Our day started early, like most mornings, we woke up to the sound of roosters and dogs barking. We then traveled up a winding mountain road to Aguita to see native drumming and a water ritual. We danced to the drumming and got a look at the significance of music in the Dominican culture, which we also saw in our dance lessons. We were taught by a professional from Santo Domingo to dance the bachata, meringue, and the mangulina along with the ambassadors who are from San Juan. Afterward our day did a full turn and we dressed up to the nines to teach English to local students of all ages. It was daunting, most of us have never been teachers but we left with a better idea of what to expect for our next five lessons and much more respect and big, big, love for the hard work and effort of all the teachers in our lives! (Especially those who are keeping us hydrated on this trip!)
Marisa here! Being Lider del Dia has been my favorite experience so far, I loved getting to support our GGL’s! I loved getting to see the joy and compassion as well as the deep respect for Dominican tradition and the preservation of artifacts. (Like the alter to honor the man who is said to have performed miracles for the rural mountain community!) The language barrier, as I found out is hardly a wall, because everyone is so willing to talk, laugh, and include us in their own lives and traditions. Practicing my Spanish has been the most inspiring part to me because I am getting to use the language I love and communicate with people I never would have met.
Yosef here! being Leader of the day has been the best thing that I’ve experience so far, I love getting to know that there are people that keep their culture till this day, getting the chance to learn new dances, and meeting new people, and of course learning how to speak Spanish from friends and our GGL’s!
We learned how well-established culture is in the DR and how passing on culture is an important rite of passage. The cultural traditions have remained throughout many generations, from food recipes to the dances we learned. We are super excited to be further immersed in the rich, colorful culture of the Dominican Republic!
Hasta luego y yee haw!
Marisa and Yosef