Our second day working on our Community Action Project began with a satisfying breakfast of sweet cereal and delicious fruit. All of us Glimpsers were a bit exhausted after our first day of work yesterday, but our desire to help Guanito helped us persevere through that exhaustion. After we had all eaten enough to fuel ourselves for the day ahead, we had a short-but-loud guagua ride to Guanito to continue constructing the volleyball court.
The working hours consisted of two main tasks: repair the park and finish creating the court’s foundation. Many of us felt sweat dripping down our foreheads while digging with pickaxes underneath the sweltering sun, whereas others learned from local community members how to mix cement. In between jobs, we brought cups of water to members of the community who were working alongside us, and encouraged our peers to stay hydrated as well.
Glimpsers and the community members of Guanito shared a hearty lunch to fuel the next few hours of construction. For me, the lunch break consisted of getting to know some of the kids of Guanito and learning some of their favorite games and songs. Others used the time to relax and recharge before we returned to our project.
One overlooked role in the process of our Community Action Project was entertaining the children of Guanito. Of course, all the young kids wanted to watch the court being built, but it’s pretty clear that kids and construction sites don’t mix. Activities to keep the kids busy included drawing, playing with a bright yellow inflatable ball (that later popped), playing cards, and face paint. By the end of the day, most of us ended up with cat whiskers drawn on our faces. A group of sweating teenagers decorated with cat whiskers and holding construction tools definitely was an interesting sight.
The most inspiring thing I observed today was how hardworking and dedicated the people of Guanito are. Most of the community members helping us in the manual labor took very short and infrequent breaks, if any. Like us Glimpsers, they have a goal and they are persistent in working towards it. Yes, they taught us how to mix cement and lay a foundation, but they also gave us a flawless example of how to work together as a team.
Two major successes in our Community Action Project today were completing the children’s park repair and laying the volleyball court’s foundation. While we were discouraged by setbacks, we didn’t let that stop us. At 2:30p, we said goodbye to Guanito and loaded into the guagua once again.
Nano, our favorite (and only) guagua driver, brought us safely back to Onaney, where we showered, freshened up, or just relaxed until our Global Glimpse Ambassadors arrived to share explore time with us. I went with a handful of Glimpsers and three ambassadors; first we went to the supermarket to buy supplies for potlucks in our English tutoring classes, then we went to Bon, a chain ice cream store, where some of us cooled down with cold ice cream. One of us even had three cones!
After leaving Bon, our group went to San Juan de la Maguana’s fair, where we bought bracelets and Dominican Republic flags to decorate our rooms back home. Right as we were about to leave, music came on through the speakers, and we stayed extra time to dance. I personally had been wanting to dance again since our second day here in San Juan, when we took lessons to learn traditional Dominican dances. Being able to stay and dance with my friends was definitely a highlight of the day for me.
After explore time came dinner, where we enjoyed tacos with amazing salsa and sweet lemonade. Throughout our meal, we played the card game that most of us have been obsessed with for the past few days: Speed. Playing Speed really has brought out the louder sides in even the most quiet of us Glimpsers, and has encouraged us to spend time with some people that we usually don’t talk much with. I even learned that I’ve been shuffling cards wrong my entire life!
Overall, today was extremely productive for us. We finished some key tasks in our Community Action Project, created deeper bonds with each other and the community of Guanito, and had fun during explore time. It’s unreal to realize that we only have two days left before we fly back to California and return to our everyday lives. Because of this, we all plan to savor these next two days, knowing that we will remember this trip for the rest of our lives.