Hello friends and family, today was our second free day of the trip. My name is Michael and I was today’s Leader of the Day. We woke up later than usual and began the day with a buffet-style breakfast consisting of cereal, milk, yogurt, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, we had the chance to exchange our money and get our laundry done. At 10:00, a few of us went shopping with Jesenia to buy materials for our Community Action Project (CAP). First, we went to the paint store, where we had to negotiate the price of the paint so we could have enough money for other materials that we needed. Shout out to Jesenia for negotiating the price of the paint from 850 pesos per gallon to 700 pesos per gallon. Without her help, we would have had to change our CAP project drastically. After buying the paint, we went to the hardware store to buy concrete blocks. The woman that worked there was very helpful and got us what we needed quickly. It was an invigorating experience for me to be able to interact with the local store owners.

The rest of the group was at CECAINI, a school that is targeted towards helping kids in extreme poverty receive an education. One interesting fact about CECAINI is that they serve breakfast and lunch to the students, which helps to address the poverty within the community. I find it upsetting that for most of these kids, the only meals they receive is from the school. However, I also find it comforting that the school provides two meals for the children every day which is something that I took for granted as a given as a student growing up in California. The purpose of going to CECAINI was for us to engage with the children and have fun together. Our Global Glimpsers got into several groups and prepared activities for the children. The fun stations included basketball, water balloons, drawing, building with popsicle sticks and face painting. From what I heard from the group, the kids really enjoyed the face painting and my fellow Glimpsers did a great job entertaining the kids. I was able to go to the school to see the last 10 minutes of the activities and from what I saw was pure happiness from both the glimpsers and the children. At the end of the visit, we were able to distribute many donations to the children but sadly there wasn’t enough to give out to everyone.

After visiting the children at CECAINI, we went back to the hotel to eat lunch. I would like to thank the food providers for providing us a delicious meal. For lunch, we had rice and beans, with grilled pork and vegetables on the side. After lunch, we had free time until 6:45. Some of us got pedicures and manicures at the hotel while the others went out to explore Constanza with the ambassadors. I found it really fun going out with the ambassadors as they knew their way around the city and they were able to guide us through the hectic streets. We were able to go buy snacks, souvenirs, and ice cream. The only thorn was that it was pouring rain for about 30 minutes so we got soaked, but overall it was a great time.

The question of the day was What have you learned from your time here? Think back to your last free day; how have you changed since then? For me, I have learned that money doesn’t necessarily equal happiness and family is very important. I have met people who may be struggling financially, but they are still happy because they are with their families. Furthermore, this trip has made me want to travel the world more and I plan on doing so in the future.

To my friends back home… I miss yall and I can’t wait to see you guys again J