As day three comes to a close, I continue to be impressed by our amazing students and leadership team. Even though we have only been here 3 days, our students have bonded quickly and our activities, discussions and interactions with our new Dominican friends show that this is truly a special bunch. In addition to the positive group dynamic, we are enjoying the beautiful setting of our ecolodge, Rancho Campeche. Despite the rustic setting and a few setbacks such as temporary power outages, plumbing issues and BUGS (I think this is the hardest for some of the students) the students continue to acclimate to our new home. Our hosts, Xiomara, Gina and their staff are caring and welcoming and it already feels like family. Today’s theme was culture, in particular, Dominican music and dance. After a delicious breakfast of pancakes, assorted fresh fruit and juice, my co leader Ricardo and I lead an academic seminar on culture. After the seminar, our students welcomed the Global Glimpse student ambassadors, a group of Dominican teenagers who work with Global Glimpse in the DR. The ambassadors presented the students with beautiful bracelets with symbols of the Dominican flag. After wonderful introductions, we met our dance teacher Ariel. Ariel heads a dance troop in the DR. The first dance he taught us was a hip hop arrangement to the popular song Uptown Funk. We had a blast learning the routine and laughing with the ambassadors. Everyone participated enthusiastically, including myself! We then focused on a more traditional type of dance, merengue. The students partnered with the ambassadors and learned some basic steps and turns. Muy divertido!
After lunch we traveled by bus to the town of Sainagua where we visited La Fundacion Sol Naciente and met our speaker, Nelson Rivera. The Fundacion is the home of the National Festival of Atabales which is held every November. Atabales are a type of African wooden drum. Nelson spoke of the various types of Atabales and their cultural and religious significance. The Glimpsers were then treated to a musical performance by a group that uses Atabales, guiras, maracas and other percussion instruments. The students practiced their merengue moves on the dance floor as the music played.
After a lively and fun afternoon, we returned to the Rancho for self reflection, dinner and the nightly meeting. I passed the torch (actually the necklace) to our first student leader of the day, Aya. She will lead our Glimpsers for Working Like a Local. Stay tuned!
Big Love to all the parents, family and friends. Thinking of you all!
Suzanne King GG Leader
PS Please forgive the lack of accent marks on the Spanish words. Still getting used to our new tablet. 🙂