¿Qué lo qué?

Today we went to Elias Piñas near the Dominican-Haitian border, where we visited the Museo Bicultural de la Frontera. There, we learned about the different traditions from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and we also learned the similarities and unique qualities of each. After the Museum, we went to the Market which occurs on Mondays and Fridays, and people from Haiti cross the border freely from 8am to 6pm to come sell their goods here. It was a wild experience; there were different smells, noises, and sights. There were many varieties of products ranging from food to clothes. Then, we had Haitian guest speakers who told us their stories and also taught us a few French phrases, as well as Haitian Creole phrases. We had a wonderful lunch at La Fuente, where we ate with the Haitian immigrants and some students practiced their French. After eating, we took a group picture with the Taino Tour guides and speakers in front of a military base. We then got on the bus to head back to San Juan and had to go through 7 military checkpoints. When the military agents/officers came into the bus, they looked around and asked questions about the group, but wasn’t very strict because they could tell we were American tourists. After the 1.5 hrs drive, we arrived at Onaney and got ready for English Tutoring. We walked to Liceo, which is the school, and there was some confusion because the classrooms were locked and there was a summer camp going on. Eventually we got the rooms unlocked and we were able to get on with our lesson planning and classes. We walked back to Onaney and ate some Mangu for dinner. We had our Nightly Meeting and passed the sash to Neeti and Ishika.

What I (Isac) was the most surprised with was how similar the Dominican and Haitian cultures are, but to prevent any conflict they don’t mix their traditions . However, when it comes to trade, they are very open and business-oriented.

What we were proud of was how the group stayed together when going to the market because it was very crowded, and luckily no one got a Dominican tattoo (a burn by the muffler of a motorcycle 🙂 ). The most inspiring people we met today were two Haitian immigrants who came to the DR after the earthquake of 2010. It was really impressive how they spoke almost 4 different languages, and learning about their dreams for the future about pursuing a career in medicine.

Being Líder del Día was exciting because we were the leaders instead of the followers, but we were also nervous because we weren’t sure how the students would react to our commands/instructions. However, it was fun trying new things with the group and getting their feedback during the nightly meeting

Overall, we learned that everyone can be a leader, even if you doubt yourself because you are in a team.

To my (Alannah’s) family: All is good, tell abuelita that I am eating lots of yummy foods and having a lot of fun.