address the challenges that entails. Next we had a few hours of free time and an amazing basketball game against the locals. We came back had dinner and enjoyed mentor groups, socializing, and playing spoons. We hit the hay at 10 and felt refreshed for cliff jumping the next day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
We started off the day waking up at 7:00 am. We quickly ate breakfast and then got onto the bus to Jamao, the location for cliff jumping. After hiking through rivers and waterfalls we reached our first destination at Jamao, which was a small water way where we swam and went into caves. Then we continued to hike until we got to the first cliff which was about 12 feet high. We all jumped off and then swam down the river to the second cliff. This cliff was taller than the first, ranging to about 20 feet. Then we continued onto the third and final cliff that came to be about 25 feet. After everyone jumped off the cliffs we all swam around in the river below a waterfall and we continued to explore in caves and climb up rocks. After all the swimming we were very hungry, so we ate some snacks, and then continued to hike out of the river area. Once done with the hike we ate lunch at this lookout point where we could see all the mountains and a very pretty river. After site seeing and eating lunch we headed back home.
After returning from cliff jumping, we started another intense game of waterpolo. Immediately after, we all joined together to play an extravagant game of taps. After showers and relaxation, we sat down for yet another amazing dinner. Following dinner, we put our brains to the test in a game of Dominican jeopardy. Four groups fought to figure out various trivia including the Dominican Republic’s national dish, the population, and many others. To blow off some steam, we walked to get ice cream from a neighbor down the street. We ended the day with daily meditation from Kate.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
We started the day with a relaxing wakeup at 6:45, followed by another delicious and fulfilling breakfast before piling into the bus in preparation for our last medical brigade on this trip. Close to 30 minutes later, we arrived at the community of Boca de Yasica and split into our groups for the clinic: patient flow, entertaining kids, registration, vitals, clinical history, doctor shadowing and pharmacy. By today, most of us had done almost every single one of the stations so our clinic was more of a well oiled machine.
We all pushed through the heat to deliver the best care we could to the community at each station. After filling up on another scrumptious lunch during this trip, we persevered with the second half of the clinic before wrapping it up when every patient had been seen. Before we left, Nilsa explained the different levels of healthcare within the Dominican Republic and what the healthcare systems were like in Boca De Yasica, the community we went to today. We piled back into the bus to get back to the lodge, ready to make the most of the rest of our day. On the way home, we stopped for ice cream at a store called Bon Helados, before finally arriving back at the lodge.
Free time then happened, with many of us choosing to relax by the pool or talk amongst friends. After free time, we met up for our leader of the day activity: airplane notes. We all wrote notes to each other that will be delivered at the airport and are meant to be read on the plane. After tech time and dinner, we started an appreciation circle for everyone on the trip as a great ending activity. After appreciation circle, we put on music and had a dance circle, before moving to the beach. At the beach we continued to have our dance party in the waves under the moonlight. After we got back, we all jumped into the pool for a quick night swim before heading to meditation and bedtime.