Shalom chaverim y familia,
Today we started off the day as usual at 7:45 breakfast and woke up with the news that we were not going to be teaching in the schools due to post-earthquake worries of the families. Instead we decided to, for the first time, explore the town of Monte Cristi. When we first left the compound the road conditions were terrible because the dirt roads were flooded due to the ongoing rain. On our walk, we stopped by a family outside their home and took pictures of them for the non-profit organization Dog Meets World. Despite the obvious language barrier, the family was very gracious and we were able to connect with them on a different level. As we continued our walk, we were struck by the vast poverty. However, it was interesting to see that dispersed amongst the extreme poor, were wealthier families, living in beautiful homes with nice cars. We then walked to the Boys and Girls English Institute, run by Orphanage Outreach. There we met the few students who showed up to school and took pictures of them for Dog Meets World. It was heartwarming to have given these children something that they could have for the rest of their lives. After that we went to a park designed by Eiffel (does the name ring a bell??). In the center of the park was a clock tower that we climbed the spiral staircase to the lookout platform.
We moved on and proceeded to the local supermarket where we were on the lookout for native Dominican products. It was getting near lunchtime so we hopped on a bus and went back for lunch.
During the siesta, we all played with the kids. Many played baseball, basketball, soccer and a variety of games invented on the spot. It was not raining during siesta so it ended up being quality time with the kids. Since we were not given the opportunity yet to teach the kids our lessons, we practiced our lesson plans with the kids at the orphanage. At times we would say that it was a tiny bit overwhelming but we made it through.
Afterwards we had dinner and accompanied the kids in a small prayer service led by the head of the orphanage in the kids’ quarters. The experience was interesting because we got to see how religion played a role in balancing their lives.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a sunny day so we can go to the schools! We cannot believe that our trip is half way over and look forward to another awesome day in Dominican Republic!