“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered” -Nelson Mandela
First off, I would like to give thanks for everybody in this delegation, whether they are a child at heart, friend, student, or other–they made this trip what is was.
Now for an introduction, I am Nathan Tietz, your last Lider del Dia, with the last blog update, the one that was picked to keep the energy high today, and proud member of Constanza’s second-ever Global Glimpse delegation.
Reality began to set in last night. While sitting around reminiscing about first impressions, thoughts began to turn to the future to come. People talk about how experiences in foreign places change a person for a lifetime, most commonly referring to the struggle of war and its negative effects. The reverse is also true however, as when we arrive in the airport to your loving arms, you will notice something. A different something.
We, the children, have changed.
We have changed through numerous trials over these past 17 days in the Dominican Republic.
We have changed to have a better perspective of the world.
Rest assured, this change is for the best. You will notice us acting differently around the community. You will notice a different work ethic, but most importantly, you will notice that we have all become more compassionate–a major theme of our trip as a whole.
But now for today’s recap.
To be completely honest, there was very little on the schedule today except for a two and a half hour long self reflection and a three hour goodbye party with our friends here in Constanza. In those hours, in and around the free time, we as a group learned so much.
So very, very much.
We learned that through the course of this trip, which could accurately be described as human events, we forged bonds that will never be broken. We discovered the fear of losing contact with those whom have become close. Today, more than any other day on this trip, we discovered what it truly means to be a family.
Again, you will see this change, because even though it is not physical, it will affect our actions. And our actions will speak louder than any string of words contrived in any human tongue. We will have changed for the better, there is no doubt in my mind.
Today, there was nothing more surprising to me than what happened last night. I personally came into this trip afraid to make friends, paranoid that they would eventually leave me. But last night, after proving my worth to accept the signature torch of El Lider Del Dia, your loved ones–now my loved ones–came together for the first of many group hugs before our departure from this wonderful place.
There is a laundry list of things that I could be proud of for our group today and for the entire trip in general, and I cannot just choose one. From our commitment to our CAP project, to the courage of many to step outside of their comfort zones to the ever-present compassion turning our motley group of characters into a big happy family. I imagine this is what it must feel like to watch your own kids grow up and discover themselves.
There was not one person that was inspirational today, but rather the entire family unit that we have become was the most inspiring of the day. It was inspiring seeing how after 17 days, a group of teenagers from different walks of life, different mindsets, could come together to form a cohesive machine that enjoys laughter, appreciates crying, and always, always, has a shoulder for another to lean on.
I have been anticipating being El Lider Del Dia ever since I was accepted into this program, and was honestly somewhat disappointed that I would have to wait this long to take my turn. Although, with hindsight on my side, I would not have it any other way. The experience of stepping up in front of my peers to make their last day as special as possible was daunting, but again, I am certain that today was the day for me.
I do not pride myself on caring for others, as my competitive nature would leave me inclined to push others out of the way for the sake of glory. However, today, I came across the revelation, that caring for others is my calling. I live, I breathe, I exist to make others feel the emotion that is necessary in that moment. The greatest feeling in the world, though it had shown glimpses of itself earlier in the trip, has shown itself to be my driving force in what I do on a day to day basis.