If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together – African Proverbs
Hey everyone! My name is Jerome Cabangangan and I was the leader of the day (LDD) for our first free day. I was personally very excited for this day as it was mostly dedicated to exploring Constanza and buying things at the local stores. In addition, it was a pretty easy day to be the LDD because only the last half of the day had actual structure to the schedule.
The wake-up call was at 8:30 am so most of us slept in, which was relaxing considering the packed days we had prior but some of the group woke up at 7:00 am to workout together. Breakfast was relaxing as well since it was a self-serve breakfast consisting of different cereals and fruits that was open until 10. I’ll admit that it was a little plain compared to the amazing foods that we had before, but I can’t complain too much since we could have as much as we want and, of course, it’s still food and there are many people in the world who go to sleep hungry, as we touched on yesterday and will learn more tomorrow.
After breakfast, we gathered into three groups depending on where in Constanza we wanted to visit. One group went to the Internet café, another group went to the grocery market, and the last group went to a souvenir shop. I went with the group that prioritized the souvenir shop, and many of us bought little things like bracelet, purses, and clothes. Then we went to the grocery market and met up with another group, where almost everyone bought snacks and drinks. At 12, we headed back to the hotel for lunch where we had chicken with rice and various vegetables. We used our second explore time to go out to get some ice cream and go back to the supermarket to get even more snacks.
The most structured part of our day came in the form of our English tutoring classes. Since we already had experience with tutoring, classes today went pretty well. We had gained the respect of many of the students and since they already knew what to expect, it was easier to get their attention and teach them what we had planned. However, there were a handful of kids that were a bit too energetic and were hard to control. For example, near the beginning of class, a young kid about 10-11 years old came into my classroom and asked us how to say “wait.” He then proceeded to go back to his own tutoring group and tell his tutors to wait.
After coming back from school and eating dinner, we had a seminar and activity to get us ready for tomorrow, which is themed around living like a local. We were informed that after I pass the torch to the next LDD, we would have no electricity and no running water. This means that if we want to take a shower, we will have to use a cup and a bucket of water to pour the water on to ourselves, and if we want to flush the toilet, we will have to use that bucket to quickly pour water in the toilet so it can flush by itself. It sounds a little rough, but this is the reality that so many people are facing on a daily basis, and if we are truly going to live like a local, we will have to commit to these things.
The question of the day was “What are the things about this trip and about Dominican culture that I have appreciated the most so far?” Personally, I have really enjoyed pretty much everything we have done. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that there is so much love and respect for each other and we have become like family. I especially love the activities we do as an entire group, from the Community Action Project (CAP) discovery yesterday to the dance class we had with Paul on Culture Day. I have even enjoyed the little things like sharing stories with each other during meals or playing games with each other at nighttime before we go to sleep. As for Dominican culture, I loved learning the most about some of the traditions they have. For example, it was interesting to learn that in February, there is a carnival in which people make and wear complex and extravagant masks. Even in Colonia Kennedy, the community where we are doing our CAP project, one of the reasons why they wanted us to renovate their basketball court is because they have festivals sometimes and they want to make the space look nicer.
Today was an amazing day. We bonded with each other during free time, had a better time during our tutoring classes, and learned and began to live like a local. Tomorrow is going to be a packed day, but I am fully confident that our next leader of the day can manage it well