Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures. –Cesar Chavez
Hello! I’m Nicole, a Global Glimpse Leader! Today was a fun-filled, memorable experience. Our theme today was Culture, and we reflected on how carnival represents Constanza’s culture. After our first night at Dilenia’s (our beautiful hotel, and home for the next 18 days!), we woke up bright and early at 7am. We started our day with delicious Dominican hot chocolate and scrambled eggs.
In our academic seminar we had an engaging and thoughtful conversation on the role of culture and how it is transmitted. We also discussed perceptions and misconceptions of cultures. The conversation set the foundation for our day.
We were excited to visit Dario Ruben’s caretas taller (workshop for making carnaval masks). Dario is an award winning, and infamous carnaval costume artist. Even though another pueblo, La Vega, is known as #1 venue for carnaval in the DR, Dario was awarded first place nationally for his mask-making talents. As a result, he is even designing a carnaval costume for a Puerto Rican costumer who will be wearing this beautiful costume in the next Puerto Rican Day parade in NYC (so keep your eyes out New York!).
At Darios’ taller, we all got to learn about the significance of the costumes, masks, and carnaval in Dominican and Constanza’s culture. Carnaval is celebrated throughout February in the Dominican Republic. Dario shared a common joke in the DR that “Dominicans always find excuses to not work” meaning that there are many holidays and celebrations throughout the year. Then Dario taught us how to make a carnaval mask, and we each got to design our own. Everyone was so creative, patient, and engaged in the mask-making process! We can’t wait to show everyone our finish products when return home to NYC.
After the taller, we traveled in la guagua (the bus) to La Casa de Juventud (Youth House) to see some of the CAP work and impressive results from a previous delegation (great work!). There we got to meet with the infamous Doña Tagó, a musician who plays los Palos (traditional Dominican drum music). She told us the history behind los Palos as the foundation for all Dominican music that has come after (bachata, merengue, etc.). She also shared her personal life story and how she learned to play los Palos. She visited a river where she met 3 Taíno men who were playing los Palos and taught her to play. She plays on 3 drums that range in size: small, medium, and large representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because she was taught by three men, to play three drums, that she made it point in life to teach 3 others to play los Palos. Doña Tagó travels all around DR playing music. She had one daughter, but raised 29 hijos (kids). She shared the beautiful sentiment that her purpose in life is to do good. We were all inspired by her strength, humility, and the way she shares love through music with everyone. Then Doña Tagó played los Palos for us, and some students joined in. In the end we were all dancing, playing instruments, singing/rapping. It was beautiful and fun mix of Dominican, and NYC culture.
We ended the night with cena (dinner) of potatoes, vegetables, and my favorite queso frito (fried cheese). We also created space to continue to get to know each other and strengthen our Global Glimpse Constanza community. There was much laughter, Uno and Phase 10 games, and sharing of our own stories today. We ended our Nightly Meeting with the word: Connections. This is just the beginning of our journey, but it already is changing us in all positive ways.