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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Today we are excited to have our students arriving for the first day on their two-week adventure here with us. Students in our group arrived at all three of the country’s airports, Santiago, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo. Our team traveled across the country to greet the students and bring them back to our Home Base where they were able to eat, shower, play some ice breakers, and decompress!
We are still waiting for our students to arrive from Santo Domingo, and will send a photo of the full group tomorrow!
DR staff team – Andrea, Enrique, Jenny, Julianne, and John
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Written by Ana and Juan (leaders of the day)
First day! We woke up bright and early for breakfast at 7:00 am. Starting the day off with orientation that lasted for most of the morning. Later in the day after playing a multitude of games, had lunch which was meat and rice, and we went to the beach. While it was somewhat rainy the view was amazing and the water was fun to play in until the rain became too unbearable and we went inside. After that we had our swim tests which consisted of swimming four laps, floating for 10 seconds, and tread water for 1 minute. The swim test was followed by a pool party!
The pool party was followed by a little bit of free time then we got into a debate. The debate consisted of four teams and one mediator debating whether or not we should “open an arena” It was a pretty fun experience. After we had dinner and had our lecture about global health and how that would relate to our everyday lives. We debriefed our debate then headed off to bed, a successful first night!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Today we woke up in our beautiful resort, complete with an amazing wildlife which we both appreciated and ran from in the shower. After having a delicious breakfast, we proceeded to have Q-tips shoved up our noses in order to investigate the contents of our bodies. We later took an hour and a half road trip to a remote village in the Dominican Republic, filled with the natural beauty and essence of the country. There, we were given the opportunity to help local communities, aiding in the building of their homes and improvement of their overall infrastructure.
Following a few hours work, we returned to the home base to have a nice, relaxing, and calming dip in our swimming pool. The rest of the day consisted of several engaging lectures in which we learned about the social determinants of health, in addition to the importance of global health. Lastly, we met in our mentor groups to assess our goals for this trip with the chillest person in the hemisphere, aka John🥶 And that concluded our third day at this retreat
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
Today we had the chance to visit La grúa, a small town near Puerto Plata at the north east of República Dominicana. Our bus ride was a 2 hour journey, where we socialized and played music.
As soon as we arrived we were introduced to a group of La Grúas kids who immediately welcomed us. The leaders of the day split everyone up into two groups and began to make separate concrete piles. Before we started we took the necessary precautions like face mask, sunscreen, water bottles and gloves. As soon as we began we had these instructions for each pile of cement: 10 buckets of sand, 5 buckets of rocks and 1 and a half bags of concretes. Each pile had its own designated house and the mixtures we were making were used for laying floors to prevent worm born diseases.
Throughout the day we continued to work together and consistently made more and more cement. During our breaks we played with the children and socialized with the residents of La grúa. Kids in our group played soccer with the local children, had their hair braided, and helped out with homework. After finishing the floors it was time to say goodbye to La Grúa.
Everyone slept on the bus because of the hard effort given during our stay in La Grúa. We arrived back at home base, everyone showered and spent time at the pool. Chow circle was then led by the group leaders, then everyone proceed to eat dinner.
At the end of the dinner, Enrique began speaking about his childhood and his difficulties with the challenges he overcame. The presentation was very interesting and everyone had a lot of questions at the end of it. All the students seemed to be inspired by the story and it was amazing to listen about his life story.
– Jordan and León
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Instead of doing service today we went to a beach called Playa Preciosa! Even though it stormed, we had a great time watching the waves from a little restaurant where we ordered virgin Piña coladas. After a few hours at the beach, we ate some lunch and went to Dudu lagoon. It was one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. We were able to enjoy swimming and were entertained by watching people (not GLA students) fall from a crazy high zip line.
After returning to home base, we had training for the medical brigade tomorrow where we learned tips for interacting with patients. We finished the night by getting ice cream at a local ice cream shop and having some free time before bed. Tomorrow is an early start but we are so excited for the medical brigade.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Today was an early morning so that we could make it to La Grúa, a 2 hour bus ride! After a hardy breakfast, we got on the bus with our medical supplies and made our way to the community.
We arrived to La Grúa and set up different stations for the medical brigade. The stations included taking basic personal information, measurements of height, weight, oxygen level, and their concerns/symptoms. In the church, we had 2 doctors to see patients and a pharmacy to give out meds.
We broke into groups each consisting of a spanish speaker. Each group got to shadow the dentist, doctors, and pharmacist. While some shadowed, some took patient information, and others played with the kids in the community. After 6 hours of the medical brigade, we made our way to home base.
We ate spaghetti, plantains, french fries, veggies, fresh fruit (mango was immaculate) and some refreshing lemonade. After dinner, Enrique taught us about healthcare systems in the Dominican Republic. Hard work but lots of fun today and tomorrow we get to sleep in until 8!! Goodnight friends!!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
We started our morning a little late because we got to sleep in! We had a hardy breakfast consisting of yummy pancakes, eggs, fruit, and oatmeal. Once we were done and ready to go, we went to paint one of the local house’s a cute yellow color for our service portion of the day. After painting we headed back to home base for a fantastic lunch of pork, rice, plantains, and lemonade.
After lunch, we walked along the beach for about a mile to a cute lagoon and went swimming for a couple hours. On the way back we stopped at a local ice cream shop to have some bomb ice cream. Once we got back to home base we cooled off by jumping into the pool! Once 6:00 came around, we ate a delicious dinner of Dominican style lasagna and passionfruit juice along with rice.
After dinner we learned about the relationship between healthcare and forced migration in our lecture. After the lecture we played a very entertaining game involving a lot of energy and yelling. We then broke into our mentor groups and hung out with everyone for the rest of the night! It was an outstanding day and we are so excited for tomorrow!
-Dharma and Ava
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Today the group had breakfast bright and early at 7:15 and left for service at 8am. Mia played her amazing playlist on the 45 minute bus ride to our service site.
When we arrived we split into groups like shadowing doctors, taking vitals and information, as well as learning about patients with Enrique. He is a doctor that helps explain patients symptoms and diagnosis with a deeper understanding.
Finally at home base we had free time today to do whatever we wanted. For instance, some people took a nap, some went swimming, and others decided to hammock and read before dinner. Tonight we had tacos for dinner and learned about malnutrition and diabetes at lecture from Enrique.
Tomorrow will be another early and exciting service day. Adios.
– Kristi and Alejandra
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Today we started our day off with service. We insulated walls with recycled plastic bottles and finished with chicken wire and cement. After lunch, we swam at the pool before going to the beach for a sandcastle building competition. Each group had fun being creative and we finished off the night with two lectures. The first focused on a NGO presented by our own counselor John. The second lecture was focused on water borne illnesses presented by one the home based doctors. They were both really interesting. Before bed we all hung out and played cards.
-Emma & Mia
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Hola from the Dominican Republic! Today was day 10 in this beautiful yet humid country. We woke up and had a delicious breakfast of toast, eggs and amazing fruit. We then boarded the bus at 8:00 and prepared for a long and treacherous hike up a mountain. On the way up, we met two friends which we named Pepe and Antonio. These two pups met us at the bottom of the mountain and climbed with us both ways. Although the hike was exhausting, we were able to understand how difficult it is for people who live on this mountain to have transportation. When we finally made it to the top an hour and a half later, we had rice and beans (as always!) and well deserved ice cream. The way down was much shorter, but was just as hard due to the steepness and constant slipping of rocks. Pepe and Antonio had a blast slipping down the mountain and were a constant reminder to stay positive. After sadly saying goodbye to our beloved canine companions, we all snoozed on the bus ride back. We have just eaten dinner and are now preparing for a beach bonfire complete with s’mores! We miss you all but don’t want this adventure to end!
The superior leaders of the day: Natalie and Harper
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
This morning we woke up early so we could enjoy our adventure at the incredible waterfalls of “27 Charcos”. We spent the day trekking through bodies of water and squeezing between natural rock slides. We all were thrilled to have the opportunity to jump off the gorgeous cliffs and into the turquoise waters below. We spent the day discussing the beautiful scenery and screaming joyfully as we descended off the tall rocks. Alongside the cliffs, the waterfall excursion included rock slides that everyone had a blast launching off of.
After we hiked and swam through the majestic area, we all found ourselves exhausted to which we all enjoyed a long nap on the bus ride home. At home base we spent our time socializing and debriefing not only the adventures of today, but all of the wonderful experiences we’ve had this trip. The day ended with a lovely lecture by Andrea, mentor groups, and chubby bunny. Now we are all ecstatic to see what the last 2 days have to offer!
-Amelia and Reid
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
The day started around 6.45 when we all got up for showers and to start to get ready for our last day of service.
We all met at the benches for breakfast at 7am, where we had toast, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruits and hot chocolate. When we all finished we got our bags and went on the bus heading to La Colonia. After 45 mins of bus ride we arrived and headed to complete the walk from where the bus stops and where we were going to work on today. Our mission was to make enough cement to cover all the walls of a house and then place it on them. After almost 4 hours of hard work we achieved our goal and went for lunch back down where the bus was and enjoyed rice and meat including also vegetables and fruits.
After finishing lunch we took the bus back to home base and had free time until 4.30pm where an activity prepared by the mentors took place. We then played heads up seven up, as the leaders of the day planned just before dinner. Here we had vegetables, mashed potatoes, fish and fried bananas, accompanied by fresh fruit.
Finally then before free time Enrique gave us a class on world citizenship where we discussed within our partners different proposed questions.
– Anna & Juan
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Hello! Today is our last day here in the DR. We woke up early this morning for breakfast at 7 so we could make it on time for our 7:30 am COVID test. After our test, we boarded the bus and drove to Sosúa for our snorkeling tour. Once we got on the boat, we drove to a nearby beach where we snorkeled and swam for around 45 minutes. We had the privilege of seeing and swimming with 5 wild dolphins!! It was incredible!
We then headed back to the beach where we enjoyed several boxes of pizza and non-alcoholic tropical beverages like piña coladas. After around an hour of lounging at the beach, we began walking around the stores surrounding the shore. We bought several souvenirs for family, friends, and each other.
Unfortunately, we were unable to visit the city of Puerto Plata due to persistent rain but when we arrived back at home base it was sunny enough for us to swim in the pool. After mentor groups at 5, we ate our last dinner together and enjoyed our last free time together before our departure tomorrow morning.
Although we are all looking forward to seeing family and friends tomorrow, we are all going to miss each other and the DR very very much.