5 a.m. marked our first wake up call for the day. With 15 minutes to get ready for a long morning, we made sure that everyone came to the door on the first round. Our morning consisted of dividing into two groups and going to work in the local markets. After breakfast, both groups set off on their way to the markets where we would be working.
Mercalo Nuevo was only a 15 minute walk away from Hotel D’Angel. Once there, we saw rows of tarp covered tables hiding produce and could smell all the different fruits and meats. Sophia and I (Lauren) were the first to find our stand. Lucia, the owner of our stand, was very friendly and open to our help. She introduced us to her daughter, Luciana, who showed us how to stack various vegetables and shred cabbage with a large steak knife. Luciana took me and Sophia with her to purchase fresh eggplant from a farmer, who then brought it to our stand via motorcycle. Lucia and I hung up an overhang for shade while Sophia swept up around the stand. As time went on the market came to life as the other stands uncovered their fruits and veggies. Motorcycles and pedestrians made it hard to maneuver through the street but added to the chaotic energy of the market. Overall, our experience at the market was the perfect way to see hands on the daily life of a local.
After Lucia’s group arrived at our market, Eric, Stephanie, and Anjie were put right to work. Their jobs consisted of plucking, cleaning, and cutting the chickens, Even though it was definitely not the first scene they wanted to see bright early in the morning, they dealt with their jobs with determination and open minds. Finally, we were all split into our groups to go work with the different stands. Angela, Alyssa, and Joseph were put to one chicken stand in the back; Irene, Arianna, and I (Jiaqi) with another. Mariah and Netsay’s jobs dealt with the cooking stand while Ashlee and Justin was selling vegetables. The chicken stands all had similar jobs: plucking and cleaning out the chicken. My group had the chance to cook, pluck, clean, and sell the chickens. The locals that we were working for were all super friendly and patient with us. Step by step, they taught us how to deal with their foods. As the time pass, we became accustomed to our job. Our four hours of working gave all of us one on one experiences of being Dominican locals. Overall, it was an unforgettable and successful experience. No one was reluctant with their job; everyone was open-minded and embraced this once in a lifetime experience.
Out of the 13 days that we have been in the DR, today has provided the best insight for us to experience the lifestyle of the local Dominicans. Ending today, we will have a better understanding for the values and the importance of hard work.