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29 posts categorized "Santiago Service"

Meet your session 2 program leader... Douglas Pentland. :)

hello! I hope you're all doing well! My ame is Douglas Pentland and I will be one of the program leaders for Santiago DR Service and Leadership!

I have been living and working in Dallas TX for the last couple years teachings second grade and I love it! I am moving to Seattle WA and will be teaching first grade in the fall. In college I studied Critical Theory and Social Justice with a Critical Race Studies emphasis and worked in the Office of Community Engagement really trying to learn more about community service and community organizing.

I am suuuper excited for this special opportunity to be with all of the students and to explore the world but also our own journey of self reflection. Traveling to the DR and working with the community is an amazing and humbling experience. I grew up in a small town in Oregon so for me the chance to see the world on a larger scale was incredibly transformative. I can't wait to have thought provoking conversations and reflections together as a group or journaling by ourselves for us to learn about the world around us and also how we can best maneuver within it. 

Keep an open mind and an open heart. One of your main jobs, I think, will be to be a sponge. Soak it all up and let this experience change your life. Then take all that you learn and all that impacts you and go home to your communities and change lives there too. 


Safe travels! ‚úĆūüŹĽ

~Douglas Pentland



Hiking over winter break..


Summer adventures  :)




¬°Hasta luego, Santiago!

Can you believe today we leave Santiago? I know I can't!

Our last day here in Santiago started off with our final day of assisting community members in La Otra Banda with the painting of neighborhood houses.  Now that we already have done this once, we were pros!

The afternoon was spent shopping and celebrating the end of our time here with a pizza party! Everyone was a mix of emotions... excited to have had this experience, sad to say goodbye, and excited to see their families back home. 



Thank you to everyone who made this an amazing trip. Remember, it's not an "adios" but a "hasta luego"!


Student Post: Elizabeth

Reflecting upon the passing of the trip, I am happy to say that this trip has been awesome! My host family was consistently considerate and friendly, so I was able to connect with them in a deep interpersonal level despite being here for only three weeks. I have grown quite fond of them!  They have been nothing but understanding to our cultural differences. They have not only helped me and my housemate, Emma, assimilate to a new culture, but they have been so attentive to our wants and needs, no matter the trouble.  And the most important gift they gave us was always being there with a smile, un besito, a "¬Ņc√≥mo fue?" and wholeheartedly welcoming two strangers into their family.

Furthermore, the language immersion has proved immensely fulfilling. Despite knowing that there would be some colloquial differences from the Spanish I was taught and the Spanish I would hear, I had difficulty understanding some of what the children were telling me until I enlisted the help from one of my fellow Dominican volunteers. 

Overall, though these three weeks were full of many challenges, I have felt moments where the world was wide and vast, but also felt the overwhelming brightness of the city. But in these moments I felt alive in the pulse of life.


In this way, I have learned and grown into a worldlier person. Thank you CIEE for this opportunity!



Weekend Excursion to Monción and Montecristi

This weekend the students had the opportunity to visit the northeastern coastal regions of Monción and Montecristi.

Upon arriving, we saw the Presa de Monción, the region’s hydroelectric dam.


Then, students enjoyed a traditional Dominican dinner followed by s’mores and live merengue music by the fire. On Saturday, we toured a casabe (bread made from yucca) factory as well as an artisan’s furniture studio. At the factory, some students even got a chance to try their hand at the craft of casabe making.


After a busy morning, we hopped in the river for a refreshing swim.

On Sunday, we arrived at Montecristi. Located in the northwestern part of the Cibao Valley, Montecristi is a beautiful natural escape with numerous beaches. Students took a boat tour of the mangroves and jumped in the water to explore the indigenous marine flora. After that, we headed to a private beach, where we swam around and took in the scenery before lunch.


After making our way back to Santiago, our host families welcomed us home with open arms and plenty of fried plantains.

¬°Hasta ahorita!

Student Post: Delilah (¬°Deh-leee-lah!)

Hey! My name is Delilah and I'm a student in Santiago session one! I've really been enjoying my time here and I'm amazed by all of the different things that the Dominican Republic has to offer. From the food, to the culture, to the children, it's so amazing, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be here.



For the past three days we've been hosting a camp for La Escuela De Santa Maria, and the children are outstanding. Some of my favorite activities that we have done so far are making fruit loop necklaces, having girls go vs. boys to see who can build the tallest tower, and making paper airplanes and racing to see whose can fly the farthest.


I was amazed by how sweet and welcoming the children are, and even though we are the ones teaching and leading the kids, the kids are teaching me lessons that I'll never forget. I'm so sad that 3 days of camp have already passed, but I cannot wait for the other 5 that have yet to come!



Day #1 at Camp Ciudad Santa Maria

The day has finally come... the day we start camp!

And what a day it was. We started off with a bang playing name games and icebreakers so we could get to know the kids of the camp better. Our kids put their hard work of planning to work with their groups. There were crafts being made, volleyballs being hit, dances being danced, and kickballs being kicked. Everyone had a blast!





Our kids were VERY tired at the end of our time there, that's for sure! But everyone is excited to go back again tomorrow. 

¬°Hasta luego! 


Crazy For Cacao!

Today was filled with chocolate-y goodness, a history lesson, and a walk in nature. 

First, we toured a cacao plantation about an hour outside of Santiago. I learned that citrus trees planted nearby provide the cacao with necessary shade and imbue the beans with a fruity flavor. Students enjoyed tasting some of the fruit plucked right off the trees. They even got to make some chocolate themselves!


Next, we visited the former house of the Mirabal sisters, who were active in the resistance movement against the oppressive Trujillo dictatorship. Students were glad to have the chance to compare and contrast the dramatized version of the sisters' lives that we saw in the movie yesterday with the historical reality.


Then, we headed back to Santiago to eat dinner and to spend time with our host families.

We're looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow, then working at the camp on Monday.

Hasta pronto!

- Jenn


What a productive day!

Today we toured la Ciudad Santa Maria, where we will help run a summer camp in the next two weeks.  A bunch of kiddos peeked out and waved... they were very curious as to who these visitors were!  


After our tour we got to WORK! Our kiddos were divided up so they can start planning next week's activities for the different age groups. 


We even had a quick pick up game of soccer with some of the kiddos!


In the afternoon, we held our second leadership seminar where we focused on cultural difference, specifically different cultural values and communication styles, with hopes that our students will be more effective intercultural communicators. 


¬°Hasta luego!


Conociendo Santiago!

Blog photo


Today the students got to know the Centro Cultural Dominico Americano, where their classes will be held. We did some fun activities to get to know each other, like the rope corral (pictured below) and the Hula Hoop game. 


Students also learned more about their service project and discussed strategies for accomplishing their goals.

After lunch with their host families, students regrouped for a tour of Santiago featuring all the significant landmarks, including the Monumento and the city's oldest fortress. 


Hasta pronto!


¬°Ya llegamos a Santiago!

We have arrived!!

Our first day here in Santiago has been great. Our students met their host families last night and came back this morning with many stories of their warm, loving host families.

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We went to Jarabacoa, a nearby mountain retreat, for our program orientation. While there we enjoyed an assortment of traditional Dominican fresh fruits and natural juices as well as the traditional rice and beans for lunch.

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We ended our day with a refreshing dip in the pool! It was a nice way to start off our trip.

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¬°Hasta pronto!