Hello Families and loved ones! My name is Osbaldo Longoria Nava and I was one of your Lideres del Dia (Leaders of the Day). Being able to have the opportunity to guide our group throughout the day was an experience unlike any other, I was able to see how so many aspects play a part into everything coming together and how much work our PCs and GGLs actually put in each day. I was also able to lead the group throughout the whole day and making sure we were always on time and where we were supposed to be.
We started off the day at 7 am with delicious breakfast that was brought to us by Miguelito and Franklin. We enjoyed cheesy mashed potatoes, fresh pineapple and cantaloupe, some juicy sausage along with freshly prepared natural passionfruit juice. After breakfast we headed out to Los Paleros in Constanza where we were able to meet Alberto Quezada the owner of multiple greenhouses in the area for our Working Like a Local Day. Alberto and his family have been in the agriculture market for multiple generations and many would consider them experts at their craft. Along with agricultural knowledge he also provided us with important lessons that we can apply to our everyday life back in the states. We were also able to get our hands dirty for a few hours to learn what it’s like to earn a living working in a greenhouse. We prepared for the next harvest by setting up the support system for the cucumbers along with making sure all the dead leaves along aisles and aisles of growing cucumbers were properly taken care of to allow for the best growth. We all got really sweaty and dirty because it was very intense manual labor but through it all, we had a great time by singing songs and sharing stories with the rest of our group. We also met Haitian workers at the greenhouse who went by the names Bob Marley, RomeoSantos, Jimmy and Michael. Bob shared his experience, joked around and helped us at being successful in our work together. After this very exciting and tiring experience we headed back to the hotel for some well deserved lunch!
Today was also our first day of English tutoring and we all put into practice the lessons we had created with our groups the evening before. We had some rain which caused a few of our attendance numbers to be a little low but we made sure that the students we did have present were learning and practicing English as much as possible. Personally, in my group we were tutoring the Beginning Teens ages 15-18 and we saw how dedicated some of these students were. We also managed to make some connections between the tutors and students through laughter.
We finished off the day with our nightly meeting after dinner where we got to share some pluses and wishes about our Lideres del Dia (us) from our peers and our mentors. We discussed the question of the day which was ‘How can we practically and economically balance the environment and human rights. We talked about the parallels of agricultural work like farming in the U.S. and here in the D.R. and we talked about how hard the work is and for such low and unlivable wages. We all talked about how much we respect we have for farm workers, especially because we only experienced a few hours of their hard labor. We then handed off the torch to our next Lider del Dia who is JENNA! We enjoyed her freestyle singing through the combination of the words that the audience gave her to be able to sing. Towards the end of the meeting, Farima shared with us the comments and messages you all had left for us and we all got really happy to hear from our loved ones back home! We hella miss y’all but we are also happy to be experiencing so many beautiful things here 🙂
Hello, my name is Dora Granera and today I was leader of the day, along with my partner Osbaldo. Being leader of the day today was really significant for me as this was a role that consisted of several responsibilities that would enhance my ability as a leader and an individual. I was super excited to be able to have this role because I truly saw an opportunity for growth that I felt would be beneficial for myself and others. The idea of taking a position of a role that symbolized leadership was something I took very seriously because it’s crucial to recognize that leadership is more than it’s implied message, such as leading. I think leadership is about taking a stance to be a role model and in this context, sometimes being that strong and assertive figure for others. This can be seen as checking in with everyone, making sure they are all drinking their water, or consistently doing count offs to make sure everyone is present. Practices like these can effect one’s view on leadership roles, yet at the same time, enhance it. That itself is what made my experience as a Leader of the day memorable.
In terms of what we did today, after our intensive work experience at the greenhouse, we transitioned to lunch. Once settled, our wonderful food providers, Miguelito and Franklin, provided us with a delicious meal that consisted of, shredded cabbage with carrots and a special dressing, white rice with lentils and gandules on top, and delicious grilled chicken. During this time, we ate and socialized with one another about the trip to Los Paleros Greenhouse and particularly about the things we appreciated while being there. As soon as we finished, we then transitioned to our rooms to shower and get nice and fresh for our English tutoring lessons after a pretty sweaty day. However, the water went out in town so we had to strategize on how we could conserve water to last us.
Right before heading to our English Tutoring Lessons, we watched a really informative documentary called “The Price of Sugar” which is based upon the history of the sugar cane industry within the Dominican Republic and between the U.S. Within this film, we were introduced to the reality of how Haitian people have had to live and be treated within the Dominican Republic due to the history and remnants of slavery in the Americas and the high demand of low priced sugar. In addition, we were able to receive a detailed glance of what both the Dominican and Haitian people think of each other because of the ways that colonization has pitted certain groups against others. This was truly impactful for us as we learned so much about the culture and history of both the Haitian and Dominican people. There was a lot that we learned about in their historical relationship and how throughout time it has shaped the relationships between each other.
After watching the documentary, we soon started making way to our English Tutoring Lessons which was an experience that really brought all of us out of our shells as individuals. In English tutoring, my team and I had a really good time interacting with our students as we integrated games in our lessons to teach English. My team was assigned students between the ages of 9 to 11 and being with them was really amazing because seeing them laugh and smile while playing charades really allowed us to realize that these kids are so dedicated and enjoy being exposed to knew things. This was an experience that really allowed us all to move out of our comfort zone and enjoy the interactions with the students. These moments were very beautiful and heartwarming.
Once English Tutoring was over, we then headed back to the hotel and transitioned into Dinner. In this meal, we ate green peppers, baked platanos with onions, and pork chops, which were all very delicious! We thanked our food providers and wished them goodnight. This soon led us to start getting ready for our nightly meeting which consisted of check-ins about how our day went and having a discussion about our question of the day. There were a lot of deep responses related to human rights, sustainability, and our individual responsibilities everyday when it comes to our environmental footprints and actions to protect human rights. We’ve really created an informative atmosphere. We then passed the Leader of the Day role to the next person and ended our beautiful night with the unity clap. Today, like all past days was a great experience.