Hello, and welcome to tonight’s blog post πŸ˜›

Wake-up call today was at 7:15 am, and breakfast was at 8: tomato and cheese sandwiches, apples, and passion fruit juice (Ellora’s favorite). We filled out mid-trip evaluation forms as we ate breakfast, and were on the bus to the Haitian-Dominican border at 8:30.

The first thing we did was walk down to “La Puerta”, escorted by a few Dominican soldiers, “La Puerta” being a symbolic section of the border where there’s an actual wall and gate to lead from one country to the next. Our three Taino Tours guides briefly went over interactions between the two nations, the protection afforded by the military, and the importance of the open border, but what stood out was the chaos, the number of people, and the tension between the two countries, which was accented by the heavy military presence. We also got one of our soldier escorts to take a picture of our group by the border gate πŸ™‚ cuz hey, what are soldiers for?

From there, we got back on the bus and went to a Haitian-Dominican culture museum that was constructed in an old hotel that belonged to Rafael Trujillo, a dictator who was in power in the Dominican Republic until the early 1960’s. In the mural of the binational market, paintings of religious figures, and artifacts from both sides of the border, one could clearly see the similarities between the cultures of the two countries, and within the similarities, the differences that separate them. It was especially interesting to see how these differences manifested themselves with regard to religion, as both Haitian and Dominican cultures and norms are heavily influenced by the Catholic church: the Dominican culture by a more traditional Catholicism, and the Haitians by a Voodoo that leans towards the mystical and magical.

Then it was off to the binational market: mostly Haitian vendors, not many buyers, and pots, pans, jeans, blouses, shoes, fruit, and vegetables for sale; women balancing loads on their heads and children selling things from small baskets or shining shoes. We went through the market quickly, probably not spending more than 10 minutes there, but from the small glimpse that we got, we could feel the unique culture of the border in the fast-paced, ambivalent city atmosphere.

We then went to a gazebo to debrief, and found out that vendors got their goods imported from other nearby countries or from donations and resold them at the market. Afterwards, to round out our experience at the border, we went to a colorful, well-stocked library that had been built a few years ago, and listened to a short presentation on its purpose.

From there we headed to lunch at a Haitian restaurant across the street, and Cynthia and I helped to set the tables for the 70 or so people that were there because we met up with another Global Glimpse delegation for lunch. The food was SO GOOD: rice, pork, vegetables, and chicken (which sounds like a normal-ish meal, but we promise it was literally the best thing ever). Also, they gave us these chocolate truffles at the end of our meal, which were divine.

Then it was back on the bus to Oneney, 45 minutes to freshen up, a 13-minute walk to the school, 1 hour of prep, and our 2 hour class. Cynthia went over adjectives and comparatives of equality, inferiority, and superiority (she learned what those were first), and Ellora taught vowels, “a” and “an”, “this” and “that”, classroom words, and word order for adjectives and nouns. Our compassion for our teachers at school grows with every class we teach (though Cynthia still thinks she could do better).

After classes, we walked back to Oneney and had dinner: pasta and bread (because you can never have too many carbs), and then our Nightly Meeting. Lights out was supposed to be at 10:30 pm, but because our free day is tomorrow, no one really went to bed before midnight πŸ™‚

See you soon!! Our group sends lots of love <3

HELLO madre and father! Besitos!! -your favorite child (Cynthia)

HELLO mommy and baba! Love you!! -your favorite child (Ellora)