Our first day in the DR was an intense one, filled with new information, food and people. We started off with a hotel orientation in which we met Israel and Margarita, our hosts for this summer. They are a Puerto Rican couple who left Connecticut to serve as caretakers of orphans and marginalized children. They told us about their history and we went over the rules of this new space. We also had a culture and safety orientation in which we went over some cultural differences. What we learned will help us make the most out of this experience; exploring new things but staying safe at the same time.

After a History seminar that provided us with some background information, we went on a city tour! Walking in the Caribbean summer was challenging for many of us, but the group had a very positive attitude and it was nice to get a first impression of the city. The highlight of the day was definitely the presence of the Youth Ambassadors, local young people that will be joining us on different activities. They were very engaging and we got to talk to them a lot during the walking tour. Another thing the group really enjoyed was trying La Bandera, the traditional dish in the DR consisting of rice, beans and meat. Licelot, the hostel chef, did a really good job!

We are slowly getting to know each other, and I’m sure this group of former strangers will soon become a team, in which new lifelong friendships will be formed.

Sending Bonao love all the way to the US