It’s always a pleasure to be fed by the Dilenia’s restaurant staff. We were served some avena (oatmeal) con fruta y pan, which reminded some of home. We then discussed how politics influences education, health, and other aspects of Dominican society. Comments included references to American politics as well as the hindering impact of institutional corruption. After our insightful discussion, we were prepared to take on what was scheduled for the day.
While politics is mostly known for its national influence, local governments play a great role in impacting the lives of its people. The best part of an efficient government is the ability of the people to impact decisions. We exemplified this by traveling to La Casa de la Juvented. Proposals were made based on the ideas of the community we listened to last week. This included expanding the library space, improving the book organization, painting the walls with educational and attractive images, and hosting an event to showcase what we’ve done. The members of the community absolutely loved our ideas, and after further discussion and figuring out some logistics, our plan was set to go. We are all excited to be put to work in an effort to improve the community of Constanza.
After lunch, the group walked to city hall to listen to a few speakers. Among them was a political journalist who gave us an extensive review of how corruption negatively affects the people of Constanza. It was obvious how packed and educational our trip has been because he pointed out that some of us were falling asleep! After him, we were welcomed by the mayor, and he agreed to dinner tomorrow and his presence at our event on Saturday. We then listened to future mayor candidates, and I was personally inspired by their commitment to improving the community. Topics they emphasized were inspiring the youth as well as transforming health care.
The day ended with English classes at the local school. Everybody seems to be enjoying their classes because of how funny and friendly the students are. Being the only teacher in my class who is a semi-Spanish speaker proves to be difficult, especially when I’m the only boy in the room. I enjoy it though, as they make fun of my struggle and I make fun of their accents. We’re all definitely going to miss each other after our last class of Friday.
I’m sure every body is enjoying the trip thus far. While we all share similar experiences, we have different thoughts, emotions, and interpretations. The most important part of this trip for me has been perspective. Valuable knowledge a leader should have is perspective, and the ability to interpret people, places, concepts, and ideas several ways. During the Academic Seminar, one question especially stuck out to me, and I don’t think I’ll forget it soon:
Is it a luxury to worry about political corruption?