IMG_7270It’s normal to see people in Chicago that are poor… but it’s not until you actually hear the experiences of the people who live in poverty, that you realize their struggles are reality. After a lengthy 2 hour drive up a beautiful mountain, we finally arrived to CECAINI in Constanza; a primary school. We learned about the history of both the school and community and their correlation. There are currently only 7 teachers that teach 182 students from kindergarten to 6th grade. The school was built primarily for students who live in the community to have an open learning space. After the Director Ufemia’s brief explanation, we finger-painted and had an intense game of no rule basketball. We also learned the main problem that most citizens of the community face is a lack of resources. Children would often not come to school because they either didn’t have food, shoes, or a backpack. Having fun with those students allowed them to put the stresses of poverty to the side and bring out their brightest smiles. Even though we were upset we had to leave, we continued our journey by meeting up with the GG delegation from Constanza for lunch. It was great to have bonding time and see the differences in our trip experiences. We took a few pictures and exchanged some contact information.

After salad and paella, we made our way to the dump. Of course at first everyone had their negative thoughts about the place, but as soon as we stepped off the bus things started to change. In groups of 3 or 4, we took the time to connect with the workers sharing snacks and the kites that we were taught to make after breakfast from a man named El Bailare. This was an emotional experience for our delegation because even though these people live in environments that don’t make them so happy, they found their happiness within our visit. During the touching discussions we realized that we’re very similar people living in different worlds. They were very humble, creative, hardworking and committed people. They were people who made the most out of the very little they have. This field trip taught our delegation to think with open minds and hearts. We were very thankful for them offering their time.

We soon made our way back to Bonao to get back for our English Tutoring sessions. We take 3 times out of the week to hopefully change the lives of the people of Bonao for 2 hours. Teaching English sounds easy when you speak it fluently, but the biggest problem was knowing Spanish. It is a delight to see how motivated these kids are, how much they’re improving, and their interest in wanting to do homework. After our tutoring session, we had a delicious dinner (once again made by Lisalot) and continued to our nightly meeting to reflect on the day. It means a lot to take the time and see the difference between poverty in America, and poverty here in the DR. Our delegation is becoming closer, knowledgeable and letting our experiences make us better people. Even though many of our bodies are trying to adjust to the newness, we still made the best of our day. We miss you all, but we still got some changes to make, knowledge to take in, and experiences to make lessons learned.
– Love Your Favorite Tag Team, Chy-Nia