mmmmmtay, let’s start with the beginning. First, we had to wake up early, at 6:30. We had our breakfast at 7:30 in our fanciest of all fancies (well, fanciest of what we brought) but it only lasted 30 mins instead of an hour because we had a busy schedule for the day. We had our academic seminar about politics because it was politics day. yaaaaaaaaaaaaay for politics. During our seminar, which was held by Eli instead of J. Schep Schep and Seana, we read some facts about the Dominican Republic’s government as we applied all that we have seen and experienced as a group. And with that motivation, we came up with some hardcore gangsta thug thizzle solid sizzle questions to ask our tour guide for parliament.
Next, the bus came. well, it came a bit late which made me freak out just a little bit on the inside because I was trying to be the greatest lider del dia the world has ever seen in the entire history of ever, but that is irrelevant now. When we were on the bus to Santo Domingo, we got to finish our immigration histories from the day before. Sonya’s story was incredible*. no joke, bro. We were all on the bus, excited to be the first delegation to take a tour of parliament.
Honestly, I was freaking out hoping everything would run smoothly, and that I wouldn’t fall and break my face on a statue. It was really exciting to go to the capital city because we don’t get to go there often and the sites are far different from what we see in our neighboring communities. As we reached our destination, we noticed a large group of people chanting in unison in front of the building with a couple camera crews. It was a small protest!!!!! How cool is that?!?!?!? We met up with our in-country coordinator outside, then we got to go inside and our politician/tour guide gave us the brief history and meaning of the mural that was painted just for the parliament building. It was very unique and then, it happened. We walked the red carpet to visit the Senate chambers. Literally! The staircase we walked up had red carpet. I felt like a superstar. For both parts of the tour, we walked into rooms that had portraits covering the walls. One room had the portraits for the heads of the House of Representatives, the other had the heads of the Senate. Both rooms had air conditioning, a luxury that has not been common on this trip. We got to see the room where many important decisions by the House are made. Word on the street is that topics get pretty heated in there, just saying. After that we went into a large auditorium where two days prior the ambassador of Taiwan had been. Other students that had won competitions in academics and singing joined us also. A politician from one of the provinces spoke to us about the importance of the youth getting involved because we are the future! The students who earned the top 3 places in their singing competition sang for us, so we got our very own Vicky to sing for everyone and, let’s be real here, she totally smoked the others.
Afterwards, we got a bathroom break. All of us marveled at the strong constrast between the politican’s plush bathrooms to that of a typical DR bathroom. Made us think….. Anyways, after that we were escorted into the Senate room, and bombarded our politician with our questions. Our questions made him sweat in a 65 degree room! It was great. Once we left parliament, we hopped back onto our bus to eat some world class cheese sandwiches on our way to the colonial zone. The colonial zone is a main tourist attraction, and is loaded with history. Our scavenger hunt like tour was given to us by our in-country director. The different places we saw were incredible! At the end of our tour we got to do some shopping, and shopping is always fun! Shout out to Skylar, Van, Jenson, and Ramon for putting up with me when I was freaking out about being late to our meeting spot because I didn’t want our free day to be cancelled even though everyone else was late. When we got back to the Rancho, we got to work on our CAP presentations before an ammmmmaaaaaazzzzziiiiiinnnnnngggg dinner (shout out to Pablo for dinner), and then our nightly meeting. All in all, it was a successful day filled with sweat, sunshine, and ceramic shards.**
*Sonya is related to Nat Turner
** Jenson broke the turtle I got my mom