My name is Sarah Sun and I am from San Francisco. Today I was ELDD (Leader of the Day) for Education Day. After a breakfast of jamón y queso sandwiches with ketchup, which are really good, we had an education seminar where we learned some horrifying statistics about education in the DR – for example, only 48% of teachers here have their credentials. Then, we took la guagua, or the bus, to the UASD’s Bonao campus. At the Universidad Autonoma Santo Domingo, we met with college students in an English immersion class where they talked to us and answered all our questions about education in the DR. The students spoke in English during our entire visit even though some had only begun to learn English a few months ago. I believe only truly dedicated students could learn a language as quickly as they had, and their motivations for studying English – not a requirement in the DR – included improving their job prospects and possibly moving to the United States in the future.
After a lunch back here at the Fundación, we headed to the Bosch library that we had seen on our Bonao tour yesterday. We met the cutest little kids ever who attend a summer camp held at the library and got the chance to talk with them and read both Spanish and English books with them. At times the language barrier was a problem (3rd year Spanish can only get me so far!) but I found that the kids I was reading with were very patient and eager to explain words to me that I didn’t understand. We took a short tour of the library with the kids, saw a beautiful view of Bonao and the surrounding mountains from the roof, and had una merienda, an afternoon snack, with them before we left.
While walking back from the library it started pouring and some of us embraced the crazy weather here in the DR and ran around and danced in the rain until we were completely soaked and dripping. Later, we attended our first CAP seminar where we prepared for the first stage of our Community Action Project taking place tomorrow that Robert, the next ELDD, will talk about tomorrow!
When I went to sign up to be ELDD, I was so happy (and lucky) that one of the only days left was today, Education Day, because I might want to be a teacher in the future. We learned so much about the differences between education in the US and in the DR and the motivation and curiosity shown by both the college students and little kids made the statistics we heard earlier today sound almost like a bad dream. Although we woke up at 6:00 this morning, I think it was completely worth it because we got the chance to talk with people who live here in Bonao and to hear the stories behind the statistics.
Hasta pronto, or see you soon,