Saludos from Constanza! I am Christina Hewko a Global Glimpse Leader and today I was El Líder Del Día!

Today was another action packed day that was planned with a lot of love and thoughtfulness by our program coordinator, Vilarmis González and site manager Yohanny Rojas. We started with another delicious breakfast from the Hotel Dilenia staff. Shortly after breakfast students dived into their third academic seminar which focused on culture. Students explored cultural aspects of the Dominican Republic while comparing them to those of the United States. Additionally, they were challenged to think critically about Constanza’s culture and whether or not all cultural aspects of a group of people should be respected equally (e.g., cultures with oppressive or racist aspects). After the academic seminar, students had free time to relax and prepare for the fun filled afternoon.

The afternoon started with a Carnival mask workshop with the highly esteemed artisan, Ruben Victoriano. Ruben shared his craft and personal story in a very interactive and challenging workshop. During the workshop we crafted our own masks through small group instruction and had lunch delivered to maximize our time. Overall, everyone picked up the mask making techniques rather quickly and the final mask creations were quite impressive. We will get our finished masks at the end of the trip so stay tuned!

Below is a picture of students creating their masks with Ruben’s assistance.


After a few hours of creating masks we headed to La Casa de La Juventud to hear from our lovely guest speaker, Doña Tago, a famous palos (drum) player. Doña Tago is not only an extremely talented palos player, but also she has a heart of gold and inspired us with her compassionate story about how she raised over twenty orphans in Constanza. Since she is suffering from health issues she needed assistance in her performance so some of our courageous students, Jackson Bores, Katherine Velasquez, and Kelly Quick joined her. Their beats were catchy and as you can imagine, the rest of the group was quickly on their feet dancing which proved to be a great warm-up for the dance class that would ensue.

Below are Katherine Velasquez, Kelly Quick, Doña Tago, and Jackson Bores performing on the palos.


Immediately after we said farewell to Doña Tago, we were shaking our hips and following Paul Rosado’s lead as he taught us many popular Latin dance moves and dances which included salsa, bachata, and merengue. Paul is a well-known dance choreographer and instructor in Constanza. I was very proud of many students who gave it their best while stepping out of their comfort zones onto the dance floor.

The below picture highlights the group’s mood after our dance class, which was SUPER HAPPY!


Upon returning to the hotel students started their self-reflection, which was facilitated by Vilarmis and included a fantastic relationship building activity; the activity created a space for students to anonymously and randomly ask any question of their peers and staff which proved for a rich and interesting conversation. Next, students quickly transitioned to their English tutoring program seminar where they were taught effective teaching strategies and participated in a model lesson led by Vilarmis to prepare them for their volunteer work. In addition, students were informed of their teaching groups and classes, and collaboratively prepared for their first class on Friday. After the seminar, we had a tasty dinner and then transitioned to our nightly meeting where students and staff further discussed and reflected upon the culture of Constanza, shared highlights from the day, and expressed Big Love for one another. Furthermore, El Líder Del Día torch was passed to the first student Leader of the Day, Jackson Bores!

This is truly a trip of a lifetime and I am looking forward to more enriching educational experiences and exciting adventures!!!