Today is our 7th day in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and it is a special day because it is our first free day. A free day gives each of us the opportunity to decide what we want to do that day. On these days we get to explore the community, immerse ourselves in the culture, and experience things on our own.

The focus of today was what have we learned in the DR after our first week. We were reminded to use our free day to think back to every memory, every experience, and everything we learned for the past few days while we explored the surrounding community of Dios Dira. The first few hours we spent at CONAMUCA with each other playing games and talking to get to know each other better. Also, many of us learned how to wash and dry our clothes by hand, in the same way that many Dominicans do so. By the end of the first free hours, we grew closer than ever, making friendships that will last forever.

We spent our second free time having an adventure around Dios Dira with our local ambassadors. We walked in the relaxing heat observing the nature and houses everyone lived in. I was impressed by all the community members being so friendly and social. I hope the community I live in one day will be just like that. Eventually we arrived to a colmado, or corner store, where we bought some sweet and delicious Dominican Republic sodas. Then we took a break at a small sitting area where they were playing music. There we learned some new games, like a fast paced hand game. We finally went back to our home, CONAMUCA. There we played card games with our ambassadors, teaching each other new games. We all had loads of fun.

I am so proud of my fellow glimpsers for stepping out of their comfort zone to talk to the ambassadors and getting to know them and life here better. Watching everyone step out of their comfort zones inspired me to take more risks. I was surprised how close we got to the ambassadors even with a language barrier. Sadly, we had to move on to our next event of the day, but I look forward to the next time we can hang out with our ambassadors. We all went to an academic seminar where we got a little taste of how to live like a local. We were taught how to take a bucket shower – using only buckets filled with water, not running water from the shower head – and how to flush a toilet manually. We were challenged to spend the rest of the night and next day living like a local. Our day slowly came to an end.

I had so much fun being challenged to be El Lider Del Dia. As El Lider Del Dia, I was tasked with leading the group at every event, reminding them to drink water, making sure everyone was present and healthy, and much more. From this experience I learned the responsibilities a leader faces and personally to be a good leader they must observe and learn from the group. I also learned about myself as a person. I prefer the company of a loving and friendly group, which is exactly what I got. We all wish you the best and miss you very much!!!!