16 Marzo 2015

Today was our first day of teaching!

Sunrise from the hotel window! 6:45am

Sunrise from the hotel window! 6:45am

Everyone was very excited and nervous to start the morning. A few of us went to the bakery at 7:30am for breakfast and happened to run into a Deaf man named Brent who was from the U.S., but had been in the Dominican Republic for 7 months already. After a brief chat with him, we all piled into the van and went to pick up Hector, our honorary grandpa, and Juana, our interpreter for our working days, aka. honorary mama. To keep ourselves occupied, we played a highly competitive animal spotting game of our own invention where you get points for seeing dogs, goats, cows, ect… (Gara won). Just do not ask us about the fresh meat hanging from the road kiosks.
We connected with Hector and Juana and made our way to San Cristóbal, which is only about 20 minutes west, outside of Santo Domingo. We got to the city just fine, but once we were there, we couldn’t find the school, so Juana bravely hopped on the back of a “public transportation motorcycle” and had us follow the driver and her crazy self to the school.

Juana leading the way!

Juana leading the way!

The school was very small. It was inside a house and consisted of two classrooms; one for younger kids and one for older kids, with about 15 kids in each room.

Rachel and Gara beginning their lesson on static electricity.

Rachel and Gara beginning their lesson on static electricity.


We decided to split ourselves up instead of splitting up the kids, so we had one group teaching in each classroom and the other group observing/taking pictures for those approximately 30 minutes.
A student testing Melissa's hair for static electricity.

A student testing Melissa’s hair for static electricity.


We stayed there from 9:00am-12:00pm with, of course, some play time in between lessons. At noon, we regretfully said goodbye to the energetic children and headed back into Santo Domingo.
Brittany sharing a teachable moment with students from San Cristobal.

Brittany sharing a teachable moment with students from San Cristobal.


We dropped Juana back off at the same place we met her and went to a restaurant near our hotel called the Garden Café. We ate on the patio dining area under a giant tree covered in vines and the like.
Brandi is excited to possess two shiny new coins in time for St. Patrick's Day!

Brandi is excited to possess two shiny new coins in time for St. Patrick’s Day!


The food portions were larger than normal so some of us had to bring leftovers back to the hotel and save them for later. We had previously planned on going on a tour of the Columbus Palace Museum (the 1500’s home of Christopher Columbus’ nephew, Diego) in Colonial City, Santo Domingo, and although we were all exhausted from teaching, we decided to tough it out. Unfortunately, we chose a bad day to go because the house is closed to tours on Mondays! We were disappointed, but enjoyed walking around the city some more (even though we had to pass through some sketchy construction zones).
Melissa and Gara posing in front of the Columbus home.

Melissa and Gara posing in front of the Columbus home.

The trip was worth it because we stopped at Bon, our favorite “yogurt früz” store, on the way back to the hotel. After some tight traffic situations anyone but our fearless leader would have shied away from, we had time to rest in our rooms or by the pool before dinner.
For dinner, we walked along the Malecon to a busy, seaside restaurant called Adrian Tropical. The service was slow, but we watched the waves roll in and the sky darken while we waited. During dinner, we talked about possible lesson improvements to provide clearer concepts for the days to come. The walk back to the hotel was breezy and cool, but still pleasant We returned around 9:15pm and settled ourselves for upcoming adventures.

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