What up friends and familia! This is Alicia Vazquez and Felipe Orejel.

Today was about committing to our Community Action Project (CAP) and setting up the layout and waking up super early to be as efficient as possible. We ended up structuring the place where our vegetable garden will be and then picked up the shovels and pickaxes to start turning over the dirt and grass. One of the best parts was the collaboration with some of the community locals here (Plan Yaque, the school, and neighbors) in Jarabacoa.  We then ended up having a delicious lunch with our whole group and some of the workers who helped out as well. The sun was REAL. We took mandatory breaks and drank lots of water to have a productive and healthy workplace. Then, we got to stations that rotated onto breaks and barreled dirt from one place to another, etc. After a long day of labor, we got home here at the hostel and were rewarded with the opportunity to, responsibly, buy some snacks and souvenirs as well as jewelry.

Every local student’s story is different, and we got to know the diversity of the workers who were attending this school. It felt like we were back at home kicking it with a peer, and it really reminded us about how open-minded you have to be to learn and have more experiences in life. While working today with the community, we learned that every country and community has their own ways of doing things as a whole. They are so welcoming with everyone, and they’re up for all the challenges (which take courage, compassion, and commitment).

The most surprising thing about today was learning about a student who ended up talking about being half Irish and half Dominican. Our proudest part of the job was that we ended up having no trouble being committed, courageous, and compassionate as we took on our own learning risks and as we took in the humanity of the country. While working today, we were surprised at how the community works together as a whole, and how their community proves their commitment through their service and effort. We are personally very proud of both our JA1C and ourselves because we worked so hard in the hot sun, and we got so much done in just one day.

The most inspiring part about being a leader is realizing that your group decisions and actions reflect your leadership skills, which resonates with having compassion as your secondary tool. Knowing how and when to connect one-on-one with your students makes it all easier. Knowing that we did our best really inspires us to carry this courage and put it onto something amazing outside of school. Being a leader today showed us that commitment is key, and that we all have our different styles. Embracing camaraderie has been a huge part in sharing a space with people you’ve only met recently. It teaches us about the diversity and importance of any home. Camaraderie means mutual trust and friendship which is something we will carry for the rest of our lives and even though we think of this experience as a “global glimpse”, it will definitely set a foundation for our individual futures. Part of that foundation includes understanding that it takes a lot of passion to be a part of the team and a lot of responsibility to be a leader.

And on that note, I would love to give big love to all the group for being patient with us and for respecting our leadership skills. For tomorrow’s Leder del Dia, we have passed the torch to Rodney.

P.S. Big love to Alicia being da best leader eva!!!!! We all really enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell and open up so much more to the group when prepping and being Leder Del Dia. – Felipe

Signing off, Felipe and Alicia