Bienvenidos family and friends! It’s las lideras del dia, Jihan and Melika. Today is Day 11: Working Like A Local Day, and we began our day with a 6:00am wakeup call… how lovely! All jokes aside, we had an amazing day. We left our temporary home in San Cristobal at 7:00am sharp, courtesy of Giovanni, our amazing bus driver. Around 8:30am, we arrived at MANA, a rural community that is home to many farmers, who raise a variety of vegetables and fruits such as plantains, mangoes, and yucca. We interviewed a few of their workers to gain insight on a day in the life of an average conuco farmer. The men spend a majority of the day at the farm, working long hours while the women provide meals for them to look forward to. Once the food is harvested, they sell it at a market in order to make profit. Due to the community they live in, it is very hard to get transportation to where they need to be; this includes the markets as well as schools. It’s common that the children in MANA have an education that stops at the high school level, because universities are usually too far and expensive. It’s amazing how much pride they have in their work, despite the many challenges they face.

(Melika) After we got a chance to speak to the farmers, we split into two groups and took a very muddy trek (literally over a river and through some woods) to the lush, green area where MANA plants yucca. There, we worked like a local, and pulled the weeds that invade MANA’s harvest. Jatnna entertained her group by singing Rihanna’s hit “Work” to encourage us to work even harder than we already were, of course in her signature “British” accent. One thing we learned for sure: Cristian goes HARD for pulling weeds.

As for my group, (Jihan’s group), we enjoyed Anthony and Brianna’s beautiful Spanish singing as we pulled weeds. Ants ended up paying a visit to us, greeting us in painful bites. In the end we all had a great time; within our group, we split up and raced to see who could make the biggest pile of pulled weeds (and my side obviously won with our secret weapon: Anthony). We also had the chance to see some baby goats, which made everyone happy through a sweaty and tiring hour.

We left MANA at 12:00pm and arrived back home to CONAMUCA about an hour later, where, as always, we were greeted with a delicious lunch. White rice, chicken with cream sauce, sweet plantains, and a mixed salad. Delicious! Soon after, it was time for our three committees to present our ideas for our Community Action Project to Cuevas de Pomier, the organization we will be working with to improve the caves. All three committees successfully conveyed our ideas to them, and soon our ideas will become tangible improvements to the ancient taíno caves that are so important to Dominican culture and history. Great job to everyone, especially our Spanish speakers who did a great job translating for us.

At 4:00pm, we had free time for two hours. Personally, I (Jihan), and some of the other glimpsers took a nap while the rest of the group headed to the corner store. At 6:00pm we talked about our day with our summer reflection groups and an hour later we had a delicious dinner served by CONAMUCA. Our nightly meeting followed at 8:00pm, which leads us here, two girls writing the daily blog during our last hour of free time. We can’t wait to hear all of your comments; we do actually have them read to us which eases everyone with that little piece of home.

With that being said, Buenas Noches and muchos besos from your loved ones here at Global Glimpse.

(Jihan) P.S. Mom please make sure all of the Big Brother episodes I’ve missed are recorded please! #EightPack. I love you guys- even you Jeriah. Thomas, I can’t wait to see you soon. Diana and Clint, Isabella is doing fine and is providing us with great music.

(Melika) I hope you foolish people are doing okay out there in the States without me. Sam (and even you too Yacob), you too are ridiculous fools and I miss you. Remember to feed my beloved Gerald Mohammed. I love you Mom, I’ll see you guys soon. I’m having so much fun, I’ve made like 30 new friends, and I’ve gotten exactly zero mosquito bites