Closing Day – Kitty
Kitty signing in as your very last student leader – likewise, today was full of “lasts.” We started off the day with a late start, that being 8am. Because this was self-reflection day, we all gathered for a closing program seminar led by our very own GG leaders. Starting off with a question and a quote, we began to reflect upon the past 17 days – reminiscing every moment and reevaluating the people we have become. We participated in several activities from sketching the highlights of our entire journey to discussing how this experience will impact our future. Many of us have newfound appreciation for all the basic necessities that are considered luxuries here such as clean toilets, electricity, and even water. We pledged to start, stop, and continue various activities in our lives; a common pledge being to start helping out around the house more and stop complaining about the little things in life.
After a delicious lunch with fish and potato wedges, we had some free time to finish writing letters to donors and completing program evaluations. In the afternoon, we headed to Limon, for our very last interaction with our students. They were asked to prepare a talent for this session that would be showcased to the entire group, so as one of our ambassadors emceed the show, class by class, students went up to perform. We heard beautiful Dominican songs accompanied by Benito, an adult in the advanced class, and his guitar skills. Other acts include a recitation of an original poem, dancing, and English songs as well. Afterwards, we tearfully said our goodbyes, snapped some pictures, and shared our donations with the community.
When we headed back to the rancho, the ambassadors came with us, so we could enjoy a final dinner (with perfectly sweetened mango…mmm) and bid farewell. A few of the male ambassadors even began to cry as we realized the close bond we have all developed over the past few days and quickly attempted to connect on social media. Tonight was also our goodbye to Sara, who planned the entire experience and always supported us in achieving our dreams, encouraging us to count every single difference we make, whether it impacts one or one hundred.
At night, our nightly meeting got moved to a fire pit, so that we could all dwell in the warmth of both the bonfire and our hearts, as cheesy as that is, as we went around the circle sharing our big love for the Dominican Republic, the people we’ve encountered, and most importantly, each other. This was also a beautiful moment to look up at the stars, relish in our final night of peace, and get ready to pack for home.
Nonetheless, we are healthy, happy, and eager to see everyone back home. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but we are empowered to continue creating change in our own communities, so the spirit of the DR lives on. See you soon! We’ll miss you, San Cristobal 🙂