Hey Everyone! My name is Andrea Marquez, and I got the opportunity to be La Lider Del Dia on Politics and Education Day! I am quite happy that I got to lead this day because both politics and education are two topics that I am very passionate about. I believe that today was a day in which everyone was given the opportunity to not only learn about the government and educational system in the Dominican Republic but also compare them to the United States. We were able to do so by participating the Binational Youth Forum in which Ambassadors and Glimpsers split up into groups to discuss issues relating to health, education, security, and the environment, the conclusions we came up with will later be presented to the City Council and Mayor so that they hopefully gain some insight on things that the youth believe to be issues in the community. Speaking of the Mayor! He stopped by the multiuso cultural to talk to us about himself and his party, this later led to a series of questions and answers between him and our delegation, I got the awesome opportunity of being the interpreter! Following this, we began to focus more on education by listening to a presentation led by Arelis Rosario whom is a literacy teacher in a nationwide program called Quisqueya Aprende Conmigo. Many of us were inspired by the amount of love and care that she has not only for her job but for her students because she knows that she is helping them achieve success on many aspects of their lives by teaching adults who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school as children, how to read and write.

Before meeting the Mayor, the majority of us were expecting to meet a man with a vision to help others and solve issues in his community. The reason we believed this was because the families that we met on Living like a Local day all spoke very highly of him and they repeatedly stated that he was one of the few politicians with a good heart who wanted to help improve the lives of families in low socioeconomic classes. Yet, when we were asking questions, we found that he spoke in such a way that it lacked emotion and that he has a much higher focus on increasing the tourist industry in Constanza and refurbishing public spaces in the city such as, the main entrance. This was not only surprising to the majority of us, however, we were also very disappointed by that fact that the locals we have created such strong connections with had voted for a man who did not necessarily represent them or their ideals. On a similar subject, it was very interesting to find out about that vast amounts of corruption within the government as well as people’s reactions to the knowledge of such corruption. We were able to find that the Dominican government is driven by money and power, and although many may argue that most governments are, it was interesting to compare it to that of the United States because we are not aware of nearly as much corruption back home. In continuance, when locals were asked about the corruption, many accept it and do not make an attempt to change things.

On a different note, today was also a day focused on Education in Constanza and in the Dominican Republic. We got the opportunity to learn about issues in schools by asking Constanza’s local youth about their experiences with education. They told us about the lack of elective courses available to them, as well as a lack of health related courses, and the fact that the Dominican Republic is ranked one of the lowest academically achieving Latin American countries. In addition, Ms. Rosario spoke to us about reasons that many adults and children in the Dominican Republic are illiterate and ways that she and Quisqueya Aprende Conmigo are helping people across the nation. Ms. Rosario is someone that inspired us by demonstrating a great level of perseverance through hard times, as well as speaking to us with an overwhelmingly positive and caring attitude.

Today taught all of us to not only be more appreciative of the opportunities that we are given, but to be more appreciative of the fact that we have access to an education that many are neglected. We also learned to question people and their actions, more specifically question the actions and intentions of politicians and the government. Overall it was a great day full of learning, discussion, and action that each of us will carry with us into our everyday lives.