Today we were able to take a closer glimpse between the vibrant threads that make the fabric of the Dominican Republic. Fueled by curiosity…and Licelot’s delicious oatmeal, we started our adventure with a trip to Santos de Palos.

Yesterday we viewed this cultural center from the outside, which is beautifully accented by its murals. A mural of particular note to me, is that of the Mirabal sisters; Patria, Minerva and Mana. Their’s is a story that is all too familiar in the struggle for justice and how often it takes tremendous tragedy to ignite a movement. These sisters stood up and said NO to a tyrant and paid with their lives. However, their sacrifice inspired others to act and therefore they live on. They are not only memorialized at the cultural center, but the 200 peso was recently created in honor of the butterflies, in which they are affectionately known.


At the cultural center we were led by Delbi, a talented teaching artist who specializes in wood and plastic carvings. Students were given the history and cultural importance of art before they were given the tools and wood to create their own. Armed with chisels, a hammer and a sustainably obtained block of wood (which was taken from fallen trees), we were able to create our own masterpieces to take home.


Next we traveled to Plaza the la Cultura to explore the museum, murals, the beautifully vibrant garden, have lunch and dance it off. Lunch was yet again AMAZING! We ate locrio de maiz (mixed rice and corn), tayota con cerdo (pork or chayote for our non meat eaters🙋🏽‍♀️) with a banana and lots of agua. This gave us enough energy to get busy learning bachata and merengue. Dance is a very important part of many cultures and it was fun to sweat it out and learn something new together.

After the dancing was done, we visited the museum portion of the center. The featured artist was Bidó, who helped create the cultural center to bring art education to his hometown of Bonao. The sun is the hallmark of much of Bidó’s work and his colors are intensely beautiful!


Now that we experienced Dominican culture through wood carvings, dance and paintings, it was time to get a behind the scene glimpse at one of the more well known aspects of the culture, CARNIVAL! Osvaldo, of Piro’s workshop, provided us with a very unique and startling experience. Why startling? We entered a warehouse full of life size puppets that came to life unexpectedly! We all had a good laugh at ourselves and listened intently as Osvaldo explained how he uses art as a form of activism during Carnival and special events.


After this cultural experience, we traveled back to La Foudacion (our accommodations) to get ready to become English tutors.
We ended the day with a lot of self reflection and discussion about what we experienced…and of course another delicious meal from Licelot. If you don’t know by now we love Licelot and ALL the food she prepares! As the Lider del Dia (leader of the day), I had the honor of passing the torch to our first student LDDs, Steven and Benjamin. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings and I look forward to their leadership during our journey. Stay tuned for their blog post!

Buenas Noches!