Today in the Dominican Republic, we got the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood in which our Community Action Project (CAP) will take place. But, before we took our field trip to Suarez, we had the opportunity to educate ourselves on aid and development. While we were learning about the importance of aid in other countries, we answered the question of the day: What are the negative and positive impacts of aid in developing countries and who is responsible? What really resonated with me while learning about aid in developing countries was the fact that many people believe that aid does not work. This is because some of the aid that occurs in these developing countries are unnecessary. For example, during a TED talk today, the speaker mentioned how service organizations that go to different countries in Africa don’t have prior knowledge about what the country may really need and benefit from. So, for example, the country they are traveling to may need food, but the organization gives them shoes or shirts instead, which are things that do not help the problem but also increase it as well. A quote that really stuck with me throughout the day was one coming from Ernesto Siroli, the ted talk speaker, “Want to help someone, then shut up and listen,”. Our group really learned this as we were able to ask the women of Juntas de Vecinas in Suarez about what we can do for them. We wanted to know what they thought they needed and decided to come in with an open mind. This is effective in that we take in their ideas and start off with a clean slate. Also, we are not living in this neighborhood, therefore it is better to hear from them to know exactly what they need. Being in this neighborhood was an amazing experience, meeting the women who were apart of Juntas de Vecinas and the children who lived there. They were all very sweet and once the time came, it was hard to leave them. This field trip really showed us that you don’t need much to be appreciative of what you have and it teaches us to be a lot more grateful for everything.
Being El Lider Del Dia was interesting and fun because it gave me a chance to really take on that leadership role and lead certain activities such as energizers and introducing the activities we were going to be doing today. Although it was fun and it strengthened my leadership skills, it was harder for me to remember that I am in a leadership position and remember to find that balance between authoritative figure and peer. I learned that although I am more of a leader than a follower, I also learned that I wouldn’t want to be a teacher or in any other authoritative position. Mostly because it’s tiring whether the group is cooperative or not because I am usually not an attentive person, so it was difficult paying attention to others rather than focusing on myself at all times.
Overall, today was a special learning experience that I and the rest of the group genuinely enjoyed. And we can’t wait to see what the next day holds.