On this trip we have had the opportunity to live like a local and today was the perfect continuation, working like a local. Since we were going to be working like locals we had to wake up 6 and I, Karla was not only lucky to be the leader of the day but also to wake up at 5:30, yay. After breakfast we all hopped on the bus, greeted our bus driver Rafael and made our way to La Sabina where we were going to be picking weeds for about 4 hours. We were all paired with workers so we could get to know them, what they do for a living and also to help us get through such intense work. My partner Naomi and I were paired with 19 year old Griselda who is married and mother of two little girls. As we were talking I noticed how she was very calm, she didn’t have a single drop of sweat on her face, and her tubi was on point. These observations might seem a bit weird but they caught my attention because after the first row I felt my sweat run down my face and it made me think about how this was what she did for a living from 6 in the morning to about 3 in the afternoon. I asked her the basics, but having two different ways of life made it interesting. Griselda ran away with her husband after she found out she was pregnant at the age of 14, she has lived in Constanza her whole life, and has worked in different fields as the seasons change. Of course, Naomi and I were very open and nonjudgmental with her answers but once I told her that I missed eating spicy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner she thought I was the one who had to do the explaining. Naomi and I were very fortunate to be paired with Griselda because she made the most tiring and difficult job not so painful, after all we completed 3 rows while some were on their first. After working for 4 hours I gathered everyone up so we could say our good byes, we met up in one of the greenhouses that we worked in and presented them with a small gift of appreciation. Once we got on our bus, everyone was clearly exhausted but I could not imagine how the rest of the workers felt as they had to go back to work.
Once we got back to Dilenias it was time to boost our energy with her delicious food but then it was back to work. Having 5 hours of free time it was our duty to have fun but also to use our time wisely so for the first 3 hours Krystal, Andrea, Tram, Sofia, Ms. Schaetzke, and I went to the supermarket to buy souvenirs. We all had many things on our list but with little options it was a bit disappointing to not have the opportunity to rock something that’ll let everyone else know that we spent 2 and a half amazing weeks in the Dominican Republic. After about an hour or two of browsing I ended up purchasing a deck of playing cards, keychains, and bracelets for my loved ones back home. Walking back home in very hot and humid weather was boring until Ms. Schaetzke got her first cat call. We got back to the hostel, dropped ours things off and went to the bakery that everyone had been loving. As soon as we got to the bakery and read the menu I was ready to order everything, they had churros with Nutella filling, cheesecake, and the best caramel donuts I have ever tasted. Thousands of calories later we all walked back to the hostel to plan out our Community Action Project which is coming along very well and ended the long day with dinner and a small birthday celebration for Robin and Ethan. At the end of our nightly meeting I passed the torch to Sofia and Yeshi who will be awesome leaders of the day.