Saludos from Constanza! I am Vilmaris González the Program Coordinator for Constanza and I was formerly El Líder Del Día (yesterday)! I apologize for my late post, but as many of you can imagine yesterday was full day with getting up to Constanza and all our activities included to make yesterday an amazing first full day!
Today was a great day for our students and Adult Leadership Team! After getting and traveling from Santiago to Constanza spirits were still high as so much was new for our students. Even though it was day packed of lots of seminars, activities, and a speaker the students were excited to learn about these new topics and were SUPER engaged!
We started off the morning by traveling up to Constanza and diving right into our Welcome & Orientation Seminar led by Yohanny and I. During this students were able to meet Dilenia (our food and accommodation provider) along with some of her staff. She welcomed the students warmly and made delicous fresh strawberry juice for everyone. This is something for typical from Constanza. After students were assigned to their rooms our GGLs, Nicole and Angelina, taught our very first academic seminar which was for History. Following the seminar we had the pleasure of hearing and learning about Constanza’s history told by Miguel Abreu, a local historian, who also works for the national park in the Valle of Constanza. He spoke about the history of the Dominican Republic, but more specifically Constanza and the Valle. His enthusiasm and passion for the beauty of the land here in Constanza was most definitely transmitted to the students through his empowering message!
After Miguel Abreu we all had lunch and got ready for out next activity which was the Culture and Safety Seminar that was led by Yohany and I. During this seminar we used interactive methods to demonstrate the importance of not stereotyping or making generalizations of people while here in the Dominican Republic, and overall the importance of being cultural sensitive and aware!
Later in the afternoon 3 Youth Ambassadors came to meet us at Dilenia’s (our hotel) to commence the city tour!!! They really enjoyed getting out of the hotel and exploring first hand what Constanza is all about. During our city tour several students had cards with pictures with different sites, in which we stopped at to further discuss the importance of those sites. The students were able to see the school where they will be teaching English classes three days a week, have a better understanding of who the founding fathers are of the DR, the station of the famous cazadores (hunters), and overall have a better understanding of what Constanza is like.
After the city tour we held our first self-reflection, and it was a great time to really process and reflect upon what they had seen, felt, and experienced, so far since their arrival to the DR. This time was a really great way to hear and engage with the students about their awareness and feelings. The first self reflection, just like the rest of the day, was a true success!
Following our self-reflection we invited our local Youth Ambassadors to come and join us for dinner. This was a great time for our students and Youth Ambassadors to get to know each other and break the ice.
DAY 2 was truly an excellent day, and I have all faith that the students will only continue to grow, expand their perspectives and minds, and open up their hearts to this experience and all that the Dominican Republic has to offer!