Quote of the day: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” –African Proverb
Hello, it’s Hannah, today’s Leader of the Day! After yesterday’s intense and hectic schedule from Living Like a Local, it was a sigh of relief to have our first free day today. We were given the opportunity to sleep in late this morning, but many of us still decided to wake up early due to the excitement of what was to come throughout the day. Once us Glimpsers finished with breakfast, we were all given a chance to do laundry and call home for 30 minutes. It was so heartwarming to see everyone’s smiles as they got to talk to their families and loved ones back home. Despite all the Glimpsers bonding together as a family, there’s nothing quite like the bond we have with our own families.
While we waited for our turn to use the phone, many of us created our own hilarious “beauty salon” at our common dining area. The girls enjoyed themselves a little too much as they gave some of the boys makeovers, from plucking their eyebrows to applying bold eyeliner and lipstick. After our chill free time, we had a delicious lunch at Onaney, complete with rice, beans, chicken, potato salad, and sweet plantains. As soon as we finished our heaping plates of mouth-watering food, everyone went upstairs to our rooms to get ready for the rest of our free day. We then got into groups of at least four Glimpsers and one adult leader and made our way around the city. Stores filled with cheap knockoffs of name brands were a popular spot for groups to visit. It was fun to walk through the aisles and find all the interesting and silly items the stores had to offer.
There was also a store that sold slightly more expensive clothing like party dresses. Many of the girls had a blast trying on some of the gorgeous dresses and having a mini photoshoot in the dressing rooms. Another popular spot for us Glimpsers was the local ice cream shop. After hours of shopping and walking around the city in the sun, it was a sweet treat to stop by and enjoy all the yummy flavors they had to offer, from premium strawberry to coconut. Many groups were also able to run into familiar faces on the streets, such as our Program Coordinator Jorge, Georgette, the adorable and loving old lady we met during our History Day, and some of the students we had at English tutoring.
At the end of a long day of freedom, the groups went back to the hostels to freshen up. There was even a little dance party some of the others created with the bachata music playing through the speakers downstairs. By 7:00 pm, the shopping, and dancing Glimpsers were ready and excited to see the dinner Onaney had for us. The amazing kitchen staff served up one of our favorite meals so far–chicken, cheese, and vegetable tacos. The staff was also kind enough to make homemade hot sauce upon request from the Glimpsers. We can always count on Onaney to feed us with the best food when we need it the most.
For the rest of the night, we held our Nightly Meeting to reminisce the fun moments from earlier and discuss the question of the day: What are the things about this trip and about Dominican culture that I have appreciated the most so far? As a group, we all came to a consensus that an integral part of Dominican culture is everyone’s sense of community and the idea that none of us are strangers, but rather friends who haven’t met yet. Running into every person we’ve met so far, it’s clear that the people of the Dominican Republic have open arms and open hearts. We hope as Glimpsers and future leaders of our generation, we too can introduce a sense of openness and community in our cities back home.