As Liders del Dia, we had the opportunity to lead the first Free Day. The group had many activities in mind that they wanted to experience throughout the day, and we wanted to see, smell, and taste all of Las Tablas in just a few short but precious hours. After discussing the options in town, we divided into two groups – one was focused on artisanal craft scavenging and the other to break the local basketball record. Unfortunately, we were graced by the tears of god (a.k.a. rain) so some of our original plans had to be changed. Like bamboo, the Glimpsers bent but did not break.

The first group visited multiple artisan booths around town and ended with a sweet treat at Ferretti’s café. The second group raced around town (sometimes literally), meeting locals, stocking up at the supermarket, and then trekking across town past the closed businesses (Sunday/Father’s Day) to the famous Golden Arches for an ice cream cone. After meeting back at the hotel for lunch, our afternoon was just as busy. We attempted to catch a local baseball game but were unlucky due to the weather (we think), so we re-routed back to the supermarket a second round of treats – $1 ice cream, cookies, and chips!

As nightfall approached (a little too quickly), we began to prepare for our second night of English tutoring at the local boarding school. We incorporated games tonight in order to teach simple English words, which gave us an opportunity to form deeper connections with students, many of which are our same age. The night was filled with laughter and learning from both the teaching and learning perspectives, and the students left excited about the next lesson.

Back at the hotel, we munched on our delicious dinner (shout-out Nelson!) and the laughter continued. Our leader duties ended with a discussion of the day, in which we all came to an understanding that despite many cultural differences, we share so many more important similarities. As Liders del Dia, we have come to appreciate kind gestures, no matter how simple; new opportunities, no matter how scary; new friendships, no matter the barriers.

Today’s activities gave us a new outlook on how the little things, such as saying “buenas!” or “gracias para la comida”, can create a change in the environment surrounding us. Our group was and is committed to having fun, being courageous in their explorations, and compassionate when making new connections.

With such a positive free day, we have to end with a few Big Loves! The first goes out to the whole group for being so cooperative and supportive with our leadership today. Second, to Brittney, Brendan, and Lydia for keeping up their great attitudes throughout the long walks and without our coordinators (it was their Free Day as well) as they were gracious enough to be our guides at many points. Third, to our amazing cooks, led by Nelson, for providing us with wholesome and delicious meals everydayyyyyy. Lastly, to all of you great dads out there, thanks for supporting us! We love you and cheers to a Happy Father’s Day! <3

Julia and Kaitlyn

P.S. We got our laundry done!