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Today was the second and final free day of our trip. We had to wake up at seven, and then we had breakfast at eight. After eating a ham, tomato and lettuce sandwich and drinking orange juice we were ready for a seminar that enabled us to write an appreciation letter. After an hour we had all finished our first draft and were ready to roam around the surrounding areas of our hostel.

Although we were finished with our seminar, we were still able to learn something. My peers and I had learned that an unplanned adventure without set ambition might not be the best idea. Prior to leaving the hostel my group had decided that we were going to buy some souvenirs and something from the bakery, but we didn’t have a particular shop or bakery in mind. We walked up and down the same street several times. At one point we went into a convenience store that sold ordinary items like school supplies, hair products and more. After a walk around the store we decided to clarify to our ambassadors that we specifically wanted to go to a souvenir shop that sold products that we were able to give as special gifts. Therefore, after a few words were exchanged we arrived a souvenir shop and were able to achieve our desires.

As we were walking around the neighborhood, I was surprised. I was not surprised by the four-to-a-motorcycle trend or the speed and way of driving in the DR, but I was surprised that a driver actually stopped to let us cross today. This driver was on his blue motorcycle when he spotted us on the brink of the sidewalk waiting anxiously to cross. He stopped his motorcycle and signaled us to cross so we briskly crossed the street as he waited patiently. This was very different from what our program coordinators had told us and what I had previously seen on the streets so it surprised me that he stopped. I was also very glad that he stopped because every time we step onto the road there’s a  chance that we might be hit by a speeding motorcycle or truck. Gladly, our ambassadors are here to help us cross these dangerous streets by stopping the vehicles.

However, today I was proud that we were able to get to the hostel safely and on time with a few minutes to spare. Another thing I was proud of was our ability to be civilized about using the phone. On the first free day we were very anxious to talk to our family and friends but today everyone picked a time slot and stuck to it. We were able to get in all the phone calls we wanted to.

Being El Lider Del Dia is not easy; it actually quite challenging. I was very nervous about being the leader of the day. When I fell asleep the night before I had told myself that in the morning I was going to plan out the calling schedule. However after creating a schedule and sharing it with a peer, my idea was shot down.  I thought okay, that’s fine because I can just make another one based on everyone else’s preferences in times. So I was on my way to breakfast.  I struggled to get everyone’s attention; I was hesitant in whether my second plan would work. After breakfast I got the sheet back with almost everyone’s names but only with a couple of time slots that they preferred. So during free time I went to each of my peers to confirm a time period that they would work for them. As the day progressed and more and more phone calls were made, I felt proud that this plan was successful in the end.

By being the leader of the day today, I have learn that I need to ask for help when I need it. I personally do not like to ask others for help but through this experience I learned that sometimes I do need someone to help me get everyone’s attention or to help me tape a piece of chart paper to the wall. Height might be a weakness of mine a majority of the time but having my peers, instructors and the ambassadors here to help me get through the days is a great strength that I have.