Hey, y’all! It’s Bree and Gabe, today’s leaders of the day. We started the day with an earlier-than-usual wake-up call (6:00 am) with some music. We then proceeded to gather around Dominic’s room to wish him a happy birthday. We played him the happy birthday song (Stevie Wonder version for those wondering) and then after we went to the dining hall for breakfast. We had ham and cheese sandwiches, cereal, and fruits.

After breakfast around 8:00 am, we had a mental warm-up. We began with an ice-breaker called “Who’s the Leader” and then we learned a little bit more about the activities we had planned for today. After the mental warm-up, we proceeded to get ready for departure to Sonida del Yaque at 9:15 am (a community we were visiting for the day) It was about a 30 min drive on the safari bus and we listened to some music and sang some songs. After arriving at Sonida del Yaque, we split into groups and met our host families. Each group had their own individual work to do. For example, cleaning the pavements, clearing out patches of dirt, and other various chores. Each group worked up until 12:00 pm, then we all met up for lunch. We got to eat with the kids in the community and it also gave us time to get to know them better. For lunch we had arroz con pollo, arepas and salad.

After lunch, we were able to purchase some jewelry from the community and play with the kids on the basketball court and in the community park. We played duck duck goose, tag, and a lot of other games. Around 2:30 we all gathered in the community park to show our love for them, and thank them for welcoming us into their homes and allowing us to get insight into their daily lives. At 3:00 we had to say bye to our host families which were hard for many of us due to how easily we bonded with the children. Some of us got gifts from them such as flowers, bracelets, and letters.

After that, we took a nice little hike up the mountains to get back to the main road where the safari bus was waiting for us. After arriving back at the hostel around 3:45 pm, we had to quickly prepare for our CAP Panel Presentation where we shared our ideas and got input from the leaders of another community on how to support them better for our CAP project. It went very well and we got answers to the questions needed to ensure that the project is successful.

To celebrate, we went out into the town. We went to the supermarket for everyone to get snacks and household items and then we walked to Helado Bon, a local ice cream place in Jarabacoa. We walked back to the hostel where we received our dinner. We had mashed potatoes, eggs, and sausage with cantaloupe, papaya, and passion fruit juice. After dinner, our amazing leaders, Emily and Dangely, surprised Dominic with a birthday cake!! Everyone enjoyed it so much.

To end the day we all gathered on the balcony for our nightly meeting where we discussed tomorrow’s agenda. The first official day of the CAP project (so exciting!!) We can’t believe that we only have FOUR DAYS LEFT! We are all excited to return back to our families. We can’t wait to see you guys! Tonight at the nightly meeting we passed the torch to our next leaders! We hope you guys enjoyed tonight’s blog <3.

-Bree and Gabe