Today was immigration day! We were all excited for this day because of the current border issue the Dominican Republic is experiencing with Haiti. We started the day off with delicious sandwiches and strawberry juice for breakfast. Then we moved on to an academic seminar where we were all assigned a character role of either an immigrant from Haiti living in the Dominican Republic, a Haitian politician, an American citizen living in California, a U.S. politician, an undocumented immigrant living in California, etc. We were not allowed to tell each other who we were and we had to give each other hints about characteristics to figure out who we were representing to better understand the complexity of immigration in the Dominican Republic. After the academic seminar we moved on to an immigration simulation where we got to experience the long and unfair process of obtaining citizenship in the Dominican Republic. We were broken up into groups and assigned different characters in very distinct positions; some were born in the Dominican Republic with Haitian parents and others were born in Haiti, but living in the Dominican Republic. Regardless of the character we received we all experienced the citizenship process, which we all described as “irritating” and “extremely complicated.”
From the immigration simulation we moved on to our first CAP (community action project) project planning; our project is focused on renovating a basketball court where the community gathers regularly. This court is in very bad conditions and by renovating it we are providing a place for them to be active and interact with one another. For this project, we created five different committees: Art and design, Construction and Reparation, Event Planning, Budget, and Organization and Creation. In our committees we discussed specific tasks we were going to complete and the materials needed for this.
Following this, we had a delicious almuerzo (lunch) of salad, meat balls, and rice and beans. After almuerzo we took the gua gua (bus) to the community to present our plans and the materials we would use. I was extremely proud to see everyone so engaged in the creation of the CAP. Seeing everyone bringing so many great ideas to the table and putting in so much effort made me realize that no matter how young we may be, we can truly make a big difference in any community that may need a helping hand. After getting answers to our questions and leaving the community with a clearer idea of our project we headed back to the hotel.
At the hotel we prepared for English class. When the English class preparation was complete, we headed to Padre Fantino elementary school to begin our English classes. Halfway into class I was called out of my class to “help another uncontrollable class.” But in reality, they had planned a surprise birthday party for me because it was my 17th birthday! I came back into my classroom to find everyone singing happy birthday and holding three cakes! It was an amazing surprise to see everyone singing to me. Instead of actually eating the cake we all threw it at each other, and ended up with frosting all over our clothes, faces and hair. Since it’s a tradition to throw a bucket of water at the birthday girl , I also had three buckets of water thrown at me! By the end of the English class period I was a complete mess. The surprise they gave me truly made my birthday a great one since I wasn’t having the best birthday because I was away from home. The surprise made me realize that I had been with family all along, my Global Glimpse family.
Being the Leader Del Dia was not an easy task, it’s like being a mother to 18 young adults, making sure they are all eating well, feeling healthy, applying sunscreen and bug spray, etc. Through the day I made sure to checkup on everyone that wasn’t feeling well to make sure they had their needs met. At the end of the day, I felt accomplished for leading a successful day, and I realized that even if I am not the most responsible, or the most organized person my level of compassion and care for others is so big that I can lead a group of young adults to make a big impact in a community.