Tuesday July 2, 2019
After a long day of travel, all of our lovely Sports students arrived to the Dominican Republic safe and sound. We had some time to check out the local beach 2 minutes away and then had some delicious dinner. We had orientation and all agreed on how to behave appropriately over the next two weeks 🙂
We look forward to going to Caño Dulce tomorrow to start our service project.
Leaders of the Day will be keeping you updated on our adventures from here on out!
Marie, Allison, and Bony (Directors and Mentors)
Wednesday July 3, 2019
Today we woke up and ate breakfast, cooked by local Dominicans who work at our home base. We then went to our project site in Caño Dulce, it was amazing to see the people be so social, they had a great sense of community and everyone seemed to know each other. The community was very hospitable and welcoming to us. We learned that they live with certain lack of resources for things that we may take for granted.
We ate lunch and learned to properly greet each other while eating. We worked hard all day on the local basketball course, extending it by mixing and placing cement in the proper areas needed. We had a community tour and saw Jony’s beehive, his business and income, and tasted the honey that sells… it was delicious. Today was a good, working and learning day.
We came back to the lodge, swam, and ate a really great dinner. After that, we had a presentation on Human Securities. This made us realize how much we take for granted back home or maybe some of our own securities may be lacking. We had good discussions about food, health, environment, political, personal, economic, and community security. The day was very tiring but it was really great. We are so happy to be here.
“its not a cultural immersion course but that’s what we are getting here”
-Your Leaders of the Day,
Graham and Jimmy
Thursday July 4, 2019
¿Que lo que? (Whats up?). Today we continued our mission to finish the basketball court project in beautiful Caño Dulce. We mixed cement together in teams, assigning roles and working together. At 12pm, we had lunch at Mateo’s home where we ate eggplant, arroz, beans, salad, chicken, and fruit (mango was delicious). We played a pick up basketball game with the locals after lunch and then continued to work. We listened to local music, danced, made new friends. The locals are very open and friendly to new people like us, it is very nice to see they understand our purpose and why we are working in their community.
They give us the same respect that we give them. In the afternoon, we went on the beach, got to swim a little bit, played catch, baseball, frisbee toss, soccer, played with dogs, etc. We all are getting to know each other a little bit better. We came back, had a great dinner consisting of tacos (Taco Thursday!), cooked by our lovely chefs Mari and Belli. After dinner, we had an activity/debate about international development in the Dominican Republic, especially in communities of Haitian descent. We learned about governmental economics and citizen rights; how the DR can work together as a community to take on large projects and tasks to help benefit a local community. This helps various different people, like youth and people who are in need of physical activity. We notice how everyone is very inclusive, smiles on their faces, genuinely happy people, and express solidarity.
After Day 3, we have all had a great time learning about the DR culture, how different they are and how special it is to learn about another way of life. We appreciate and enjoy everything we have and we see that joy can be brought to us, not only by materialistic things. We are thankful to be able to spend time in another community very different than ours and that there is more than one side of seeing and living life. We learn to adapt to the resources we have and have fun while doing so.
We look forward to tomorrows surf lessons & sports camp.
Leaders of the Day,
Aaron and Norman
Friday July 5, 2019
Hola a todos (Hello everybody),
Today we woke up at the usual 8 o’clock and ate a delicious breakfast including pancakes, eggs, and the regular watermelon and pineapple. After breakfast, we headed across the street to the beach to attempted to learn some new surfing skills. We went out and tested the waves in groups of three (tres), while the rest of group played catch with a baseball, a frisbee, and played soccer. As the morning progressed and it came time for lunch we headed back to the lodge for some free time.
In our free time we hung out at the big (good) pool while it rained for one of the first times in three months. While in the pool, we did some synchronise dives and cannon balls that made the water splash all over. After some fun in the pool we headed to lunch. For lunch, we had some pasta, rice, and fish which tasted delicious after time at the beach and pool.
After a yummy lunch, we headed out into the local community asking kids if they want to come play at the fields with us. We asked them things like, quieres jugar con nosotros? (Do you want to come play with us). After gathering some kids from the community we split up and played baseball, soccer, dominos, and basketball. Bony, Porter, and Gabe were the only trio that were able to defeat the local Dominicans in basketball, while Jordan got crossed up trying.
During baseball, Norman hit one of the farthest shots today resulting in a homerun! Also, Theo tried baseball for the first time in his life. After our first day of sports camp we came back and had more free time to hang out as a group at the pool.
Sitting at the pool was a nice refresher during a warm afternoon. However, this resulted in many of guys getting sunburnt. After, chilling at the pool we headed back to the dinning hut for another delicious dinner. This dinner included French fries, fried chicken, crushed fried plantains and more fruit.
After a great dinner we sat down in our hangout spot to watch a great movie called “A Fighting Chance” which showed us many stories of people who have overcome their situations to strive and meet their goals in sports. After watching this documentary, everyone shared a story about a time where they were heartbroken after losing a game or match in their respective sports. After the documentary we had some time to play cards and chill before heading to bed. We are all excited for our fun filled day tomorrow at Dudu Lagoon and Playa Preciosa.
– Leaders of the day Porter and Jordan
Saturday July 6, 2019
Hello friends and family,
We woke up to the sound of rain but the skies cleared up on our way to our outings for the day. We ate breakfast and hopped on the bus to go on an excursion to Dudu Lagoon, which was 1.5 hours away. We jumped off rocks into two lagoons where the water was fresh, pretty, and crystal clear surrounded by caves. At first, half our group was scared to jump in, but then hearing how nice the water was, everyone got into it. We went to the second lagoon and played a jumping water game, similar to charades. We watched others zipline into the lagoon which made us excited about our upcoming excursion to 27 Charcos because we’ll be able to slide and jump in those waterfalls. Porter had the best dives, no cap. We dried off and had lunch at the restaurant at Dudu Lagoon. In the afternoon we went to Playa Preciosa which was paradise.
Lots of students body surfed, and Aaron and Theo got their hair braided by a local woman. We had a chance to buy jewelry and Epi, who was selling jewelry to us, even knew Gabe’s family who live nearby! Lots of us bought jewelry. After getting back to home base, we had pool and hang out time before dinner. In the evening, we watched an eye-opening short documentary and talked about confirmation bias of our expectations of another place and considered how we share our experiences when talking with others. We had a fun day and need to put on aloe because sunscreen wears off when we have full days outside!
– Your leaders of the day: Graham and Gabe
Sunday July 7, 2019
It’s Elliot and Shannon here. Today we woke up to the cool morning air and ate a delicious breakfast of Froot Loops, garlic toast, and fruits. We went surfing on the beautiful Dominican beach, running across the white sand into the crashing waves. Emiliano taught us how to wait for the waves while sitting on our surfboards. Some of us, like Samy and Nicolas, caught more waves than the rest. Some of us face planted into the sand! While some were surfing, others were tanning, playing soccer, or throwing frisbees. Afterwards, we headed back to the lodge for a wonderful lunch of rice and chicken, cooked by our wonderful cocineras, Mari and Belli. Over lunch, we talked about our exciting surfing adventure.
In the afternoon, we led a sports camp for the local neighborhood kids. We headed to El Play, where there are basketball courts, baseball fields, and plenty of grass to play and run on. Some of us enjoyed a game of basketball with the teenagers of Las Canas, while others did cartwheels on the grass with some very energetic little girls. We also played a game of baseball, along with a few matches of fútbol (soccer). Tired after a few hours of activity in the sun, we walked back to the lodge for some free time before dinner. Some of us played a game of poker, wagering bottles of honey (made by a local beekeeper!), while others took a refreshing shower or went for a cool dip in the pool.
Our dinner consisted of mashed potatoes, avocados, and fried chicken and fish, complemented by a cup of sweet lemonade. We were joined by Marcello, a student who arrived early for his own program, and who will be staying with us for the next day. Over dinner, we talked about our future pursuits and learned more about each other.
During the sunset, we wandered over to the beach for a dance lesson led by Allison, our mentor. We learned how to salsa; a few of us were apprehensive at first but quickly got into rhythm. A few boys had their hair braided by our local friend, and others ran to play with Chewy, the adorable stray dog who wanders Las Canas. In the end, we all had a fantastic time. Today’s events culminated to form one of the best, most exciting nights thus far.
Shannon and Elliot
Tuesday July 9, 2019
This will be short and sweet tonight since we are all tired. Today we were woke up pretty early and ate some good breakfast. We drove two hours to the 27 Charcos (puddles) and walked through multiple waterfalls and streams to jump off rocks and slides. It was beautiful and refreshing. Later we had some free time, played on the beach, and hangout at the home base. We took pictures in the really nice sunset as well.
Our nightly activity was on the beach tonight and we discussed different sports controversies that we hear and see in the news. It was nice to talk about others perspectives and learn from each other. Some of us learned how to dance bachata, it was funny, we laughed a lot. Tomorrow we have surfing and sports camp, which we always look forward to.
-The Sports Team
Wednesday July 10, 2019
Today we woke up at our usual 8am. Had a delicious breakfast consisting of pancakes, fruit, oatmeal, and eggs. We had our fourth day of surfing with Emi, our instructor. Some of us played catch, soccer, and swam in the water while we waited our turn to surf. The local kids came to hangout with us at the beach too.
We came back to the lodge for some lunch consisting of rice, beans, pork, salad, and fruit. We took a little break and then walked over to sports camp to play baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball and get some of our hair braided by the little girls. They love playing with us just as much as we love being with them.
After sports camp, we had an activity where we shared about an item that best represents ourselves. Some people used their baseball gloves, photos, hat, ear plugs, lifeguard buoy, and other things. It was nice to learn about each other that way, we practiced our active listening skills 🙂 We ate dinner and then had some free time. We played cards, charades, and hung out by our rooms, it was a chill night filled with lots of laughs. Tomorrow is our last day of surfing and sports camp. We are grateful for Emi and all his patience teaching all of us to surf.
-Leaders of the day,
Jordan and Maddie
Thursday July 11, 2019
Today was the 10th day of our adventures in the Dominican Republic and one of our most informative. We started the day off with a delicious breakfast of papaya smoothie and garlic toast. Next we went out with Emiliano for our last surfing lesson. Rough circumstances brought upon us two broken surfboards but we made do with the ones that worked. After we finished the session, we enjoyed a Dominican delicacy, fried chicken and rice. We then gave Emiliano a card, which we had all signed, as a token of our appreciation for all that he had thought us in the past week.
In the afternoon, we headed to our last sports camp, where we played the usual baseball, basketball, and fútbol. As the only girl playing, Abigail had the highlight of the day as she crossed Liuz, a Dominican teen that we play basketball with, up so badly that he fell onto his back and everyone watching went wild with amazement. At the end of the camp, we took pictures with the Dominican kids and said heartbreaking goodbyes.
Then we went to get ice cream at a local shop before we finally went back to home base. We relaxed and played cards before enjoying our last meal of the day, which consisted of chicken (with really good sauce), plantains, vegetables, and lemonade. We finished off the day with an extremely interestingly seminar, given by our three local directors: Bony, Junior, and Loubens. They are all Haitian-Dominicans and they shared their personal stories about the inequality of Hatians in the Dominican Republic. We are excited for the hike to the community, Brisón, tomorrow.
Thanks for reading,
Elliot and Nicolas
Friday July 12, 2019
Shannon and Maddie here! Today we woke up early at 6:30 to get an early start for our hike up Mount Brisón. After a delicious breakfast of toast, eggs, and fruit, we enjoyed an exciting hour-and-a-half car ride, filled with music. We arrived at the base of the mountain, preparing for the hike and meeting the members of the community.
The hike proved to be steeper than we expected, but we persevered and were able to enjoy the views and learn a lot about the community as we progressed upward. We stopped at a local’s house, and discovered how they cook food with a fire in between three rocks, which is called a fogón.
We also saw the latrines that they used, and were able to take on a different perspective about various ways of life. Our wonderful leaders, Marie, Allison, and Sydney, helped us connect what we were seeing to the seven human securities that our trip focuses on. For example, the cows, pigs, and chickens that the families own provide food security for them.
A third of the way to our destination, we stopped at Juanita’s house, where she was selling bizcocho (cake-bread flavored with cinnamon and ginger) and beautiful handmade bracelets. Juanita even offered to spell out our names on them with alphabet beads! We refilled our water bottles and continued the trek upward, looking forward to meeting her again on the way back down.
After another half-hour of persistence, we were rewarded with amazing views of rolling green hills. Doña Máxima, the head of the community, as well as some of the neighbors, welcomed us into her home for a lunch of rice, beans, and chicken. Some of us also danced salsa and bachata, invigorated by the music she was playing!
The walk back down the mountain was slightly treacherous, but in our opinion, much easier than the path upward. On the way back to the lodge, we made a quick stop at Bon, our new favorite ice cream place. For dinner, we enjoyed rice, vegetables, chicken, and fruit. After dinner, we discussed 7e’s human securities and how they related to the Brisón community, before working on a goal-setting activity.
We resolved to pursue the five goals we came up with: 1. Not taking anything for granted, 2. Learning about our community, 3. Understanding our privilege+advocating for others, 4. Sharing our experiences, and 5. Recognizing our socioeconomic differences. And now, we’re heading to bed in anticipation of tomorrow’s activities at Caño Dulce!
-Your Leaders of the Day, Shannon and Maddie
Hola, k lo k? (what’s up?)
Today we went to Cano Dulce community for the third and final day of working on the basketball court. After much dirt and sweat, we finished building the extension and felt accomplished for completing our goal. We brought down the basketball hoop in order to re-center it, which was a feat that several took turns working on. We had to break up the concrete holding up the hoop, and then they will continue with additional tools or support to clear the cement and measure and re-center the hoop for the court. We felt good about what we were able to get done.
After a hard working day, we went to Bon for a refreshing ice cream. Afterwards during free time, the group split up, where some of us went to the pool and other went to play a game of basketball once again. During our nightly group meeting, we discussed the seven elements and what it takes to be a global citizen. Everyone participated in small group conversations and learned a lot from the counselors and the TED talk. All of us have mixed emotions, where we are sad that we are leaving in two days, but tomorrow we are going to have a wonderful day snorkeling.
Leaders of the Day Jimmy and Samy