Hello families and friends! My name is Marbella Daniel and today I was leader of the day so I get to write the first blog! Today we met with FLAM (Fundacion Literaria Anibal Montano), an organization for youth in the San Cristobal to write and share their poetry with the community through different venues. The students that have written through this program have had their poetry published in their own books. They presented a few of their poems to the group and they literary talent was evident through their presentation. After they shared their work, we all got into small groups and worked together to write a poem. It was a really interesting experience because we had to translate between Spanish and English. Daisy, Monica, Abraham, Danielle, Geronimo, Zeida, and Citlaly did a great job translating from English to Spanish for the rest of their small group to help them understand what the spanish-spaeakers were talking about. Abraham got a second shoutout for turning on his “teaching mode”today. Connor also really put a lot of effort and passion into his writing..it was really fun seeing all the native speakers trying to translate  all his difficult, yet beautifully written sentences into spanish.

After the FLAM activity, we had our first few hours of free time today. We walked to the colmada (corner store) at the end of the road from where we were all staying. Typically, the walk would have been a simple 10 minute stride but the heat was excruciating so we were all drenched in sweat and panting by the time we got there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many teenagers race to the front of a line for Coca Cola! On our way back form the colmada we got to see about 30 cows being herded to a pasture by two little boys riding bareback on their horse. All the cows were within touching distance of us and it was definitely a memorable experience. All the locals sit out in their front yard and wave to us when we walk by and the little kids run so freely here. There are so many beautiful trees, brightly colored houses, and happy, laid-back people in the Dominican Republic. We are all having an amazing time, miss you all but aren’t quite ready to leave this amazing island just yet.