Today is Aid and Development Day, what an epic day! Being the leader of the day, I set my alarm for 30 minutes before I went around and woke the rest of my group up half an hour later. After waking up bright and early and having a tasty breakfast all together, we were all ready to conquer the day! To kick it off we did a mental warm up for the day after breakfast: discussed both the quote and question of the day and learned a little bit about the connections between poverty and childhood development. We also received some background information about Nutre Hogar, an organization known for its implementation of recuperation programs and the prevention of early childhood malnutrition in girls and boys under 5 years old. Nutre Hogar will be the organization that we will partner with to execute our Community Action Project.

We then traveled to Nutre Hogar where we were able to meet with Zuleika Debarra, the president of Nutre Hogar- Chitre. She spoke to us about the issues they face being a non-profit organization with a very low budget. Their bus broke down not so long ago (their only mode of transportation) and they were forced to cut out funds from other aspects of the organization to be able to rent out a bus for a short period of time, which depleted funding for other areas. We then asked questions regarding the changes we as a group can make to support the organization.

After our information session, Zuleika gave us a tour around the property so we could brainstormed and take notes about ideas for future repairs and projects. We realized while walking around that the playground definitely needed to be retouched, not only for the aesthetic reasons but also for the safety of the children. Personally, I felt that visiting the actual organization in person was very impactful to our understanding of a level of poverty that we are not at all exposed to as much in the United States. Learning first hand about an organization that truly cares for the future nourishment of these children, both physically and emotionally, had an incredible impactful to us as a group and helped to motivate us to make a change and give it our absolute all!

After our visit, we came back to our hotel, had some lunch and then took some free time to explore the city. We split up into two groups and went for it! We made stops at the supermarket, a few thrift stores where things were LITERALLY $1-$2 (how insane! what a steal!) and ate some ice cream (thanks Sonia for the treat).

After meeting back at the hotel we all ate dinner together and then went and met up with another delegation (from Chicago) who was also staying in Chitre. It was super fun, we met really nice people, had some dances and overall just a great time!

Then we returned to the hotel and as the Leader Del Dia (leader of the day) I was preparing to do the routinely nightly meeting, but then was surprised by my amazing group of friends with a birthday party! They made a giant poster, got a really nice cake, and sang me Happy Birthday. Love you guys very much and appreciate it! Then we all hit the hay and called the lights out.

Mom & Fam – I love you and miss you very much, I am having an amazing time over here and I will talk to you guys on Monday so keep an eye out.. love ya!!!