Today we started off a little slow, but breakfast (pancakes and eggs) got us all back on our feet. We began the day heading to Santo Domingo, a suburb of Las Tablas, to begin our journey living with a local. Everyone split up into four groups, each group having one Spanish speaker to translate. One group went to a field owned by Lucila, one group went and worked in a store with Maralina, and another group did house chores with Martha. The goal of the day was to see what an average Saturday was like in Santo Domingo.
My group went to “Negra’s” house. Negra is not her real name, but people in the town like to give people nicknames based off of physical character traits. No one in our group knows her real name. We began walking around the small town, and I immediately noticed how welcoming and sweet everyone was. We were greeted by lots of “Holas” y “Buenas.” That warmed my heart because you realize that it is not about how much money or stuff that you have, it is about how you appreciate the little things and embrace those around you that is important. You always have to make the most of what you have.
After greeting pretty much everyone in the town, my group took a long (hot) walk to “cerra la teta.” This is a landmark for Santo Domingo because that was the original name of the town. Next, we had sandwiches for lunch and mangos that my group picked from a tree. Then, we took a bus back to our hotel. We rested, had meetings, and of course, played Uno. Even though I got 16+ cards, it was still fun haha. Before dinner, we took a tour of our city, Las Tablas. At the end of the tour, we got Popsicles! What a pleasant surprise at the end of a hot day.
Dinner was chicken and chow mein with a fruit drink on the side. After dinner we had our nightly meeting and then it was bed time. We were all exhausted, and after a few more games of Uno,we were out.
Overall, it was such an amazing day and I loved learning about what it was like to be a local. What I will take from it, is that I will appreciate the little things I have and I will embrace my connections with those around me. Happiness does not come from your personal situation (whether you are rich or poor), it comes from what you make of it.