Tuesday June 19, 2018
Saludos from the Dominican Republic!
The Sports Service Adventure (SSA) team is off to a great start! We had 8 students arrive together on the first flight in the early this afternoon. We greeted the 5 other students that arrived a little later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, our group is still incomplete while we wait for Spencer S. to arrive tomorrow. The students are eager to welcome him and fill him in on all of the program details and the island life here at the lodge. We took a group photo at the airport but cannot wait to make it complete with him.
This afternoon was short as we headed back to the lodge to settle into our rooms and get to know each other and the two dogs at the lodge, Ernie and Oscar. Afterwards, the group enjoyed a traditional Dominican dish of rice, beans, chicken and salad followed by some fresh local fruit. After dinner, we spent time learning each other’s names and competing in some arm wrestling with Loubens, our Local Director.
JoLyn, the International Director, led an orientation and delivered important information about cultural norms here in the Dominican Republic as well as covering the program essentials like policies and itinerary information. Throughout the 2 week program, each day 2 students will be our leaders of the day and will be responsible for writing the blog update and leading activities. We look forward to using this platform to give families and friends updates about this unforgettable service learning adventure. Here in the SSA program, we are ready to get the ball rolling, literally!
Wednesday June 20, 2018
This is Spencer G. and Joshua, the leaders of the day for Wednesday, June 20th. Last year, we met each other from another GLA service program, the Costa Rica Sports and Service Adventure. There, we learned the core values of the program (and surfing!).
Today, exhausted and sleepy after countless hours traveling, accomplished many things and got to know each other more. We started the day with a local breakfast with eggs, potatoes, bread and fruit. After, we learned about surfing with a presentation from Sarah, our mentor. We learned not only how to surf, but what means to be a surfer. We got our first lesson in the pool, and shortly headed down to the beach. The beach was very beautiful and after a short introduction to meditation, we finally got into the ocean.
After the morning of catching waves, we went back to the lodge to eat lunch. The chefs provided us with chicken, rice, and an assortment of fruits. After lunch we went to Caño Dulce and repainted the floor of their local basketball court. There we talked with some locals and then headed home to eat dinner. We were happy to welcome Spencer S. who arrived at the lodge after we got back from service. The group is now complete! After dinner we had a fun “ get to know you” activity which concluded the great day!
Thursday June 21, 2018
This is Elliot and Ben, the leaders of the day for Thursday, June 21st. I’m Elliot, and I come from Boulder, CO as a sophomore. I’m Ben, and I come from Katy, Texas as a senior. Today, we learned the 7 Human Securities of Dominican Republic which are economic security, environmental security, political security, food security, health security, community security and individual/personal security.
In the morning, we practiced surfing again, and today, the waves were a lot better. Yesterday, it was hard to stand up because the waves weren’t as strong but we were actually surfing today. We also learned about the history and details of surfing through a couple ted-talks. In the afternoon, we helped re-make a basketball court by mixing cement. We mixed cement for the local mason to pave the court. Meanwhile during our breaks, we played baseball with local kids, and they were way better than any of us. Finally, we figured out that we can eat the bananas that were hanging in the common area…they weren’t just for decoration!
Friday June 22, 2018
Lola and Kaden here. We had a pretty filled day on Friday so we decided to combine two updates in one post! On Friday, we woke up at an ungodly hour (6:30am) to hop on the bus for a two hour drive to 27 Charcos! This adventure entailed a 30 minute hike up a mountain where we spent the next few hours jumping and sliding into fresh clear water pools.We watched Scott do some awesome flips and impress the locals. We trudged back to the bus where we then drove a few minutes to a local restaurant where we ate supper yummy food and played some table games. Once our bellies were full, we took the two hour drive back to home base in which many people napped.
Our afternoon was spent swimming in the ocean and learning the basics of kiteboarding. For dinner we had the usual yummy chicken, rice, and beans. We had an awesome lecture from our surf instructor, Sarah, who taught us about the tubular experience of sharing the sick bird waves and corrupt sport businesses.The night ended with a fun game of light-up frisbee on the beach. We learned being courageous and taking risks. We had a fun, adventurous, and unforgettable day!!
Saturday June 23, 2018
Our names are Luke and Philip. Today (Saturday), we woke up at 8 and went surfing from 9-12. The waves were bigger than before and a bunch of people got up. Afterwards we had lunch back at the lodge, before getting on the bus and heading to our community service. Our community service was at Polancos village which is about 15 minutes away from the lodge. We continued making the basketball court and spent three hours mixing more cement. The local children were very excited to see us and worked hard to help us meet the deadline for mixing the cement. Baseball is a very important part of their culture and we played some baseball with some of the younger children during breaks. We returned to the home base at 4, and after two hours of free time finished up the night with dinner and a documentary about baseball in the DR.
Sunday June 24, 2018
Hey, this is Maia, and I am writing about our day yesterday. The first thing we did when we woke up was eat breakfast at 8:00. At 9:00, we went surfing. Although the waves were not too big, they
were nicer than the days before, which was good because we could learn how to get up.
In the afternoon we mixed concrete at a basketball court. My favorite part about the day was seeing the local and kids. They were so nice and happy to help and that was there main priority (besides wanting to play!). Yesterday (June 24th) was also Lola’s birthday and unfortunately, Scott’s last day with us because of family reasons. We had a cake to celebrate Lola’s birthday after dinner and a nice, relaxing last night with Scott. We already miss him!
Monday June 25, 2018
Toby and Spencer S. here! Today, the first thing we did was eat breakfast at 6:30. We got on the bus at about 7 to go hiking at Brison. The hike was 3 miles in the mountains. We learned and saw first hand how far the local kids have to walk everyday for school. We also saw many nice views and cows during this hike.
The best part was eating the food and ice cream at the top of the mountain. Toby and Spencer S. led the pack while hiking. It was a long, hot, day, but we saw lots of beautiful sights. After, we got back to the lodge and all went in for a nap. Then, we just had a normal night with dinner and the lecture given by Sarah about healthcare & economy in third world countries. Now we are having a chill night and hanging out with each other. Lola, Sarah, and Alex are playing ukelele as we speak (and type)! Tomorrow is laundry day for our group, which we are excited about because we need to wash our work clothes. Tomorrow morning Sarah is taking us for a sunrise surf session! We are all excited for our last day of surfing and for going to Laguna DuDu after lunch! Can’t wait to see the zipline and play volleyball.
Over and out,
Maia, Toby, & Spencer S.
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Hi it’s Julian and Sean!
In the morning we went surfing for the last time and the waves were very big. We woke up at 5:30 for a sunrise surf. We went to the beach and surfed in cold water with huge waves and watched the sunrise. The sunrise was beautiful but difficult to see. But overall, it was an amazing experience spent with some terrific people. We felt like we were just starting to get the hang of surfing but then it was our last day. Playing soccer by the waves made a great morning. After lunch we hopped on the bus and went to Dudu lagoon. Dudu has a zipline where you hold your own weight and fall into a body of water 35 feet down (don’t worry, everyone was safe). Some of us did it up to 3 times and called it quits. At night JoLyn gave a lecture on the power of positivity and we talked about different things that contribute to our happiness.
Wednesday June 27, 2018
This is Benjamin Michael Snow Rothwell and Legendary Lola. Today we had an entire day of service. This entailed many hours of the morning spent mixing cement and sweating our booties off . We stopped back at home base for a quick lunch/nap. We returned for a lovely afternoon of mixing even more cement and sweating even more. The afternoon was blissfully spent either napping, showering, or swimming in the pool. Our lunch was, to no surprise, some yummy chicken and rice followed by a lecture about the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We are all incredibly exhausted and sore and so pumped for the next few days of full service.
Thanks for reading,
Lola (and rothie ig)
Thursday June 28, 2018
Today was a fantastic day filled with work, food and relaxation. We woke up to a delicous breakfast. We headed out to the basketball court that we have been working on for the past 3 days and began to draw in the lines and paint the court. The children were excited to see us and were stoked that we finally finished cementing the court.
They helped us out tremendously with painting the court, however a few of the little kids hijacked our bus and started honking the horn crazily. After a few hours of hard work, we headed back to the lodge, ate lunch, and got ready to head to an ice cream shop. We didn’t know where we were going but it was a sweet surprise! We ended the night by chilling and celebrating Maia’s birthday with a chocolate cake!
-Kaden & Josh
Friday June 29, 2018
Today we went surfing, played baseball, cleaned trash off the beach and learned how to kite-surf. There were big waves for our last surf session. We headed down the road to play baseball with some local kids on a pasture that was only a few yards away from the ocean. Baseball is the biggest sport in the DR, and the kids were better than us even though some were only half our age. After lunch we walked to the beach to pick up the trash that congregates there every day. Sarah, JoLyn and Loubens created an obstacle course for us on the beach and we had fun trying to get the best time. After that we continued to learn kite-surfing, but it was very windy. We were not able to kite surf on the trip, but everyone learned the basic skills. We came back to the lodge and relaxed after a long day, and enjoyed taco night.
-Tobias & Luke
Hi, its Julian and Maia. Today (Saturday) was a full service day. We were finishing the basketball court we started on service day 2. It was really cool that we got to see a project start to finish. It is really rare that it happens. In the morning we painted the red and blue parts on the court. After the morning session, we came back and ate lunch. In the afternoon we went back and we finished painting the court and the backboard looked very good. It was our last day of service and we had a great time finishing what we started. It was really fun to talk and play with the locals. It was really sad to leave them but we were also happy because the basketball court that was a lot better than it was before.
-by Julian and Maia
Sunday July 1, 2018
Hi, its Sean and Spencer G. Today, we woke up at at 5:50 to watch the sunrise and walk along the beach. Then, after breakfast we went to a local dominican beach for the day. We swam, ate delicious food and interacted with the locals. Today, we also snorkeled while shimmying through rocks, coral, and sea urchins (which we carefully avoided!) We enjoyed empanadas, coconuts, pineapples and some savory cold ice cream. We will finish our last night on the island with a bonfire and our last dinner (most likely rice and chicken!). It has been a great time here and the farewells will not be anticipated, however students are excited to return to the comfort of air conditioning, comfy beds, WiFi and of course our families!
-by Spencer G. & Sean