Today was an especially powerful day for the group as a whole. We learned so many things, whether our thoughts were conscious or subconscious.
Dana Konner: One thing that I personally learned was that there are thousands of things that we, living in America, depend on daily. We believe that many things within our lives will always be there if or when we need them. However, today I realized that this is only true for certain parts of the world. While exploring the Dominican Republic and some of its lower income areas, I learned that some things such as Health Care and Education are not a 100% guarantee. Today, we visited the dump in which people work and live. There are small children, probably around 8 or 10 years old, running around barefoot collecting spare food out of the trash. Education is not a priority in this community, because the need to eat overrides the need for an education. Children are not in school, and expected to marry at the age of 10 years old. This lack of education, as we spoke about, prolongs the cycle of poverty that we have seen so far on our journey. I learned that education is key to unlocking this vicious cycle and that knowledge opens doors to many more opportunities. Many parents here have aspirations and dreams for their children to achieve. We learned, overall, to be more appreciative of what we have back home and to never take anything for granted.
What surprised me the most today was definitely the conditions of the places that we visited in comparison to the personalities of the people we met. The conditions, to us at least, seemed upsetting and nearly unbearable. Despite this, the community members kept an extremely positive attitude, and have an endless amount of love and gratitude to share.
Being Lider Del Dia was truly a refreshing and positively uplifting experience for me. I learned the qualities that are necessary to be a respected and well-structured leader. I also learned how important it is to lead by example, and how much of an impact being a leader has on the actions of my peers. I learned that I am, for the most part, a natural leader. However, there are many things today that I had to encounter with an open mind, an open heart, and open ears for listening.
Side Note: I love and miss you Mom, Dad and Ashley!!!!! I love you guys to the moon and back and can’t wait to see you again. XOXOXO.
Today was a very overwhelming day. Not only was I Lider del Dia, but we witnessed extreme poverty. Going to the dump and visiting Escuela Cecaini, where people lack the basic necessities of living, was difficult for the group to see. Personally, I felt indignation towards the situation of these workers and students; uncontrollable factors in their life, led them to live in these conditions. The most moving experience was engaging with one of the workers at the dump, Jose Miguel, who told us how the death of his mother and his retiring from the military led him there.
Despite the difficult experience, it has made me look forward even more to starting the CAP project and helping others. Although I was unable to help those who I met today, I am finally being given the opportunity to give back to others. What I will learn from the CAP project will serve me for when I come back in the future to address the issues I encountered today.
Finally, being Lider del Dia felt both extremely exhausting and fun at the same time. At times people wouldn’t listen to what the Leaders were saying. However, this meant that I got to use the megaphone- so I am not complaining ;-). By the end of the day I felt relieved, but also satisfied, by what I had learned as a leader. Also, despite the rough day, I was proud at how well composed the group remained: people were respectful and engaged with the workers, ignoring the smell, the smoke and the littered garbage.
Overall, I had a positive experience as I learned how to be a better leader and I have been motivated even more to bring about justice (and I feel more confident that I can). Change comes one step at a time.
P.S Hi mom, dad and JoJo (pls can you answer my calls I haven’t spoken to you for the whole trip :/