Today was Culture Day. This meant that during the day the whole delegation took part in major parts of Constanza culture. We started our day with a wonderful breakfast cooked by our amazing host, Dilenia. Afterward, we moved on to an academic seminar about culture. As a group, we defined what we see as culture, talked about some of the strongest parts of our own culture and how we relate to it, then related our own cultures to that of the DR. While talking about the Dominican culture, a conversation about stereotypes and open-mindedness set a great precedent for the day.
Once we had set our outlook for the day, we went to the workshop of a local mask maker Ruben Dario, also known as The Cat. The Cat first told us about La Vega (the local province name) Carnaval. Just like Brazilian Carnaval, La Vega is a giant party. All of the local artisans have a huge competition about who can make the best mask. We saw a few of Cat’s masks, but we didn’t get to see the one that he won the national competition with last year because it is currently at the Department of Culture in Santo Domingo. Cat then showed us how to make masks, which was a blast. We each made a mask with him coming around person by person and helping us with the mouths, noses, eyes, etc. He is an amazing artist and a really cool guy. I can’t be thankful enough for the time he put into this helping us have a great start to our day.
After another fantastic lunch, we went to a dance class with a local, Paul. Paul taught us Salsa, Meringue, and Bachata (I hope I spelled those correctly). We had a blast. Everyone learned the dances, was smiling and having fun, and even got to know our local youth ambassadors a little better. I am confident that we’ll remember these steps for a while after we leave here. Maybe some of us will keep learning more of the steps.
The last two things of the day (other than our wonderful dinner and nightly meeting) were lesson planning for English Tutoring, which starts tomorrow, and a self-reflection session. Tutoring is going to be a big challenge for the glimpsers, but with the help of the ambassadors, I think they’ll do swimmingly. Can’t wait to see what that looks like tomorrow. The self-reflection is just for the Glimpsers, but hearing all of them laugh and having that travel through the hostel tells me that it went really well. Not to mention that when I told them we had to start the nightly meeting, they asked for more time so they could get to know each other better. The topper to all of that was the sheer number of big love shout outs that went to “the whole group” because of that session.
Tomorrow is Global Business day and Krystal will be the leader. We’re really excited to see what the student leaders can do.