Today we studied the impacts that international aid and development NGO’s and nonprofits have when they work in “developing” countries such as the DR. We spent the morning preparing for and going to visit Las Flores, the local community that we will be working with while we are here. We arrived and were met by Scott Coppa, a PeaceCorps Volunteer from the U.S. who has been living and working in Las Flores for the past 2 years. Scott gave a presentation about the health and education projects he has initiated in Las Flores, the difference between aid and development, and then we discussed the importance of sustainability when designing and delivering community service projects. In our Community Action Project (CAP), our group will design and deliver a project that will be sustainable in the long-term, so it was important to understand some of the context. We learned that the most successful projects are projects that the local community takes ownership over and commits to sustaining and maintaining in the long term.
Scott then gave us a tour of the barrio of Las Flores, where the Glimpsers navigated through a dense landscape of narrow alleyways, corrugated tin houses, local residents, garbage, and standing puddles of water. Scott explained that one of his main projects is to design a renovation of the canals that carry water through Las Flores, because the standing water that accumulates in the canals right now poses many dangers to the residents. We also saw a beautiful mural and basketball court that were installed by a previous Global Glimpse group.
After having lunch at our hotel, we returned to Las Flores to begin the first phase of our CAP. We met with coaches from our community partner organization, Magic FC Soccer Club. Glimpsers were able to ask questions about the organization, and found out that its goal is to get disadvantaged youth from Las Flores off of the streets and onto the soccer field, where they hope to train them so they will become professional players. Magic FC wants to find ways to serve their youth better, pull more kids in from the street, and become known at a national level. The coaches’ responses to our questions led us to some potential CAP ideas, which we will be developing more in the coming week.
The day concluded with the Glimpsers’ first English classes! Local youth aged 8-18 and even some adults came to take the English lessons that we designed yesterday at levels from beginning to advanced. Glimpsers taught using chalkboards, played games with their students, and learned a lot that they will use in their next lessons tomorrow!