Hi, we are Jiya and Ruby and we were the leaders of today, the 11th of June. Today started around 8:30a for most of us! Breakfast started at 9:00, which is three hours later than breakfast usually starts. We had eggs and pancakes and we were able to use the extra time to sleep in and relax. Around 10:00, we had a seminar about the Community Action Project (CAP), and began working on our posters that we will present to the CAP panel in the following week. At the same time, some of the girls got money together to pay for ten people to get their hair braided professionally! As this happened, glimpsers were able to place calls home.
After eating lunch, we ventured out into the streets of Bonao with the ambassadors for two hours of exploration time! Some of us visited a souvenir store, an ice cream shop, a super market and a clothing store. Due to the fact that today was a free day and we had time to relax and reflect, we were able to truly gage our appreciation for Dominican culture and this trip. For example, throughout the day we noticed that Dominican people are more aware of their surroundings and not connected to technological devices like we are, specifically the children from the orphanage who are always engaged and always want to play with us. In addition, we noticed that Dominican people always greet you with a smile, whether you know them or not.
By 3:45, everyone was rushing back to the accommodations to prepare for English tutoring later that night. After an hour of preparing, we taught our second English class. For most groups the tutoring ran smoother than the first class did. For dinner we enjoyed arroz con leche from the lovely Licelot, and finished the day off with a nightly meeting where we passed the torch to the next day leaders. Overall, the best part of the day for us was being able to interact with the ambassadors and have them show us the city through their eyes. What surprised us most was our own familiarity of the city, with some of us already knowing our way around.
One thing we are very proud of our peers for is knowing their way around Bonao and working through the language barrier. Being leaders of the day was definitely a big honor for both of us and we learned a lot of leadership skills that we were able to easily apply to such a loving group. Last of all, one thing that we both learned about ourselves today is that it is okay for things to deviate from the plan because sometimes things turn out better than expected! While we are having so much fun, we do miss our families back home and send our love.