Today was the first day of working on our community action project! A few days ago, we visited the town of Suarez to experience living like a local and got to know the community and its members. Today, we went back to Suarez and began the renovation of their playground.
The goal of the playground renovation is to clean up and beautify a safe space for the children of Suarez and nearby communities to play. At the same time, the adult community members want the playground to be a responsibility of the children, and teach them about caring for the things they value.
This is why my favorite part of the day was watching all the children of Suarez participate in the project! As we cleared gravel from the playground, little kids ran around with buckets and shovels and wheelbarrows, excited to get started on the project. It was actually difficult for us Glimpsers to get our hands on some tools because all the kids were that excited to fix their playground! Soon, we got some more tools and had just enough for all the Glimpsers to be working on something and the kids to be excitedly following our lead (or sometimes even showing us what to do instead).
I also really enjoyed seeing everyone in our group be so invested in a project we have only just planned. Everyone was always working on something or interacting with community members, and no one cared about the dirt or sweat or occasional blood that came with the experience. It was actually difficult to get people to take water breaks because we were all so focused on getting as much done as we could today.
After working on our project all day, we came home and prepared for one of my favorite activities: English teaching! It started pouring rain just as we were getting ready to leave for teaching. Jelly and Melina have told us the whole trip that people in the Dominican Republic shut down when it rains and don’t leave their houses. I didn’t realize how accurate that actually was until we left for teaching and no one was on the streets and only three of almost 20 students showed up for my class today.
However, it made my day to see the smiles of the children’s faces who showed up to class. Danil and I played cards and Hangman with our three students for an hour and a half and had so much fun despite the rain and thunder going on outside. Seeing such dedication to learning English made me smile after such a hard working day.
Overall, today was special because of the little things I noticed. Every day on this trip is meaningful and impactful, but every day also has little details that make each day unique and something to remember.