As today was our first true FREE day, everyone had a bit more flexibility to chill and hang out with their fellow Glimpsers and Ambassadors. With a wakeup call at 8:30, and a self serve breakfast through 10:00 am, Glimpsers had the opportunity to live by their own schedule for a few hours, and sleep in until family calls. While the morning brought some much-needed catch-up time with family, the afternoon led to an extended exploration of the city of Bonao. We left the accommodations as one 18-person group (plus ambassadors) and split into two smaller groups at Parque de Duarte (a central park). As we went our separate ways, some people visited an internet cafe and some went to the mall. My group ended up at a Nuno (a pizzeria) and bonded through a capella, laughter, and good food. Both groups stopped by Bon (for frozen yogurt or ice cream) and met up at the park and another little souvenir shop. By 5:00, the larger of the two groups had made it back to the accommodations, and ambassadors and Glimpsers alike were playing card games, holding Jenga tournaments, and folding origami. At 7:00, we were all sad to see the ambassadors go, but excited for dinner after a long ‘dia de divertido‘ (day of fun-also the chant of the day.)
After some free time to hang out together after dinner, 8:00 pm brought about the final meeting of the night. Love was passed around the room as we reflected on our appreciation of Dominican culture and the opportunity granted to us to be in such an amazing place. The community we’ve built in just seven days is incredible, and I’m so grateful to be able to see how important a tight-knit community is in a place like the Dominican Republic. My time here has led me to appreciate people as individuals and helped me understand how material objects do not create the fabric of society. I hope to share my love of this place with everyone I meet and I’ve grown to look forward to nearly every aspect of this society, from the food to the music at night. The highs of the day far outweighed any lows that may have occurred, and I could not be more proud to have been able to lead such wonderful people on a day full of discovery and freedom.
To all the family and friends out there, we are learning new things every day that we can’t wait to share with you. We’re sending our love and can’t wait to see you again.