We enjoyed teaching people and practicing how to make fried plantains. We also liked listening to everyone’s opinions about the skills we developed today, and creating the next day’s schedule.
Helping build the house today was a great experience because we saw a different side of life that we otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. Seeing the many children enthusiastically helping out by mixing cement, putting cement on the walls, or assisting each student was eye-opening to this culture. It gave us a good understanding to have to carry buckets , as it helps build character and exposes us to the hardships that the people in this community have to overcome everyday.
We participated in a mix of cultural activities by both helping build the house and cooking the plantains (tostones). This successful day helped us to create an enthusiastic and inspired mentality that we will be able to carry for the next week on this trip.
Already, we can see that the behavior and level of participation has improved today just by the aura and energy that each person brings to the group; we all have different assets that allow us to work as a team and get the job done, such as helping to finish building the bottle house.
We are lucky to have such solidarity and inclusiveness among the people in our group, and we know that it will help us all throughout the trip.
Photo to come!
We wanted to share a photo of our group with everyone!
Today we spent the day in Severe. Our team painted several rooms in the local school. During our time there we got to interact with a lot of the young children. It amazed us how happy these kids were with the little they had. They were singing, dancing and laughing the entire time.
After we finished work at the school, we headed over to a market in a small town nearby. They sold small homemade jewelry. This really opened up our eyes to differences in the ways that we live.
Once we returned to the base we got the opportunity to learn how to make sweet-beans. Sweet-beans is an important aspect of Dominican culture during Easter. It is made by blending boiled beans and milk together and then adding other sweet ingredients.
In the end of the day everybody learned something about Dominican culture opened up their eyes to the families that lived there.
Today we got up at 7 am to attempt some beach yoga. After that we had an amazing breakfast.
We then go on the bus for a short ride to the Bottle House. We all worked hard on putting the cement on some of the walls, while the rest of our team cut the wires and placed bottles in behind the wires.The service project is really coming together!
For lunch we had baked chicken, rice and beans, yuka and salad. After lunch we went back to working on the houses until it was time to leave.
When we got back from the bottle house we went to the beach until it started raining. We came back from the beach, showered and then a few of us got our hair braided by the local people. Some of the girls got back from the hair braiding session and decided to hang a hammock in one of the rooms.
By 6 everyone was ready for dinner. The team lined up for a wonderful dinner, and sat and bonded while devouring the delicious burritos. We listened to a lecture on the history of the Dominican republic and discussed a video that we had watched the night before. We then listened to and admired Walner’s amazing story of his past and struggles in the Dominican republic.
We broke up into mentor groups to discuss the stories we had just heard, and to really realize what we were hearing about the rough Dominican Republic government, and discussed how we could try and attempt at making the world a better place. We learned today that the Haitians are not considered citizens even if they were born there. We also discussed among groups how we all would like to help with the government and the communities in need.
Today we had our fun day! The 14 of us attended Dudu.
Dudu is a sinkhole with a zip line across it and a series of caves. The water was crystal clear and very deep. Almost everyone in the group went on the zip line. Basically, you hold on to the handles then fly out into the middle of the sink hole and drop into 85ft deep water. It was a blast!
In between all the swimming we played games such as soccer and volleyball while others chose to partake in tanning. At noon we had a delicious lunch prepared locally by the staff of Dudu. Then after lunch we continued to swim, jump and tan.
Later that day we headed back to home base and had dinner. We ended the night strong with a good discussion about the seven elements to the basic needs of survival. The Seven Elements are made up of Political, Economical, Food, Health, Community, Individual and Environmental.
Then we split up into mentor groups to partake in our own discussions. After that it was off to bed. In all it was a great day! Looking forward to the next two days!
-Abbey Vince and Riana Dunko