Hello family and friends!

Today as lider del dia (leader of the day), we had a busy day filled with many exciting experiences as it was community day. We woke up early, ate a light breakfast, led stretches and then headed out to Sonida del Yaque.

Upon our arrival, we had a “treacherous” hike down to the community. We were instantly greeted with open arms and friendly faces. There community was surrounding by beautiful lush greenery and flowers.

After being served delicious Dominican coffee that was grown and harvested by the community, we were broken up into groups. Each group followed one of the lovely ladies who lived in the community, helping them with a task to gain better insight on what they do daily. Some groups moved rocks and cinder blocks that were to be used to build a house, one group did laundry and showed us the process of cleaning lots of bedding without the easy two step machine that us Americans are used to, and the other group helped out in the kitchen to prepare our afternoon lunch.

After an hour of shadowing and working, we ate the communal lunch and learned more about the history of the community through Esperanza (the daughter of the founder of the community).

To end out of experience at Sonida del Yaque, we hung out with several children in the community. It was so much fun interacting with them, asking them questions, and gaining insight from their perspective since children and adults have varying views. As out time with this community came to an end, we hiked all the way back up the steep stone steps as rain began to fall and thunder sounded in the back. After our open but covered bus ride back to La Salle blasting music and waving at locals, we felt more accomplished and appreciative about our experience in the DR!

Brief history of Sonida del Yaque: It is a community predominantly run by women. Starting with five cents to their name and a tent, they currently have 35 families living in the community and are ran self sufficiently and supported by outside organizations.

Shout out to our families, friends, and pets back home!!! Can’t wait to share everything we’ve experienced.

<3 xoxo Noelani and Malia