Hello friends and family, this is Serena and Holly! Today we were assigned to be leaders on Immigration Day. Unfortunately, we did not do a lot of what was initially planned due to weather complications. Our day started off with a wakeup call at 7 AM. For breakfast, we had pancakes, eggs, fruits, muffins accompanied by juice. It was one of the first TRULY American breakfast we have had during this whole trip; we could almost hear the eagles soaring across the sky, holding an American flag in between the opening of their beaks. After our quick mental warmup and energizer, we had a seminar on writing an appreciation letter for our donors and sponsors that made this trip possible. It was a time for self-reflection where we got to think about the activities we have done and the ways they have impacted us. Afterwards, we all got dressed to look professional for our CAP panel. There, we had to present to the community members about the project that was planned to make the community a better place. When we had visited Barrio del las Flores we were presented with a couple of ideas on how we could better their community. One of the ideas that was presented to us that resonated with the group was the remaking of the pathways in the town. There we would be breaking apart the cement and laying out new cement as well as making canals to decrease the chance of mosquito based diseases.

When the CAP panel arrived, we had greeted them and showed them to our common eating and presenting area on the third floor. We went up in groups and presented the plan of how we would redo the sidewalks. Many people had to step out of their comfort zones and speak Spanish while doing the presentation. It was a liberating and highly beneficial experience which we will carry with us in our professional lives. All of us had to present the logistics and blueprints for the plan we had constructed. It was a very nerve-wrecking and educational moment for us all. We ended up getting our sidewalk plan approved, which is very exciting considering how much we had all put into creating the “perfect” plan. After, we asked the community members to join us for lunch. We ate chicken, rice, salad, pasta, and bread. After lunch, we got to do a little exploring with our friends. Holly and I went out and bought lots of snacks (probably way too many snacks) and a couple of souvenirs for our pals at home. On our walk back to the hostel, we realized that it was going to start raining soon, so we tried to hurry to get our laundry off of the third floor before the rain was going to ruin everything. Then, Serena realized that she left her groceries at the souvenir shop, so we had to sprint back in the rain. After getting the snacks back, on our walk to the hostel, we ran into two little boys from the neighborhood. Serena gave them both a bag of chips, and with that, we formed a new friendship.

We all got to sit on our beautiful common room balcony to watch the lightning and thunder. Before we knew it, the rain started to pour down heavily. We experienced every single type of weather known to man within a span of 15 minutes. It was all very enjoyable up until the rain started to flood our hostel. With this, we had to quickly gather our belongings and run around looking for mops and brooms. Once we found the supplies, which were located on the third floor, where there is no roof, we came downstairs to our very own water park! We lost our common room to Mother Nature, but gained a hallway to converse in. Originally, we had been located in a friend’s room but then we were reminded that we are not allowed in there due to GG rules so we lost our explore time and part of our free time.

At 4:00, we were supposed to meet our guest speaker at a small town called Colonia Kennedy, which is filled with many displaced Haitian immigrants, but Mother Nature had other plans. Due to this, we were unable to experience the truth of immigration in Constanza. Instead, we had a seminar on what immigration is like in Constanza followed by many deep, thoughtful conversations about the relation of immigration in the US compared to the rest of the world. There we were also reminded that we no longer had explore/free time, which brought frowns upon many faces. It was mine and Holly’s job to make sure that we kept everyone’s spirits up as Leaders of the Day (lol too bad we aren’t funny). After our seminar, we made posters to make up for the ones that been destroyed in the storm. To our surprise, it was a very fun and memorable bonding experience with the rest of our delegation. After that, we waited for dinner while joking around and being the dumb ol’ teenagers that we are. Then our amazing food team, Joan and Franklin, brought us yet another wholesome American meal of hot dogs and French fries. Once the meal had been devoured, we got ready for our nightly meeting. We went over the nightly meeting agenda and “passed the torch” to our good ol’ friends, Claire and Athithi. We also got to say goodbye to one of the many friends we have made in Constanza, Alex. It was a time of sadness and happiness. In the very end, we promised to see each other again. Now, we are writing our blog. It was not an event-packed day, but it was definitely a long, hard, and tiring day (that’s what she said). Alright, that is it from us. 5-4-3-2-1 BOOM! Serena and Holly signing off. See you in 3 days, Yay Area!

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