Hi all! My name is Gabriella Cory, from Lowell High School in San Francisco. Today I got the exciting challenge of being the leader of the day for our first CAP (Community Action Project) delivery day! Our task for the day was to dive into our massive project of constructing an indoor playground and game area in La Loma, which we hope will have the effect of drawing in larger demographics of tourists, workers, and volunteers who could not otherwise come due to their responsibilities over their children. We also hope that the fun and engaging environment we are trying to cultivate will create a strong bond to the community for the kids who play in it, establishing a future generation of Dominicans and global citizens who will identify with Esteban’s dream, and keep it alive. We’ve set the bar high for ourselves, to say the least!
We started off our day with cutting breakfast short and sending half the group out to town to purchase materials for construction and the toys we wanted for the play area. This ended up being extremely hectic, as originally we had an entire afternoon allotted for the whole group to buy supplies, but due to scheduling changes, this task was reduced to one fleeting hour of budget confusion and product improvisation. Although we had carefully calculated the budget the night before, we ended up barely having enough money to scrape by. Maybe this snafu was due to a calculation error, maybe it was due to the overspending of a shopper’s high, the important thing was we ended up with a lovely assortment of games and toys for the children of La Loma to play with!
After a hectic morning, the whole gang hopped on a bus to La Loma, eager to get out hands dirty—and that we did! When we arrived in the back half of Esteban’s bamboo workshop (the designated area for our playground), it was full of bamboo furniture that we had to clear out, and the walls and floors were garnished with dust and cobwebs and wasp nests, oh my! We were met by a group of local volunteer workers whose ages ranged from about 8 to 12. A little teamwork went a long way, because we were able to get the whole room cleaned in the one hour we had before lunch! Lunch time was planning time, and we divided the work up into three groups: A group to build a sandbox, a group to paint the swing set, and a group to get started on painting the walls of the room. All ran smoothly at first, until we realized that while the group in charge of buying the toys went full throttle that morning, those in charge of painting supplies were a little more purchase-shy. It seemed that we did not have enough paint primer to cover all three walls we had to paint. In addition to that, the task of painting the swing set went buy in a flash, while painting the walls could have used more manpower. Again, the issue was a lack of supplies. We ended up having group members jobless because there were not enough brushes and rollers for everyone to get started on painting the walls. Because of this, we weren’t able to quite reach our goal for the day, which was to finish painting the walls. But this did not stop the morale of the group!
Even though we didn’t get as far as we thought we would for the first day, we have a lot to be proud of. We had a lot less time than planned, and we had not anticipated the Esteban’s workshop would still be filled with furniture. Considering our many obstacles for the day, we got a lot done and learned a lot along the way. We got to work with some inspiring younger children, who, although weren’t completely aware of what our project was, showed extreme dedication and enthusiasm towards whatever task presented to them. We also learned that our own dedication and enthusiasm only got us half way to where we wanted to be—we need in the future to match them with equal planning and critical thinking of what steps we realistically needed to take to reach our goal.
We did end the day on a high note with our final English classes! Most of us showed appreciation to our students with a fun class of games, food, and group pictures! After our final farewells to our students, we had one final meeting about how to go about tomorrow (our final delivery day). After one last meeting addressing logistics, I am confident that we have everything in place to have a productive last day of working, and I know we have the drive, passion, and dedication to finish this project (all we really needed was the facilitation of some extra planning). After spending almost an entire Global Glimpse trip with this group, I know that if anyone can get the job done, it’s us! And I couldn’t be more honored to be working with the people I’m working with. That’s all for today, thanks for tuning in!