#DR19 (Dominican Republic 2019) Reflection by LUHS Spanish Club Officers

Saturday March 9, Cody Schneider, Club President

On Saturday we left our homestays for a short drive to our site see some amazing monuments in the Colonial Zone. After we had gotten our share of history on the colonial zone of Santo Domingo, we headed to a large tourist market, where we were able to test our speaking and bargaining abilities. At the market, we would get bombarded with sales pitches from the vendors attempting to sell their products. After a stressful half an hour or so, we decided to head to the beach for a small reflection of the day and how the trip was going so far. 

Sunday March 10, Aidan Graf, Officer at Large

The morning consisted of a tour of a cacao plantation and the entire process of making chocolate. On our way back to Santo Domingo, we interrupted our bus karaoke session with a quick stop at a rice paddy. Before we went back to our host families, we quickly visited a mall to experience the upper class life of the city. After dinner, the entire group went to a club to have an enjoyable night of dancing at a club in town with locals who were much better at dancing than we were.

Monday March 11, Melissa Bruckner, Treasurer

When we arrived at the school, the faculty and students greeted us with a warm “good morning” in English and they were ecstatic to see us. We quickly realized that this was very different than the schools that we know of in the United States. The school had a tall brick wall surrounding it with barbed wire at the top (similar to what we see surrounding a US prison), and there was a guard at the entrance of the school. It did not matter that we were so different though, we spent the entire day playing basketball, playing volleyball, teaching children games, and making true friendships. 

Tuesday March 12, Reilly Coon, Vice President
La Piedra:

La Piedra was the most impactful and significant cultural interaction and experience for many of the attending students. La Piedra is an extremely impoverished community with many of its residents living off of $3 a day. The community has little access to clean water and houses are haphazardly built. Students were given the opportunity to paint houses and get to know families and children. Lakeland students painted 5 houses in 5 hours in the blazing heat and sun. At each home, a donation of t-shirts, money (for medical supplies), and food was made.This day proved to be the most memorable and impactful for many students. The exposure to the extreme poverty was unlike anything ever seen before, and the extreme gratitude students left with will be carried into life back at Lakeland.

Wednesday March 13, Olivia Menzia, Officer at Large, Señora GriesRoehrich’s TA

Our second to last day started with saying goodbye to the host families we had all grown so attached to. We left our neighborhood in Los Frailes and drove three hours through the country and mountains to our resort in Las Terrenas. Once we got to the resort we all went to the beach or the pool to soak up some sun before our trip ended. 

Thursday March 14, Andrew Johnson, Secretary
Spanish Club - Day of the Zipline
The zip line was a step outside the comfort zone for some, and right at home for others. For me, it was a new experience. Right away, we were plunged out of the ordinary over the Dominican forests that offered scenic views seen at fast speeds. If one was brave enough they could even experience it from upside down, a feat introduced to me by those braver than me, until I got the hang of it. Additionally, those on the zip line could choose to partner up on the zip line, which made the two go even faster and gave the added fun of doing random various activities while ziplining.