Today was another incredible day in Constanza as our students got to see what it is like to work like a local and learn about one of the Dominican Republic’s main exports. Can you guess what it is?? CUCUMBER!
We started our day early (6:00 am wake up call!) with a little breakfast before heading out to Alberto’s farm! He welcomed our delegation onto his property so that our students could experience firsthand what it is like to work as the locals do and be farmers! Students planted seedlings, weeded, harvested cucumbers, planted corn seeds in seedling trays, and removed the husks from harvested corn. After a little lunch back at the hotel, we then headed to Natural Fields, a cucumber processing and shipping facility. Alberto is a local farmer and only sells his crops here in the DR, but most farmers sell their cucumbers to Natural Fields to then be sold to other countries. And who do you think they export to the most? You guessed it! The United States! Students were able to see firsthand how much food is wasted and thrown away simply because it is not cosmetically acceptable to be sold in American supermarkets. They also learned more about how the cucumbers are prepared to be shipped! They are first washed with water, sprayed with chlorine, and finally coated with a thin layer of wax to preserve them for the long journey to America. So, lesson learned: always scrub your veggies before eating them! Afterwards, students washed up, got dressed up, and showed up for their first day of English tutoring! Most of them were extremely nervous, but definitely excited for their first day and they ROCKED it! I was so proud to see all of them own their role as teachers and I can’t wait to see how they grow over the next 6 classes.
I had the privilege of being Leader Del Dia and, to be honest, it was a little challenging! The Leader Del Dia has multiple responsibilities throughout the day, but I can see how this experience can be extremely rewarding for students. They will have the opportunity to take charge while showing a little bit of their personality to the group.They will also receive feedback at lunch and at the nightly meeting about their performance as leaders! At tonight’s nightly meeting, I received some feedback about my leadership. I learned that I did a great job keeping my energy and enthusiasm high, but could improve on more effective ways to get the attention of the whole group quickly. I plan to take this feedback and apply it throughout the remainder of the trip. Tomorrow our Leaders Del Dia will be TK and Pranab! So look out for their blog tomorrow night!
Overall, the trip is going extremely well so far! Everyone is enjoying themselves and are excited for the days to come! We have all learned so much about this wonderful place and can’t wait to learn more tomorrow on our culture day! Stay tuned!
Best, Alex Swanson