Today was the second day of our Global Glimpse trip, and it was a blast! It was a lovely and packed day full of learning more about the culture of San Juan de la Maguana. We were the two leaders of the day today which meant we were guiding the group through the different activities and effectively acting as the “moms” of the day.
We woke up at 8 o’clock in the morning to a fantastic traditional Dominican breakfast composed of mangu, a delicious dish of mashed plantains, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit. After this we had a very informative and enthusiastic seminar on Santeria, which is a mix of different religions in the Dominican Republic, including, Catholicism, indigenous culture, and African heritage. The guest speaker was a practicing devotee of San Antonio, the famed saint of love in the Santeria religion. With the speaker came a band of palo players that serenaded the group to a variety of cultural songs representing the different beliefs of Santeria. Every student and adult chaperone alike was dancing to the rhythmic beat of the drums. We then partook in lunch with the speakers, enjoying a chicken fajita with rice and beans. We got to know the speakers a little bit better and understand the differences and similarities between our two cultures. After lunch, the students had an hour of time to unwind and refresh their minds for the second half of the day. Following the break, we seminar on effective ways to teach English to prepare the group for tutoring English Language Learners. Then we each got assigned students depending on our Spanish speaking ability and each team prepared their lessons for our first class on Wednesday. Shortly after, several cultural dance teachers showed us how to dance and the importance behind understanding the history of each dance. We learned three types of meringue and three types of bachata, which are cultural dances native to the Dominican Republic. The dance activities pushed all of us outside of our comfort zones. We had a fantastic dinner of chicken tenders and french fries, and we wrapped the day up with our nightly meeting and an activity that helped us bond and fellowship as a group.
Today we learned much more about the country we are staying in and the culture we are trying to immerse ourselves in. What was really surprising to us and the rest of the group was how much more we found in common with this culture than we originally thought. As leaders of the day we observed the group grow closer and more close-knit through the activities today. Everyone was very motivated today and it really encouraged us as leaders. We are looking forward to seeing what the rest of this trip has in store for us!
Yash and Alex K.