The last few days have not exactly gone as planned, but good players adjust. Our first setback came as we were scheduled to visit Centro León Museum in Santiago. Due to the long holiday weekend, the museum opened later than usual, and time didn’t allow us to wait. As a group, we decided to head straight for the beach in Montecristi. Unfortunately, we drove straight into a massive storm and were unable to visit the beach. Many were very disappointed because it was the last chance to bask in the hot sun and swim in the vast ocean. We traded our bathing suits for rain jackets, long pants, and plenty of bug spray. Despite our setbacks, we found activities to occupy our time. Influenced by our Colorado natives, we huddled under the pavilion and watched in awe as the Broncos fought their way to the Super Bowl. Others played cards and tried to keep warm as the wind whistled through the pavilion and the rain flooded the floor. At the end of the long day, we found shelter in our very quaint rooms.
This morning we awoke only to find that the rain had not let up. We grabbed some breakfast and boarded the bus. Our first stop of the day was at the border town, Dajabon. We visited the country market where the streets were crowed with both Haitians and Dominicans buying and selling their goods. The market is open on Mondays and Fridays, and people may only cross the border undocumented if they are solely visiting the market. We tried to maneuver through the chaos without being run over (some did better than others). The dynamic at the border shows that the people from both countries can coexist and work together in their fight for survival. Next we headed to a local restaurant for lunch. We ate a hearty meal of fried chicken, rice, and beans. Before leaving, we sang happy birthday to Pedro and indulged in a fresh baked cake! Our next activity was a visit to an NGO, Solidaridad Fronteriza, which focused building relationships between Dominicans and Haitians, empowering women, as well as promoting sustainability. The rest of the day consisted of a long bus ride back to Santo Domingo to prepare for departure. One surprise came as we were riding on the bus listening to a talk show in Spanish when a few words stuck out to us, “Welcome to the Dominican Republic, Luther College!” Apparently our tour guide, Edwin called in a favor!
Overall, the bus rides have been long and windy, and the weather has not been ideal, but we’re all in good spirits and ready to finish our last day in the Dominican Republic! We are all looking forward to being home again. See ya soon Mom and Dad! XOXO