Howdy from your LDDs (Leaders of the Day) Bryce and Sako!

For Aid and Development Day, we took a scenic bus ride through the mountains filled with beautiful plants, tiny waterfalls, and tiny bridges that barely fit the bus. We traveled to the Federation de Campesinos, a business community of rural farmers who taught us how they sort coffee beans and weed the field. They also gave us a tour of the facilities to learn about the process for making coffee, giving us a glimpse into the hard work that goes into creating a completely organic product. We’re pretty sure the other workers were laughing at how sweaty we got trying their jobs for 20 minutes, but we laughed with them.

At lunch it started raining and from a distance we saw a bunch of cute cats take shelter under the outdoor dining room. The crafts people at La Federacion hand made bamboo chairs and tables that were beautiful and a lot of Glimpsers joked about taking one home.

We got to talk to Esteban Polanco, leader of La Federacion, about his past activism efforts and his active struggle against Falcon Bridge, the mining company. Falcon Bridge’s invasive practices threaten not only the displacement of the community, but it also threatens to poison the way of life for communities all over the Dominican Republic. Esteban’s fight for justice came from forming a strong band of rural farmers, protesting, and an unrelenting appeal to the government for the rights to his community’s land.

After hearing the story of La Federacion, we returned to the accommodation to interview some local community leaders and learn their stories to gather information for our CAP (Community Action Project). We got to practice our Spanish and begin envisioning effective ways to engage with the community.

To wrap up the day, we got the chance to kick it with the Dominican teen Ambassadors. They took us all into town to hit the supermarket and the ice cream shop. Getting to hang out with kids our age is such a special way to feel like we’re engaging with the Dominican Republic. We’re all excited to see them again soon.

Sako and Bryce