Hey Everyone!

It’s Elias, your ELLD, El Leader del Dia, Leader of the Day. Today we paired our Education Day with our Aid and Development Day and the experience was thrilling.

It was very appropriate to pair these two days because education is such a crucial part of a countries development. From the people of FLAM, we learned that literacy and creative writing can be undervalued and under-taught in the Dominican education system. From Conamuca, our CAP partners, we learned of the barriers that may prevent people from having access to opportunities, including a lack of education or lack of political power. What’s great is that both these organizations exist to remedy that.

As a group, I have to highlight our experience with FLAM. Mareiya summed it up best: “I was expecting them to write as well as they did, but I wasn’t expecting them to feel those complex emotions.” I think we were all surprised at the writing of these kids – their ages ranging from 7 to 19. Keya told me that she was surprised at being asked if they have a creative writing program at her school. I think what shocked her was the lack of emphasis on creative writing in this country – it’s just not a priority here. But most of all, what touched each and every one of us was that after we presented FLAM with gift as a token of our gratitude, they presented each of us with a small gift: books published by each of these young people. It was such a beautiful gesture and we all felt a bit sad having to say goodbye (we really could’ve spent an entire day talking and learning from them).

As ELDD, I was super proud at how the Glimpsers took charge of the English tutoring classes. Today was their first day. Some challenges were faced – especially in dealing with classroom management. I think today more than ever, Glimpsers can appreciate the work their teachers do because they had to replicate it. And it was hard! But it was also rewarding to see the community we were teaching leave the classroom knowing a little more.

And though I have to give credit to the guests of CONAMUCA for the great work they do, and likewise to the people of FLAM, I think the most inspiring people we met today were the community members that came to English tutoring, especially the older folk with little formal education. Those people took a risk. They heard about something they were interested in and took a chance when they had the opportunity to do it. That should be an inspiration for all of us.

I enjoyed being ELDD. But as the Leadership coach, I’m ready to step back and see what the students can do with the role. Can’t wait to see what they post on the blogs!