Good evening, family and friends!!! Today, was a special day in San Juan De La Maguana-specifically, it was Culture Day. During the first half of the day, we learned about the history of Santeria and the “deidades” (the deities) from a local Dominican who has practiced Santeria since he was eight. Specifically, Santeria is a known spiritual practice in the Dominican Republic that is rooted in a mixture of Caribbean, African, and Spanish religious and cultural practices. As it relates to the history of Santeria, we were visited by a local percussion group that played a drum called “atabales” or “palos” as music is an integral part of Santeria.

Our second activity was focused on getting students prepared for their roles as local teachers. Particularly, students were given time to begin the planning process for their English classes, as they will be teaching both youth and adults from beginning to advanced English speaking skills. Moreover, they were given time to plan lessons, and figure out creative ways to teach their students.

Our third activity focused on learning about the ways poverty, and socio-economics effect the ways global communities function. Specifically, focusing on how lack of access to clean water, shelter, and food cause increased mortality rates in impoverished communities. Important, students engaged in meaningful dialogue of their understanding of the complex nature of poverty as they prepare for the “Living Like A Local Day.”

Last, students took a dance class where they learned about Merengue and Bachata- traditional Dominican Dances. Specifically, these dances included intricate hip and foot movements. As the teacher made everyone get up and dance, every Glimpser was dancing. Eventually, the night turned into an energetic dance party!