From San Juan to Santo Domingo with Diana
Since today we had to transition from being in a small city to a big city of the Dominican Republic, our question of the day was
“What is the difference between San Juan de la Maguana and Santo Domingo?”
As well as
“What is your favourite memory of this trip?”
The differences I observed were that in San Juan there was less traffic, it was cleaner, and that many people you passed by would greet you, whereas in the city the streets are packed, there is an accumulation of trash on sidewalks, and the only people that would greet you were the ones selling souvenirs. It was also interesting to discover that although Santo Domingo is a tourist zone, many people still stared at us.
My favorite memory from this trip would have to be running down the block to our hotel from the empanada place, with all the locals cheering us on and arriving with only ten seconds to spare! Of course that is just one of many incredible memories we have made on this trip that has proved to be a worthwhile experience.
Today I woke everyone up at 7 a.m. for our last day in San Juan! It was a challenge because there was so much that needed to be done, but little time to do it. We had to finish writing letters and finish packing all before breakfast at 8 a.m. Then we had an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 to do a room inspection so that all of our belongings would return home with us. Then it was time for our final seminar! During the seminar we reflected on all the experiences that stood out to us the most, from the very moment our journey began when we were accepted into the program. Together we made a collage and shared what we learned about leadership. After the seminar we went to lunch at comedor D’Inez for the last time and said our thank you’s and good bye’s to all the staff that had cooked and served our food. Then we had to hurry back to the Hotel D’Angel, where we also said our good bye’s to all the staff that had made us feel safe and at home. It was a bittersweet moment, especially since Angela, who was like a mother to us, was not there to say good bye. But the mood quickly changed when we boarded our “party bus” and made the most of our 3 and a half hour drive. Once we had arrived at our first hotel in the D.R, we were allowed to go souvenir shopping from 6:30 to 7:15. Our leaders made it clear to us that we had to bargain in order to get the best deals., and we all managed to get what we wanted for a better price. Being leader of the day it was challenging to get people to places on time, and it was a let down that my own group was 5 minutes late to the meeting spot, but in the end we made up for it by being early to dinner. After dinner we got to head out to hear a music performance in the Ruinas San Cristobal, although we had just arrived when it started to rain and the performance was over. We ended our day with our last nightly meeting, and it was very touching that so many people’s thorns were that our trip is coming to an end and that we would soon be splitting up. Being in a strange country for three weeks really brings people close, and together we have formed strong friendships and made unforgettable memories together. I am so thankful that I came on this trip and got to share everything with these amazing people. I had a fantastic time and will miss everyone very dearly, including our wonderful GG leaders and coordinators who not only took care of us, but also befriended us and helped us grow into leaders.