Wow, today was really an eye-opening day! The struggles of having to stumble around our rooms by using flashlights and relying on bucket water carried from the bottom of the hill was not as bad as any of us expected. It was humbling for sure, but not only was it what a typical Dominican had to face every day, but it was also what many of the rest of the world experiences. Furthermore, once we got to the village of El Cacique (The Chieftain) and saw the smiles and waves of the welcoming locals, we instantly saw that they were not wanting for much, because what they lacked for in materialistic items, they made for up in unity and community. As the leaders of FEMUCAMO, the organization we are partnering with to plan our Community Action Project (CAP), greeted us, the elderly sat in the shade of the tree, talking and laughing, while the children ran around, weaving through their parents’ legs. The sense of community and hospitality was clearly evident.
Upon arriving, we were divided up into groups of 3-4 people, each with a Spanish speaker, to meet our host families. All of the families were really polite and demonstrated extreme hospitality. Some of them even fed our Glimpsers a full meal of rice, coconut, and coconut water! We were supposed to be given chores to be done, but since Dominican culture prevents families from being anything but polite to guests, they gave us light chores if even at all.
After we said goodbye to our host families, we proceeded to enjoy lunch and then speak about our CAP project with the members of FEMUCAMO. Through this, we discovered many different ways we could make our contribution to improving Moca, such as helping them replace the roof of their community center or aiding them in painting a building in a neighboring community.
Afterwards, we played a fun game of either Dominos or volleyball with the locals and had a lot of fun with that. We then rode the bus to see two neighboring baseball teams face off in an exciting game! We then came back where we had some time for self reflection in our individual reflections groups. We discussed our experiences with our host families and thought about how their life compared to ours, and even though they have less materially , we agreed that they had something special in their unity. They were more than a community, they were a family. Instead of having the distractions of the internet take up all their attention, they communicated with each other, enjoying each other’s company. I don’t ever remember seeing so much laughter and movement in the United States. Finally, we ended the day with our nightly keeping, where we communicated our thoughts and reflections of the day.