Hello fans,

Today was a busy but gratifying day! After the 6:30am wake up call, we had a little fiasco with the water system. Luckily we had Carolyn, who saved the day by communicating with the hotel staff and getting the showers up and running in 20 minutes. Next we headed to Sheila’s for a nutritious breakfast and then back to the hostel for an academic seminar on the educational system in the DR. This interactive discussion ended up going overtime, so we had to rush (read: run) to the local university, UASD, to be on time for our guest speaker, Cristino Comas. Cristino, the District Superintendent of Education for Maguana, spoke passionately about the history and current affairs of Dominican education and shared his personal opinions and experiences with us. Then we split up into 3 groups with one GG Ambassador for each and toured the university while they recounted their daily lives as students. We even got the chance to speak briefly with students who were enrolled in an English Immersion Program at the university. After that, we had lunch at the usual spot and walked to the nearby liceo to start our tutoring program.

At the liceo, we first learned how to begin teaching and cooperating with the students in an overview of the program. We were split into different groups to teach different level classes (basic, intermediate, and advanced) that ranged in age (8-12, 13-19, 20+) and sent to create a lesson plan and wait for our new students to arrive. Emotions ranged from nervous to excited, but at the end of the 1 hour and 45 minute class, everyone was enthusiastic and content with their groups. No one could stop talking about their students on the way to dinner and everyone was looking forward to the next session, which will be on Wednesday.

We ended the day with our nightly meeting, going over our individual and group triumphs and failures from today. It has amazed us all how quickly we’ve gotten to know and be comfortable around one another, and how much of a cohesive and unified group we’ve transformed into in just 5 days. One student today talked about how he’d come out of his shell around everyone, while another student who had slightly hurt her knee shared how supported she felt today around such compassionate peers despite her injury. Overall, today was just another example of how much this trip has helped us all grow and gain confidence.

Thank you to everyone reading this and following our journey. We are safe and sound with Jeff, Courtenay, Nicaury, and Jackie, and can’t wait to see you all soon.