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Tuesday July 23, 2019
Today we accomplished many things. It first started when the team headed to La Grua, about a two hour drive from the lodge. It is a community that is shared by both people of Dominican and Haitian decent. We had instructions by Tre, one of the interns at 7 Elements, and they taught us how to mix cement properly. Afterwards, we got into groups and made our own cement piles, we also had locals help us which made it interesting and fun. We learned a lot about their community and had cool conversations with all the locals, from the kids to the elderly.
We did an hour and half of work then headed off to have some lunch in a community center. We went back to work in the afternoon under the sun and worked so hard that we finished our project! The basketball court looks really great, now the locals will have somewhere to play until we completely finish it with paint. We were sure to thank the locals for helping us so much with the project as we were leaving their community.
We drove back to the lodge and then went to the beach that is two minute walking distance. After a long day of work, we were excited to eat some delicious dinner. We ate vegetables in rice called locrio, chicken, vegetables, fresh fruit, passion fruit juice, and salad. To finish the day off, we had a great discussion about the 7 Elements of Human Security (the partnership organization based down here in the DR).
Looking forward to another work day tomorrow!
-Leaders of the Day,
Gina & Evelyn
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today was our third day in the Dominican! We had an extra hour of sleep to prepare us for the day ahead. After some great breakfast, we commuted to Cano Dulce on the guagua (bus). We arrived ready for our new project, which is building a bottle house. While the idea of constructing a bottle house was new to us, we got right to work after being split into our groups. We had three groups: collecting water, mixing cement, and smoothing the cement onto the walls.
The locals assisted us with our project, and we were able to rotate our jobs between groups every 30 minutes. Seeing as the locals were very ahead of us in their construction skills, they were so generous in teaching us their techniques. We came back to the lodge for free time and then had dinner. We had an activity about gender, race, class, etc. and then had a reflection on the beach. We are all very excited to get to know each other this week, we already feel like family J
-Quetzali y Paloma
Thursday July 25, 2019
Our fourth day started at 8:30am for breakfast along with another group. We had scrambled eggs, with pepper, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, and a delicious banana smoothie. After breakfast, we made our way to Caño Dulce to continue working on the bottle house. There, we continued the empañado, which is applying the smooth layer of cement to the walls of the house. Some of us got to meet Jonny who plays guitar beautifully and is also the community bee-keeper. Some of us even got to taste a fruit called limoncillo.
After an hour or so of work, we did a community tour. We got to see the building that held the world record built with the most water bottles. Regardless, of the many things the community has to offer, we learned about the difficulties they go through, for example, the drought. We got to see the dry river in which this community strongly depended on for water resources. Other groups in GLA have water tank projects on top of the community hill in order to help resolve the drought issue.
To finish off the day, we had dinner followed by a Ted Talk and our discussion related to the central theme of only knowing someones ‘single story’. Lastly, to celebrate the hard work these past three days, we danced a little bit of bachata and played a fun game together.
-Leaders of the Day
Laura y Saul
Friday July 27, 2019
We woke up to a delicious breakfast of pancakes and oatmeal with fruit along with another group (International Development Initiative). We took the bus to Dudu Lagoon and ventured off into the beautiful caves. We took a dip in one of the lagoons, and some of us even jumped off of a ten-foot rock. The water was cold and refreshing in the hot humid air. It started to pour on us mid-swim, but we didn’t mind. Lunch came sooner than expected, and we had spaghetti, chicken, fresh fruit, and salad. After lunch most of us relaxed in the shade, while a few of us played a couple rounds of volleyball.
We then took a ride to Playa Preciosa, which is a beautiful beach accompanied by many friendly vendors. Some of us bought gifts for our family members and friends back home, such as jewelry and wooden carvings. We took a little dip in the calm ocean waves and had a blast lounging on the beach. Some of us even got our hair braided! Once we returned to the lodge, we were welcomed by wonderful tacos and chinola (passionfruit) juice.
We got to learn from and talk with two members of the community named Maicol and Madelyn. We had the opportunity to ask them about what life is like in the Dominican Republic for them, as well as about their future academic and career goals. After our discussion with Maicol and Madelyn was over, we had a dance session with them. We are looking forward to tomorrow, where we will be returning to work in Cano Dulce!
Saturday July 27, 2019
!!Que lo que muchach@s!!
Today we woke up to a humid, sunny morning around 8 AM. Breakfast was in the back kitchen, where we ate eggs, toast, oatmeal, cereal, and last but not least, fruit. After breakfast we took two buses to Caño Dulce. We continued to work on the bottle house, focusing on leveling the soon-to-be cement floor as well as building window frames. Lunch consisted of chicken, rice and beans, fried eggplants, and fruit along with maduros (fried banana).
Afterwards, Jonny gave us a tour of his bee farm which has been passed down to him through several generations while we snacked on some raw cocoa. We worked for a few more hours before heading to the lodge and spending some time in the big pool. While some of us splashed in the pool, others spent their free time reading by the edge or taking a refreshing shower. As for dinner, we had a traditional Dominican dish: Sancocho, consisting of chicken with potatoes and carrots dipped in a special sauce, accompanied by fresh avocado, fruit, and white rice. For the nightly discussion, we watched a video that covered the history and conflict between Haitians and Dominicans.
Our guest speakers were Junior, Papi Walner, and Loubens. They spoke about their experiences as Haitians residing in the Dominican Republic and answered a few questions in regards to their personal life like their safety, worries, and health. To end the night, we all gathered in the kitchen braiding hair, exchanging social media, chismeando, but most importantly, killing dumb bugs with the chancla.
-Hasta luego, sus lideres: Jonathan y Leslie
Sunday July 28, 2019
Today we woke up at 5 am due to a massive thunder/lighting storm. It didn’t end til 6:30. We left the home base at 9 to go to Playa Caletón, where we went on a boat and went on a 20 minute ride to a cave and we are able to jump off the boat and swim by the shore. We then went to another part of the beach where there was plenty of people having fun in the sun. We stayed there for 4 hours as we swam, played, and ate lunch on the beach. We also played with some locals who wanted to join the fun.
At 3:30 we left and came back to swim even more in the big pool with our team. There were also some other of the students from the other groups swimming there too. At 6 we ate dinner at the first kitchen that we started with. We greeted our old cooks with big smiles and they did the same. Later on we went to the nearby beach to do a show and tell activity. During that activity we all shared personal stories and life events. A quick rainstorm started to approach us so we evacuated and made it back to the kitchen that we ate dinner at. We had a quick group discussion and talked about our thoughts on the day. To end the night we listened to music with our AMAZING family. :))))))))
aaaaaRRRRRRRRRRRRRaaaaa and stay tuned for tomorrows posts!
Leaders of the Day- Sky & Elai XD
Monday July 29, 2019
Hey y’all its your girl Nae,
Today we woke and had the usual breakfast, oatmeal, cereal, fruits, bread, milk, etc. We got everything together for the day including the first aid kit and water jugs. We went to Caño Dulce to work on the bottle house, we were hammering the wires together, placing water bottles, and finishing up all the other bits and pieces. For lunch we had really good chicken, rice and beans, and salad. We went back to the bottle house after lunch and we finished up our projects that we had started in the morning.
We all felt really good at the end of the day because we worked so hard on the house. We made a lot of local friends in the community, it felt special to connect with them and practice our Spanish with them while they learned English. We said our goodbyes to everyone and then made our way back home to the lodge. We went to the local campamiento (park/field) that had basketball courts and grassy fields, and it lead to the beach. We met with our friends from the Las Canas community and then we went back to the lodge for dinner. We had a muy bueno cena from our favorite cooks Mari y Beba, and we had pescado y rice y frijoles y frutas.
We then had some free time, and then had a nighttime activity about water security. We then had a send-off for our good friend, Trey, where we threw him in the pool as a surprise. We shared our goodbyes with Trey (he’s a 7 Elements staff member, but he is leaving to go back home to Indiana tomorrow to start school). During our nighttime free time after our discussion, we played games, chatted, and bonded a lot. We then got ready for bed to prepare for the day ahead. Sign out!
Toodles from your girl (de tu chica), Nae.
Tuesday July 30, 2019
In the morning, we went to each room and woke up everyone because we were the leaders of the day. For breakfast, we had mango, eggs, pancakes, and watermelon. Everyone ate, and then we got on the bus with great air conditioning because a girl was hot. We went to Puerto Plata to see the amber museum, and everyone in the group really enjoyed it. Larimar is really special to the Dominican Republic because it is only mined here, and we even had the opportunity to purchase some amber and larimar! After the museum, we got souvenirs and walked down a busy street with lots of restaurants and karaoke places. The street had umbrellas hanging from up high, making for a great photo opportunity. A lot of people got gaspados, which is a cup of shaved ice with fruit flavored syrup poured over the top of it.
After, we did some shopping and explored the rest of the city. We had lunch at a buffet-style restaurant, and then went to San Felipe Fort on the water. We got headsets and the tour guide told us the history of the Spanish ships. The Spanish built San Felipe fort to protect them from pirate invasion. After, we went to get ice cream! Then, we all knocked out on the bus ride back to the lodge. We swam in the pool and had a nacho/taco bar for dinner. After dinner, we watched an interesting documentary about the stories of three athletes, and then danced to Shakira under the pavilion as it stormed outside. #ErnieAndTiffForLife #BugsDontBiteMe #Museum #6DaysLeft
Wednesday July 31, 2019
Today we woke up as normal and had breakfast at 8:15 and at 9 we headed out to Cabarete Caves where we picked up trash. The community is trying to get rid of the overload of trash from the street by making a boat out of recycled bottles and more trash cans for the community to eliminate littering. We also talked to the community members about the project and how they could get rid of the trash off the streets.
Then we explored the deep water caves and rock figures. We went to a cave where we jumped from a 15 foot rock. We swam for a bit and then went to pick up lunch, which was pizza, we than we to Playa Sosuá where we ate and hung out, looked in the stores and went into the water until 3pm. We headed back to the lodge and hung out until dinner. For dinner we had red chicken, rice with habichuelas, platano fritos and salad. We then watched a ted talk about entrapuners and we also read an article about the changes people make to community’s without asking for their opinions.
We are getting ready for Brisón tomorrow!
Your Leaders of the Day,
Sam and Dora
Thursday July 1, 2019
Today we woke up extra early (around 6:45am) and then ate our breakfast. We then rode an hour and a half on the guaugua (bus) to Brison, which is a mountain community. When we got to Brison, we went to the colmado (store) to buy drinks and snacks to have on our way up the mountain. Although the hike was very steep and difficult to walk up, the group made it with encouraging words from Sky.
On the way up Brison, we saw a lot of farm animals and different types of houses. We stopped at Dona Juanita’s house to get chocolate cake, and then explored her backyard which had a bee farm, fruit trees, a fogon (outdoor stove), pigs, and a vegetable garden. After that, we started walking up the hill to Dona Maxima’s house. Due to having a rest stop in the middle of the hike, it was easier to walk up the hill. Something that motivated the group to get up the hill was to get cake at the top, but instead we found ice cream and ice cold water!
At the top, we were able to meet a Dona Maxima (a leader of the community) and a few of her family members and neighbors. We also had lunch there, and were able to ask Dona Maxima questions about her community and her life in Brison. The lunch consisted of chicken, chick peas, rice, salad, and fruit. After that, we walked back down to the guagua and rode back to the lodge.
At the lodge, we took some free time to swim until dinner at 6pm. After dinner, we had a group discussion about the 7 elements of human security (food, environmental, personal, community, political, economic, health) in the different communities that we have visited, and compared the securities and insecurities that we observed to our own home towns in the Bay Area.
After our group discussion, we played a game of charades that got very competitive. Then, it was quiet hours and we went back to our rooms to take a long sleep to prepare for the morning. Peace out!
Cho and Naomy (your leaders of the day).
Hello Everyone Back Home,
Today we had an early start at our day, woke up around 6:30am. We ate a really quick breakfast and headed out on the guagua at 7:30 to drive two hours to La Grua. We got straight to work, mixing cement and getting the paint ready for the basketball court. We went through seven bags of cement and about 10 cans of paint. After a few hour of hard work we started lunch at 12:30. Lunch consisted of chicken, tacos, and fruit. We also got the chance to visit a new colmados.
We then worked another hour and a half or so before we embarked on the community tour. We got the chance to walk through the batey and view the difference between the Dominican and Haitian neighborhoods. After engaging in a fun learning experience we arrived at the lodge at 5:20. We had dinner at 6:00 like always and after the delicious dinner we started our fun, interesting, and exciting debate. We split into 4 groups and debated whether or not a sports complex should be built in the community we visited today. To end the night, we had a little spa night and we all put green, Shrek-like mask. Thank you and stay tuned for tomorrows exciting new blog.
-Elai and Gabi