Today we began our three day CAP (Community Action Project) in the community of Rio Grande. Our goal is to clean and repaint a small park, build a basketball court, and raise awareness about keeping the community trash free. At the beginning of the day, we didn’t have enough tools to work with and it was unclear who should be doing what. We were told this might happen the night before so the “Big Boys” (Andrew G and Andrew D) took charge and assigned tasks to everyone. One group cleared gravel, another painted the park benches, and a third group cleared weeds around the park. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the park benches gave the park a vibrant, lively look. We also repainted some planters made from recycled tires. The basketball court will mostly be done over the next two days but we were able to dig out gravel and cement that were in the way.
Throughout the day we were glad to have the help of the Guardians of the Water (local teens who we met during Environmental Day) who worked relentlessly and somehow still had the energy to play basketball at a nearby school afterward. Although the teens were fierce workers, we were surprised by their cultural standards for men and women. When some of our girls worked with the pickaxes and shovels, the teens got upset and said that women shouldn’t be doing that kind of work. In their minds, the women could paint and pull weeds but not do the heavy work of shoveling and digging. We explained to them that in the US there is equal opportunity for men and women and that women are capable of doing the same jobs as men. They didn’t like that idea but they let our women continue digging.
After lunch and basketball/volleyball with the Water Guardians, we headed back for our last day of English Tutoring. Although we have two days of English tutoring remaining, the last day is a talent show and so today was our last day of instruction. Stephanie and Andrew G’s class joined Marlene and Tanya’s class due to the overwhelming smell of fresh paint in their classroom. Most of us spent the last part of class rehearsing our talent show acts.
Tomorrow we will continue working on our Community Action Project and at the end of the day, we hope to meet the new Global Glimpse delegation across the street. They just arrived yesterday. We would love a chance to meet them and share some of our experiences here in the Dominican Republic.
We love you all and look forward to seeing you soon!