Hey everyone! It’s Ari here from Castro Valley High. So I was the “unofficial” first student leader of the day. I called myself the “unofficial” leader because another student was supposed to take charge today but unfortunately she wasn’t feeling so hot. I was passed on the title of “La Lider del Dia” during breakfast this morning. I was quite frightened originally as I wasn’t trained the day before as what the custom is but I couldn’t be surrounded by a more supportive group of people!
Today’s focus was Aid and Development specifically the benefits and downfalls. We started out the morning with a relatively later wake up time of 7:45 which was pretty great! Breakfast was at the famous Sheila’s and it consisted of scrambled eggs and toast. Unfortunately a few students decided to stay at the hostel with the Health Coach as they fell ill as well, causing them to miss out. Luckily everyone was back to good health by the late afternoon!
From breakfast we walked back to the hotel to participate in the first seminar of the day focusing on Aid and Development. In two groups we researched the pros and cons of aid through articles and brainstorming. We even performed skits towards the end! Soon after our seminar we were to expect a speaker from the Peace Corps. Until she arrived we played a fantastic game known as “The Big Wind Blows”. Things got competitive fast amongst both the students and the GG staff! I’d say that game caused laughter more than anything else on our trip so far. Soon after Kareen from the Peace Corps joined us to continue our conversation on the positive and negative aspects of aid abroad. Kareen was very inspiring as a Mexican-American first generation college student who decided to spread her knowledge to the Dominican Republic through volunteering.
She then joined us for lunch at Sheila’s where we were served a delicious meal of rice, pork or beef, lasagna, and chenchén. Chenchén is a food item known across the DR as being part of the culture of San Juan. It is corn based and is quite savory!
In the intense heat, we returned to the hostel for yet another seminar. This seminar truly stressed the importance of asking communities what type of aid they want rather than blindly throwing money or projects at them. From there we took a little field trip to a town nearby known as Maguana al Medio. We went to one of the schools to ask locals what improvements they wanted to see in their lovely community. All of ourresearch will be put towards our CAP project when we return to Maguana al Medio. Towards the end of our time there, one of the local boys in my group asked me if we would be interested in a game of volleyball. Soon enough, all of the teenagers nearby were involved in a fierce match! We learned quickly that the locals were far better at volleyball than us!
Our evening started and ended just like every other evening here in San Juan de la Maguana. I am so beyond thankful for the opportunity presented to me today. Not only did I learn a lot about being a leader, our delegation, and effective aid skills, but a lot about myself as well.
This next portion is directed towards my friends and family so I’m sorry to everyone else! You all raised amazing children so thank you for making this possible for them!
Hey everyone! Oh gosh I miss you all loads. I just want everyone to know I’m truly experiencing the trip of a lifetime. I’m so in love with San Juan de la Maguana from the people to the customs! I’m counting down the days until we can call again. Nights are tough without the opportunity to say goodnight to you Mom, Baba, and Maio but your blog comments are really pulling me through! To my pals, come on guys I want to hear from you! Thank you so much to Manga, Amani, and Luli for all of the lovely comments. Guys I’m struggling out here without news updates! Luckily we were enlightened of the recent police involved incidents. I’m so sorry to hear the news and I only wish I could be involved in the Bay. Unfortunately I don’t have access to updates but someone please let me know how our family in the Dallas area is doing. I love and miss my family friends so much! I hope you’re all living your life to the fullest. It’s time for bed now so goodnight and sweet dreams everyone, lots of love!