Today was Working Like A Local Day. After breakfast, we headed off to a tomato greenhouse farm called La Sabina. We met the person who managed the greenhouses and its jornaleros (workers). Everyone was partnered with one other student and then we went to work with one of the jornaleros. The job for today was pulling the tomato plants down and moving the tomatoes closer to the ground so they would be easier to harvest. We worked for three and a half hours, and it was very hot in there! Every time the tomato plants were moved, dozens of white flies would scatter and fly into my face.
After the three and a half hours of working, we had lunch together with the greenhouse manager and jornaleros. We even introduced them to a brain teaser and they seemed to enjoy it very much. After lunch, we went back to work for two more hours and we were able to get through all the tomato plants in the greenhouse right on time. Once we were finished with the greenhouse, we thanked everyone for allowing us to work with them and being able to experience a part of their daily life.
We went back to our hotel after working like a local, and we were given free time to freshen up and relax. After free time, we had a second program seminar on CAP, our Community Action Project. This was an integral part of the day because we discussed and planned what we were going to do for our two CAP days. Camilo put things into perspective for us when he began to talk about the needs of the community and whether or not they would engage in what we decided to do. Although it was frustrating at first, we were able to come to a final plan for CAP and we were very proud of ourselves.
This day definitely challenged us physically and also mentally. Aside from the CAP seminar, we also learned a lot at the greenhouse. We asked the workers many questions. We learned that they work about 8 hours everyday for little to nothing if it were in US dollars. We also learned that on some days, they might not get through all the plants and by going out there and by helping them, we made a real difference. Not only were we able to finish the job, we were also able to put smiles on their faces and they were more energetic and happy.
As El Lider Del Dia, my main goal was to put out a lot of energy and make sure that my peers were just as energetic as I was. Whenever it seemed like the energy level was going down, I would make sure to get their attention and rile them up. I was very proud of all my peers for finding meaning in the work they did today. Everyone seemed to enjoy the work even though it was hard and tiring, However, we were all able to push through with smiles and laughter.
Overall, today was a very accomplished day. We got to experience how locals work in the DR and also how hard they work. We discovered that they put in a lot of effort in their job so that they can make a living. We were also able to figure out a game plan for the CAP and everyone seemed proud of the final idea. Finally, as El Lider Del Dia, I am proud of myself for being more outgoing and bringing the energy to my peers, making sure that we were all on top of the schedule and that we brought a positive vibe to everyone we met today.