Along with the sounds of roosters, the Glimpsers were woken up to energetic knocking on their door and “The Final Countdown” playing followed by bachata music for the first hour of the day this morning. Students met us outside on the balcony (which is our favorite hangout spot because of the breeze and surrounding beauty). There we kicked things off at 8am with a couple of games including “Guess Who”, a name game where opposing sides sent one representative up to a big sheet held up by us between the two sides and they had to race to name the other person across from them when the sheet was dropped. It seems like today really solidified everyone completely knowing everyone else’s names! In that vein, the group is starting to really open up with each other and have a great balance of joking around but also engaging in serious conversations.

Our first main activity for the day was a 30 minute bus ride out to the countryside to a place called “Los Bohios” where we learned about the traditional ways that coffee is made and that food is cooked using historical tools such as the “fogon”–a way to cook food over an open fire. We got the chance to sample delicious homemade hot chocolate, sweet arepas, and crunchy casabe made from scratch using the traditional methods. Students got the opportunity to learn how to play Dominoes the Dominican way. Our lovely youth ambassadors, who are locals from Jarabacoa accompanying us throughout this trip, stepped up and led the games. We ended our visit with the Glimpsers giving Big Love to Yaniris for her hospitality and then we did the Human Knot challenge, which was sweaty, but fun!

We headed back to the accommodations for lunch and then we enjoyed some down time where Glimpsers continued to make friendship bracelets and hang out on the balcony. The rest was much needed to restore our energy so that we could really give it our all during our dance lesson led by our guest teacher, Anderson, and the youth ambassadors at the housing accommodation. We spent almost two hours learning merengue, bachata, and salsa. The enthusiasm was high as all Glimpsers engaged even though for some it was a big step out of their comfort zone.

After dancing, we simmered down a little for our English Tutoring seminar (!!!!). Here the Glimpsers received information about who they would be tutoring with and what their students would be like in terms of class size, ages, and English level. Glimpsers learned A LOT about basic teaching and lesson planning strategies. They then had some time to start looking at the lesson plan templates provided and discuss with their fellow tutors what their first class was going to look like on Monday. Glimpsers seem to be feeling excited but nervous for English tutoring as it is a lot to plan and prepare for! The finalization of their first class will happen tomorrow and we are confident that they will rock their first official lesson on Monday!

Following dinner the students got into their Self-Reflection groups for the second time this trip and engaged in some deeper questions around a candle to get to know each other better. When the time was up it was hard to get them to finish their conversations and switch gears for Nightly Meeting because they were getting so in depth and personal!

At Nightly Meeting we had a nice discussion about what culture is and pondered things like How do the advancements of the 21st century impact tradition and culture?  and How do you want to preserve your culture(s) in your own life?   At the end of of that segment of the meeting we gave Grace, our first student of the trip to be LDD, the floor as she went up to perform her talent to earn the torch for tomorrow’s leadership responsibilities. Grace taught us all a camp song called “Black Socks” that invoked the importance of showering and doing laundry while we’re on this trip. She took over Nightly Meeting and from there prepared the Glimpsers for what to expect for tomorrow and we ended the meeting as always with Big Love and the Unity Clap.

Glimpsers are looking forward to tomorrow’s Program Seminars, meeting our Aid & Development partner, CODEJA, and a significant amount of Explore Time tomorrow!

Thanks for reading and all the comments!
Hasta manana,

Kelly and Cara