Our journey officially begun!

Our history day started with an early rise for the Glimpsers. As “El Lider del Dia” (ELDD) I was responsible for getting everyone up at 7:00am. To my surprise, all Glimpsers were already up before I did my rounds! I spotted Seanna and Sonja doing some early morning yoga (I hope I get to join them every now and then). We also had our first official Dominican style breakfast – some Mangu with a hearty serving of eggs.

After breakfast, Glimpsers had their academic seminar. Though I was unable to participate – I have to split my time as ELDD with those of Program Coordinator – I was able to pass through the two groups and noted that ALL Glimpsers were engaged! I’m glad to see that they’ve all put their timidity and shyness aside and were able to come together in small groups to solve their first challenge; ordering historical facts based on context without knowing the date. They collectively have embodied the principle of Commitment by demonstrating an effort to step out of their comfort zones, to get to know each other, and to stay engaged to all activities presented.

After our academic seminar, we had our history tour of San Cristobal. And what a great time we had! My two highlights? Well, the first would have to be when we were talking about the town square under the main gazebo and Sonja, our interpreter, decided to by us all icees! It was the equivalent of $2 for 20 people, but the gesture was so thoughtful and kind that I consider her the first to fully embody the principle of Compassion. Walking for 1 hour under the sun is not easy, and she made it just a little more fun for all. The second highlight would be the stop at Hippie’s house. Hippie, who has a museum in his house dedicated to remembering the era of the dictator Trujillo, gave us some interesting counterpoints to consider when we think about Trujillo’s dictatorship. But the best moment in our opinion was when we gave Hippie his two thank you gifts for having us: a picture of the last delegation and a few license plates that Seanna brought to him (he’s a collector). The smile on his face was so powerful and he expressed such kind words of gratitude; he was obviously moved by the gifts. I think it’s wonderful that the Glimpsers come here to learn from the community but that they also leave something for the community as well – whether it’s a bit of knowledge or a token of appreciation.

After our tour, we came back to the Rancho and had 2 hours of free time. It was the first time this summer where I was able to jump into a pool and I was so glad I did! Marco Polo was definitely a blast! After dinner, we had our second nightly meeting. Again, the level of enthusiasm and engagement – especially considering it’s only the second day but that we also had a long tour of the city – was absolutely amazing.

I’m just waiting to see one thing. Who will be the first to embody the principle of Courage?

Stay tuned for more.