“I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and bitter.” -A Community Member
Today our day started off in our normal routine- wake up call at 7am, breakfast at Onaney’s, and then an academic seminar by our AMAZING GG leaders, Karina and Sia. Our topic today was aid and development around the world. We discussed the different amount’s of aid and even learned some of the amounts that the US gives to other countries. The United States has actually always been the top donor except in the mid 1990’s when Japan briefly topped the list.
After our seminar, we had a few minutes of free time, where most of us took this as an opportunity to nap. Once the fifteen minute nap was over, we all gathered together again to listen to Joaquin Martinez, a Peace corps volunteer. We learned that the Peace Corps was a program that sends volunteers to different countries and allows them to do volunteer work to better the country. He had some great information since most of us hadn’t even heard of the program and we all gave great questions that got answered.
We then walked to lunch and after we finished, took the gua-gua (the bus) to the headquarters of Club Activo 20-30. This club is partnering with us for our CAP (Community Action Project), so we got to meet with the president, Cherry Encarnacion, and ask questions regarding our community before visiting it. Cherry was very helpful with getting to know just a little bit about our community. We know know that our legacy is just beginning here in the DR. From there, we went back to our hostel to re-group ourselves since today seemed to be the day that the heat and activities were really hitting us and we all were exhausted. We left about an hour later to head to Cristo Rey, the community we will be helping during g our CAP.
In Cristo Rey, we were aware that the main projects will be their playground that is worn down and unsafe, and their half basketball court which had a backboard that is falling apart and no net or lines on the court. While visiting, we got to speak with local adults and youths of all ages. The youth seemed to prefer to have us repair the basketball court while the adults were very clear that the playground should be a priority. From the information we got, we are hoping to make the basketball court acceptable and the playground a safe and homely place. This is also where we met Ana Marie, who lives in her two bedroom home with nine people! We also met her mother who said the quote I began with. After the discussions about the community, most of us joined in on a game of Tips, which is a game played with a basketball (everyone here really seems to love that sport). While some did that, others talked, laughed, and played with the local kids, who were SO ADORABLE!!
The night ended with amazing food, as usual, and a smooth sailing nightly meeting. We will be calling home tomorrow bright and early in California time so be prepared to answer phone calls on your way to work parents. Particularly I wanted to let mi madre y hermanos know that I love and miss you guys. I always look at the pictures I brought and actually showed a few students in my specific English class and they think you guys are beautiful. I’ll see you guys soon. Hasta luego!!