Hi GG Families and Friends!
It’s Richey here – one of the Bay Area Leaders for the San Juan Delegation. We’re just wrapping up our first FULL day in the Dominican Republic and it’s been a full day indeed. This morning we started our day with hearing from Profesora Ogando about the culture and history of the DR. Profesora Ogando helped us learn understand the Spanish, Taino, and African influences present in the country. After learning more about the country we are staying, we were taught how to make chichiguas (Domincan Kites) by our cultural ambassadors. Our ambassadors are mostly students here in San Juan who have volunteered to show us around and today they shared their tips and tricks for making kites like they did when they were younger. We made kites in small groups and I was walking around to take pictures I was reminded of how great the group of students we have is! Everyone was participating, asking questions, and VERY focused on making the best, most stable chichigua J. For lunch we experienced the Bandera Dominicana (Dominican Flag) of food. We enjoyed an amazing meal of chicken, rice and beans which, although simple sounding, could not have better prepared or enjoyed.
However, the clear highlight of the day came in the afternoon when we had our dance lesson. Everyone was challenged to jump SUPER far outside of each of our comfort zones as we did our best to replicate the Bachata and Merengue moves taught to us by a local dance group. We danced solo, with each other, and even with locals! No one quite knew what to do at first but after a couple of dances we are all coming home with a few new moves up our sleeves. Throughout all of the activities today, everyone in our group showed compassion in making sure others were comfortable and had a buddy. All of our students tried something (or many things!) brand new and so far we are nothing but excited for the adventures ahead of us. I’m sure it will include becoming better friends, more new experiences and more Bachata Dance parties at the Hostel!
Thanks letting me share this experience with each of your students! Stay tuned tomorrow to read our FIRST student blog and see some more photos as we learn about Aid + Development in the region.