This trip was amazing and Gabe as a tour guide was the best part of the trip and Clemente was an awesome driver! - from Ray Malon
One word. Unforgettable.
Exciting. Amazing. Adventurous. These are just a few words that I can use to describe my experience. I lived every minute of it.
Landed in Seattle!
Thank you, Dominican Republic, for your hospitality, love, passion, and support as we learned about the culture and people. Until next time!
Today we begin our journey back to Washington state. We all go back with a little more appreciation for the land and the environment, the beautiful people we met, the country we visited, and the culture that makes them such a caring, giving, loving people.
Each of us has changed in some way from this experience. We have seen such positive growth from each student here, they recognize the value of what they have, they understand a little more the struggle of others, and have a new appreciation for the lives they have at home.
6 April 2017
Wow! Just wow! The water was incredible and the learning was fun! First we stopped at a coral bed on the way to a small island. While st the small island we snorkeled for a long time, saw fish, and lots of different shells, corals, and sea urchins. Then we visited a mangrove to learn about how mangroves are important to the ecosystem and help the fish population. Learning can be fun!
Made it to the beach! Going to be amazing!!
Good morning from Santiago! It's a little cooler here and a bit muggy, but all is good! Headed to the mangroves and Cayo arena
5 April 2017
Made it to Santiago! What a busy city! Checked into the hotel, the girls have decided to stay back and rest, the boys are all going swimming - the swimming pool is at the sister hotel so a group will be heading there for a bit - dinner tonight at 8:00
Today we planted trees. This simple task took on so much more importance for me. By doing so we help insure that those who follow us have life. Without trees we simply do not survive. I want my great great grandchildren to have a beautiful world to live in. Today a small step was taken toward that goal.
Today we shoveled some dirt in to a sifter and sifted the dirt into a wheeled barrow then moved it in a pile. Also we have planted some trees.
The plane trip to the DR was exemplary. The view out the windows were so far from normal that I have to say that I will not see such beauty anywhere else. Totally worth the money.
Being here in this country and doing the activities that we have done has taught me a lot of things, like patience, being more open to trying things even if you don't like them, I've also learned that you need to have balance in your life. I've really enjoyed being here and everyday I realize more and more things about myself that I need to work on. I realized that I need more balance in my life and that trying new things isn't always bad... not always good either but it can create an amazing memory in the end.
The students planted lemon and guava trees today. There is an old saying that a man should plant a tree, write a book, and have children. Today, the students planted their tree, next we look forward to their books.
I planted a guava tree today!!!! 😊😄😄😄
Every moment here is incredible. We painted trash cans yesterday and it was a lot of fun. I have enjoyed my moments here but most importantly, I've learned a lot from being here. I'm grateful for all of my necessities that I have a home. Like hot water, drinking water, toilet paper in the toilet, and a bunch of other things. This was definitely a humbling experience. I will always remember that most of the things I have at home, someone somewhere has less than me. And for that I am eternally grateful.
4 April 2017
It is so hard to believe that we are heading into our last day here in Jarabacoa. The journey so far has been a growing experience for everyone. I can honestly say that I have seen each child learn and grow from this experience. The first day or two the students were pretty hesitant about the food about meeting new people and about the work to be done. Now, I see them jumping up to the line for food eager to start their new projects and ready to meet new people and find ways to communicate with them.
While tomorrow will be our last day here in Jarabacoa, the friends and memories will last a lifetime. This is one of the greatest experiences these students will have, an opportunity to learn from others while giving to them. Tomorrow, after working in the strawberry and guava production areas we will head to the final leg of the trip - to Santiago for beach time and snorkeling. Until tomorrow...
Pizza night in Jarabacoa. Selections include pizza with sliced cooked tomatoes, pepperoni, chicken, ham, and an everything pizza. Students are all excited, energized and enjoying the evening. After pizza we will head to the park and learn about Jarabacoa and the city.
Students are learning about the Millineum Development Goals this afternoon and discussing whether or not the goals have been accomplished. Great conversation with the kids!
This afternoon the students stained the wooden benches near the river. While the students worked the advisors had the chance to drink some homemade Dominican tea made with chamomile, anise, and allspice.
The rafting here in the Dominican republic is the best thing that I've ever done personally I would say it was just about the most adrenaline pumping experience here on the island. 10/10, would do again.
That moment for me happened when we stood in line for our first meal at camp. The love and pride in the women's eyes let me know how blessed we are to be able to help and share.I love the Dominican people.
Being in the dr is very busy. The day are from 7:30 to 6:00-8:30 pm. It is more work that I have ever. And we have gone river rafting and I fell two times.
My name is Brandon, and I have had an amazing experience here in the Dominican Republic. I have learned so much from this trip such as teamwork skills. Learning how to successfully communicate with the language barrier has helped me to be more social and find different ways to get along. Also, I've learned that as an American I take a lot of things for granted and realized that we waste a lot of produce and recyclable materials. Here nothing goes to waste and reusing bottles, tires, cans etc. is necessary just for survival. Being here has truly shown me the difference between a want and a need in life and I will take that back to the States with me.
The locals here are so very welcoming and nice. Although most of them cannot speak English, they still try to make sure your accomodated. I've absolutely enjoyed my stay and hope that others will as well. My Spanish is definitely growing and I'm learning or relearning words everyday. Gabriel is one of the best guides I've ever had and he will always be at the top of my list. Even though you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet, the Dominican Republic is one of my favorite places to visit. I would definitely want to come here again.
Lunch today served by the incredible Dominican women was so tasty. We had rice with sausage and pork ribs, white rice, plantains, fresh cucumbers, beets, and more!
My name is Lillian and something I've experienced on this trip is total relaxation. I've really enjoyed being immersed in all the different activities. All the activities we have done have been so relaxing and amazing and the fact that they're helping with the environment is amazing. I've loved being here and helping with the trees and painting and weeding. Every time we did something it was so amazing and everyone here is so happy and grateful for everything we do. I've loved being here and being completely immersed in the environment and the culture and I've learned how to be more patient and work better in teams and I've even opened up to trying new things like new food and new experiences. I'm really glad that I decided to come on this trip and I'm extremely grateful for my parents helping me get here.
Today's experience at the main environmental school is to paint garbage cans to beautify the area and create inviting spaces so people are willing to throw away their garbage. The students are SUPER excited for this experience.
Good morning from the Dominican Republic!
3 April 2017
Check out the pictures of our work!
More pictures of the work our students are accomplishing!
Wow! Each day we meet more people, learn more about the Dominican culture and grow together! Today began with breakfast at the hotel - including pancakes, fresh pineapple and orange juice, coffee, and fresh fruit. Then it was off to the main environmental school campus where we learned the process of growing trees from seeds to planting. Students worked in the nursery today focusing on preparing packets of soils for seed planting, putting seeds into the soil cones, and weeding the seedlings. We met a puppy we could actually touch today named Brutus - he was adorable!
After working and rotating stations at the main campus we hopped on the bus and headed over to school two for a barbecue lunch of chicken, hamburgers and a surprise birthday cake for Sophia, one of the students from Kentucky. Originally we were supposed to go in the river, but, it rained last night and the river was too fast and dirty, much to the disappointment of the kids! Instead we got another hour of work accomplished
2 April 2017
Wow! What an amazing afternoon! We all went river rafting - no pics of the experience we were too busy learning how to raft! Thankfully the tour guides took video and pictures of our experience! We will share when we return
More fun for us! Beautiful snatch of empanadas and fruit. Lunch today is brown rice, brown bread, yellow rice with corn, meatballs, eggplant, soy meat, sweet potatoes, salad, and green salad as well as tropical dressing. And cheesecake!
Bench builders extraordinaire!
More building of the bench! The group had to prep and stain the wood, hammer the boards together, and prepare the ground
First morning of service learning the group of 31 were divided into three groups. One group planted trees and cleaned up area agree they were planting, some cleaned up trails throughout the school space, and the WST group and friends built a bench. Check out the pictures!
All about breakfast! The hotel Gran Jimenoa is amazing and right on the river, such a beautiful wake up spot and place to sip morning coffee or fresh pineapple juice. Wow what an incredible journey for WST students!
1 April 2017
A surprise dance last night! Everyone got a chance to partner up with a local student and learn some new moves!
While on the walking tour the students visited the National Panthenon as well as touring the oldest street in the new world. So much information to take in on our walk!
Once we walked past the street of Damas and saw the fort (it cost extra to go in so we stopped and looked thorough the doorway, learning about the 500 year old building. There was so much more to learn about the city!
Wow! Today was an incredible day! The kids describe it as amazing, incredible, beautiful, inspiring, and best day ever! Everyone got to breakfast by 7:30 had a hearty meal of eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, yogurt, and fresh fruit, along with the adults having a strong nip of Dominican coffee, some sat outside, some inside, but all were basking in the glow of a good nights sleep!
Our journey around Santo Domingo began in the square with our tour guide, Paula. She was phenomenal, full of energy, excited to be a Dominican and to share her country's rich history with the group. First stop on our walking tour - the first church built in the Americas. While we were not able to go inside, we did learn a little about it and the people and culture.
Next we walked down the famous street of the ladies. It is so named because Diego Columbas, Christopher Columba's son require 6 ladies at a time to serve in the mansion.
31 March 2017
Dinner in the DR was amazing! We had veggies, rice, and a beef dish. Though everyone was tired last night they were able to perk up at dinner and enjoy themselves meeting the students from the three other groups traveling with us during our week.
And we are boarded for Santo Domingo! Everyone met someone new during our layover at JFK - can't wait to hear their stories!
Good morning! Landed safely at JFK, took the bus to our terminal and are eating an interesting breakfast at the Palm restaurant
30 March 2017
And we are OFF!!
29 March 2017
Today on the Kitsap Peninsula it is cold and dreary, a little rainy and otherwise slightly dismal. Tomorrow we begin our travel to the Dominican Republic! WST and the Kitsap Peninsula will be well represented while we experience service learning maximized!
Student goodie bags are packed and ready for distribution - it's going to be AWESOME & INSPIRING!
28 March 2017
In just TWO days 5 students and 2 teachers from West Sound Tech head off to the Dominican Republic for a one week service learning tour! It's going to be a life-changing, amazing moment for everyone!
First challenge: write a letter to yourself describing the ways your life will change from this experience!