Today, I had the pleasure of waking up at 5:30 AM in order to wake everyone up by 6:00! Luckily, my roommate, Stephany, was nice enough to help me bang on everyone’s doors. We got out pretty much on time and were able to enjoy another delicious breakfast at Sheila’s, tomato and cheese sandwiches with a banana and passion fruit juice.
Our first event of the day was to design our CAP project; we’ve decided to help the community in Suarez remodel their locale building―adding cement, screens, patching the roof, and painting the outside. Hopefully we’ll even be able to buy them some new chairs and tables! It was really nice to see everyone’s passion for aiding the people of Suarez in improving their community center.
Next, we had an empowering speaker, Gabriel Mascaro, who is a public defense lawyer here in San Juan de la Maguana. He described to us the importance of youth involvement in politics and government. He told us that most politicians today are “ladrones”, or thieves, and we, as the next generation, need to change that. He told us that he originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but listened to his mom and eventually decided to become a lawyer. If he had to choose again though, he said he would still choose law, because it doesn’t matter if you’re doing what you wanted, as long as you like what you do and give it your all. After his presentation, I gave him a Global Glimpse t-shirt as a thank-you gift and said to him, “Gracias por enseñarnos sobre política,” which means, “Thank you for teaching us about politics.”
After that, we returned to our favorite restaurant, Onaney Gourmet! We had rice with corn, chicken breast with cheese, eggplant, Russian potato salad, and fried plantain for lunch. The plantain was my favorite―so yummy! Our next move was to City Hall, which we walked to from Sheila’s. There, we had a Model United Nations simulation, with delegations representing Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. I was Team Haiti! We had to find a solution to the border problems that persist between the DR and Haiti. In the end, we decided that all undocumented Haitian immigrants that have lived in the DR for more than 15 years should be granted amnesty, all children of Haitian parents born in the DR should be given birthright citizenship, and the US should help the DR control and enforce border restrictions, to keep too many Haitians from entering.
Finally, we headed back to Sheila’s, on foot, as we had been all day, and had some pizza for dinner―a taste from home (although they do make it a little differently here)! It was a great way to end the day, along with everyone being able to call home once we came back to the Hotel. Getting to talk to my parents was an incredible boost to finish out the second half of the trip! Overall, today helped everyone better understand the complex history of relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti; and, to think, we had to spend the whole day in our professional clothes, a.k.a the most uncomfortable outfits in this super-hot weather! Still, everyone had a great time, especially later that night, when Nicaury and Janice taught us some fun, colloquial words in Spanish, like “chapiadora” for gold-digger. Tomorrow we’re heading to the beach, to surely enjoy another great day in the DR!