If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.  -African Proverb

This morning was our first large chunk of free time during our stay in Constanza. Students still had a wake-up call at 8 AM, but could sleep in late as long as they ate breakfast before 10. Many students went out into town with local volunteers and purchased supplies for their English tutoring and classes. Some students stayed home for some chill time because everyone needs it sometimes. We reconvened for lunch at 1 PM before heading out for our visit to our Global Business partner this afternoon.

As the quote of the day above states, we do go everywhere together. Rescheduled from Wednesday, the group traveled to Natural Fields, a cucumber packing facility here in Constanza. Our guide, Grayli, walked us through the warehouse where we washed our hands and put on hair nets before walking through the assembly line. Workers – predominantly women – washed, dried, and organized the cucumbers by size, quality, and shape. We learned that some of the buyers of these cucumbers are from Brooklyn in New York City.

After the visit, we went straight to the school for English tutoring! We arrived an hour early and everyone had time to set up and interact with the students who arrived early. It was the second tutoring session of this delegation and students reported back more positive stories than last time. With experience comes improvement and we demonstrated that today. Glimpsers reported that the challenge of having very different students in one class is tough to manage. However, during the nightly meeting, someone shared that they love working with kids and this helps them to experience that in a new way.

Our workshop this evening was heavy and we discussed some statistics involving poverty in the DR and around the world. We were surprised to hear that 10% of the people in the Dominican Republic control about 40% of the wealth in the country. While this is still less unequal than the US (the top 1% control about 40% of the wealth in the US), it helps us to understand more about the living situations we are seeing in and around Constanza. Students responded most emotionally to statistics involving child illness and death as a result of dirty water, poor living conditions, and lack of access to health care. The DR spends only 4% of their GDP on health care, as opposed to 17% in the USA and 9-11% in Western Europe.

For the next 24 hours, we will be living like locals: bucket showers, no running water, no electricity, no lights, and eating what can be purchased for less than $2 per day. We learned that over two billion people make less than $2 per day worldwide and that the richest person in the world is worth more than $100 billion. Tomorrow’s Leaders of the Day – Jessica, Jose, and Scarlette – will report back with our experiences.