Hello friends and family! Although we’ve had a jam-packed week exploring San Juan and learning about the city’s culture and history, today was our first day having fun at the beach. We started off the day bright and early, eating breakfast during the ride to the Larimar workshop. There, we met Maria and Cesar, a couple who has been working with Larimar for over 12 years. Larimar is a distinct stone only found in the region of Barahona. They began the workshop by demonstrating the Larimar stone shaping process, which included polishing the stone over 4 times. After the demonstration, we were given the opportunity to purchase jewelry created from these light blue stones. We were excited to bring home a souvenir that we were told can bring us positive energy and protection.

After the Larimar workshop, we arrived to El Quemaito, a beach located in Barahona. This beach was unique to us because many of us had never seen such clear blue water or the Caribbean Sea. Along with the help of two representatives from DR’s Civil Defense, we all safely enjoyed the water. From swimming to taking pictures, and searching for rocks on the beach, we all had an unforgettable time. Some of us had the opportunity to buy shells from a local vendor who shared with us his process of finding shells. This vendor would row his boat out into the bay and dive to the bottom to find the best shells. Those who were lucky to hear his story were in awe at his efforts to find these shells.

Although we were reluctant to leave the beach, we knew we had to get back to our accommodations to have a seminar in preparation for the next day’s activities. Upon hearing statistics that represent the reality of two thirds of the world’s population, we were humbled by this information. We are looking forward to meeting our host families tomorrow and getting a taste of rural life in the Dominican Republic.