Hola Familias,

Today my roommate Andy and I created a special wake-up call.  Andy hit a pen against his metal water bottle while I hit a metal flashlight against a large bucket.  As we drummed, we walked through the hotel hallway singing the “F.U.N. Song” from the show Spongebob Squarepants.  It was loud, fun, obnoxious, and it worked 🙂  The group ate a large pancake breakfast before heading off to the Monument of Divino Nino – a monument and large statue of baby Jesus. Several of us admired the gorgeous view of Constanza the entire time while others checked out the gift shop.  We then switched from a bus ride to safari trucks, which took us all the way to El Arroyazo.  El Arroyazo is a national park with hiking trails and a small swimming hole along the river.  On our way there we saw beautiful mountains, farmland, shacks, cows, and, of course, locals going about their daily business.  It’s impressive to see how locals use motorcycles here.  Families up to six people all pile onto a single motorcycle for transportation while farmers carry heaping sacks of produce to sell.  There are at least three times as many motorcycles here as there are cars or trucks.  After an hour and a half of driving we finally arrived at El Arroyazo.

At El Arroyazo, we enjoyed lunch, played volleyball on the grass, and then headed down to the swimming hole.  The majority of the group cannon-balled into the icy river and later played catch in the water with the friendly Dominicans who drove us to our destination.  Those of us who can’t swim played volleyball, took pictures, and splashed around in the shallows.  When we got tired or cold, we sunbathed on the rocks and admired the surrounding jungle.  Part of the group sang and played games all the way back from El Arroyazo.

From El Arroyazo, we went straight to the school for English tutoring which was a bit difficult due to the fact that we were dirty and tired from swimming.  However, we all pulled through and had a good second English tutoring session. Rhea was especially brilliant, taking initiative in her class of 9-13 year olds.  Kids seem to love her.  After cleaning up, we headed to the local pizzeria, Mon Carlos, for a grand Fun Day celebration.  During our dinner we surprised Emma and Andrew G. with a cake because both students have/had birthdays close to the time of our Global Glimpse trip.  We connected our program coordinator’s phone to a large Bluetooth speaker and sang Karaoke style to various artists such as Taylor Swift, Juan Luis Guerra, and Lil Yachty,  The pizzeria had ponchos and sombreros hanging on a rack for performers and we borrowed them to dance and play around.  Although we fell behind schedule and spent every last ounce of energy, today has been an entertaining day.  Looking across the valley and eating lunch by the river was a blast.  Fun Day has definitely marked the climax of our trip.  When we look back at our trip to the Dominican Republic, we will certainly recall many memories from today.

Hope you are all doing well,

Ray F.