Guess what? It’s our last night in the DR! *gasp* It can’t be!
On a more serious note, my name is Neha Sharma and I have had the amazing opportunity to get to know Ivy, Dimitrios, Cynthia, Tara, Abby, Garima, Anmol, Dolores, Misa, Leilani, Maj, Valeria, Bri, Daijah, Zoe, Alexa, Vivi, Ms. Awadalla, Silvi, Fabi, all the amazing G.G. ambassadors, and the kind locals. These people made this journey so valuable and I have learned so much. Our delegation has been lucky enough to have GGLs and program coordinators who are so passionate about teaching and learning. Without Fabi’s amazing dance, Silvi’s tough love, Ms. Awadalla’s motherly concern, and Vivi’s infinitely cool and laidback personality we wouldn’t have been able to maximize the lessons our experiences were supposed to teach us. This group of Glimpsers is filled with talent and kindness. Their compassion made even someone like me, who is very introverted, open up, let go of all inhibitions, and just enjoy the moment. Thank you so much to everyone that taught or inspired me to take something back home from this beautiful and growth-provoking experience.
Today, we started the day bright and early at 7 am. We had a slightly earlier breakfast of mashed potatoes, papaya, pineapples, toast, and oatmeal. The meal table faced a stampede of sleepy teenagers that attacked the coffee. After breakfast, we started a 3-hour long reflection seminar. It seems long but it flew by so fast. We started off with heart-warming serendipity, where five students sat in a circle with their eyes closed, a prompt was provided to the rest, and then the Glimpsers in the center would have their shoulders tapped on if someone believed they fit what the prompt described. We drew pictures that symbolized our favorite moments from our time in Constanza. Mine were meeting the children of Cañada de Las Palmas, drawing with them, and tutoring. Afterward, we transitioned into a fast-paced activity where we wrote affirmations for each other…but we only had 30 seconds! Oh, all I wanted to write, but how do you describe 16 days worth of praises in 30 seconds? To cheer everyone up, we had a talent show! Ms. Awadalla read a beautiful poem that gave us some insight into her personal life and how talented of a writer she is (seriously she’s amazing!). I also read a poem that I pieced together from poems that the students I tutor back at home made for me before I left the U.S. Vivi showed us a little bit of stage fighting (which I will most definitely take back home to mess with people ;)). Fabi…or should I say Fabio, who was “substituting” 😉 for Fabi, asked me to read her…*ehm*…his palms and tell him his future. Silvi and Fabi then commenced to blow our minds with their amazing dancing. We had lunch, followed our general meal routine, and, then, transitioned into free time. Everyone had the chance to pack and then go out to explore for two hours. Ivy and I went with Silvi to buy school donations with the leftover CAP donations for CECAINI and the Haitian community we visited in the previous days.
Once we had tended to the last of our errands, we dressed up in our finest clothes and went to a gorgeous restaurant called Altocerro. The restaurant was surrounded by beautiful grass plains and animals sat at the front, leisurely enjoying their evening. We sat in a gazebo that faced a beautiful playground, soccer field, and ping pong table. We shared an amazing barbecue dinner with the ambassadors one last time. Bryan, our amazing bus driver, also joined us! We migrated off the gazebo and conquered the playground. We enjoyed a game a volleyball and ping pong and I learned that sports are definitely not for me :). We all went to the front of the restaurant to take pictures and play in the small petting zoo. There was a pony! Haha, it was great.
As we started to head out, though, it started to hit me…this was it. There would be no more special dinners with the ambassadors, or crazy, random singing, or spontaneous dance parties, or late night heart-to-hearts with these loving people I had grown so attached to. Silvi said before, “Enjoy this moment. You won’t be able to get it back.” And she was right. I feel like I have changed and learned so much, but those moments, no matter how small or insignificant have left a mark on us. But these moments have passed. It’s sad and hurts a little. But the simple fact that I had the chance in the first place to get to know these people makes it worth it. Thank you, Abby and Zoe, for encouraging me to open up by being so sweet. Thank you, Ivy, for having all those weird conversations I had with you, even if I did get a little aggressive. Thank you, Maj, Bri, Daijah, Misa, Valeria, and Leilani for being so funny and always cheering everyone up. Thank you, Tara, Cynthia, Dmitri, and Anmol for playing all those card games with me. Thank you, Garima, for making me laugh when we washed dishes together. Thank you, Dolores and Alexa, for talking to me when I was stressed. Thank you, everyone, for being so receptive to my leadership today and always being open to my ideas. Thank you C2A.
*A NOTE: Thank you Neha for being an excellent leader today and a kind-hearted, assertive, intelligent, and warm presence during our trip. Your delegation thanks you.