Us at the in front of the beautiful mural in town hall!
Our group after our amazing dance lessons!
Today was by far the funnest and most educational day we had in the Dominican Republic and I am looking forward to many more!
We started off the day by having a delicious breakfast made of fresh cut fruits, yogurt, and cereal! Then we headed back to the hotel to discuss why culture matters. We shared opinions about the differences between Dominican and American cultures.
Later we had a history teacher from Dominican Republic educate us about the history of Dominican Republic and their relationship with Haiti. She explained why the Dominican Republic is such a diverse country.
Next we had a guest speaker who prepared us for tomorrow’s activity: “Model UN”. This activity gives the students a glimpse of what takes place in a meeting in United Nations when negotiating to resolve a conflict. The students are divided into three groups each representing, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the United States. They are given a reading assignment to learn more about the issues on the island and United State’s role within it. Tomorrow they will be debating and resolving real world problems in a setting that resembles the United Nations.
After the lectures we stopped by the restaurant for lunch. Rice with corn, chicken in a delicious sauce, and pasta salad. We then headed to the town hall and were greeted by local musicians and dance instructors. First they demonstrated traditional dances of the Dominican Republic performed to live music, and then they TAUGHT us how to dance, Merengue and Bachata! Every student got a chance to dance and some were even brave enough to play the musical instruments.
As if that was not enough, we walked outside to a big political celebration which also included live music and dancing. As it turns out today was the day that Dominican Republic passed a law to limit the number of terms that a president can serve in the Dominican Republic! Prior to today, a president could run indefinitely for office. It was great to celebrate this moment with the Dominicans!
Personally it has been rewarding to see the students truly engage and immerse themselves in the culture. I have a sneaking suspicion that some the friendships made on this trip will last a lifetime!