We are Jose and Adam, and we are the daily leaders for day 5. We are both from Highland Park, Illinois and we both attend Highland Park High School. Although we had somehow interacted back at home, we have gotten to know and appreciate each other very well already. We had a great time today as the daily leaders and we felt that we learned a lot from the experience.
Today’s topic was centered around the idea of how important it is to understand the process of how the water system works in the Dominican Republic, which is incredibly different than what we experience in the United States. Although in the first few days we already learned that tap water was not safe to drink, we did not necessarily understand the magnitude of the lack of sanitation in the water. Even before learning about the water system, we watched a Ted Talk and a documentary about how important it is to help out others in a considerable manner. In the afternoon, we went to Plan Yaque and we learned more about how the water system works and how it impacts people’s lives overall. Plan Yaque explained that they are an NGO and that they had a plan to cleanse the pollution in the Yaque Del Norte River, the largest river system in the Dominican Republic. Immediately after, we went to the community of Cartoce and we were able speak directly to the members of the community. Cartoce is the community that we will work in for our service project, helping build pipelines for easier access to water. We asked them about struggles with their water situation and about more about their personal perspectives regarding their living situation. Even though their houses looked fairly nice on first sight, we learned that their water situation was actually an incredible challenge for them. We really took into account of the video and documentary that we watched, which made us consider that we need to first understand the desires of those in need before we act upon what WE think they need.Also, a nice lady welcomed us into her house to get some coffee, which was amazing. It was an act of incredible gratitude considering how scarce their water inventory was. We got to met their family members such as Mateo and his siblings, who were absolutely adorable. Then we went to a supermarket and bought some snacks. Some were native to the country and others were personal favorites that we wanted to make sure we had in our rooms. We had a very fun time going shopping and socializing in general.
Overall, being a leader was an incredible experience. We look forward to the rest of our trip and the new perspectives that we will see each day!
Adam and Jose