This is Matthew, one of your two GG Leaders.

Today started off at 8:00am (5:00am Pacific Standard Time) with breakfast at Onaney Restaurant, followed immediately by our culture seminar lead by myself and our other GG Leader, Rosie.  The students had a great discussion about perceptions and stereotypes of different culture, in addition to reflecting about how Dominicans might perceive Americans to be.  After our seminar, we had a tour of cultural landmarks in San Juan de Maguana.  We learned about

On the walk back to Onaney Restaurant, we were greeted by our amazing local student ambassadors at a local park.  The ambassadors, teens the same age as our GG students, greeted us with bow ties as their presents.  The students were able to mix with the local student ambassadors at lunch time.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and look fresh and clean for our cultural presentation at the city hall.  When we arrived to the city hall (built to resemble The White House), we were had a series of presentations, beginning with Professor Ruben, who discussed culture and history in the DR.  Afterwards, we had our mini “carnaval”, with a procession of costumes and dances and live music.  The students didn’t hesitate to get down and dance when they were called upon, even our shyer students.  The presentations closed with an address by Alcaldesa Hanoi Sanchez, the mayor of San Juan de Manguana.  She called on the students to serve their community and discussed the importance of preserving one’s culture.

We returned to the hotel after the energetic celebration, and the students jumped straight into their English class tutoring seminar, lead by Janice.  The students began working on their Spanish skills, as well as getting a chance to lesson plan.  They will have their first day of English tutoring on Tuesday.

Dinner back at Onaney Restaurant was pizza.

We closed off our nightly meeting with another “getting to know” each other activity, with Jason and Nick S. getting the torch passed to them to be the first “El Lider Del Dia” (student leader of the day).

*Update:  Apologies for not getting the pictures posted yesterday; I had trouble uploading them.  Once we can figure out a way to compress the amazing pictures taken by Takai (designated our delegation’s official photographer) to a smaller file size, we will post those here, as well.  Here are a few from the culture day: