Buenos dias mi amigos!
What an eventful day once more. It started out fairly similar to yesterday – workout by the beach and quick breakfast before meeting ‘Ben the man’, Logistical Coordinator for the Caribbean Center for Education and Research. Another Hokie along with two other students, who are here to study the medical benefits of local plants, joined us on our tour to the neighboring city of Higuey.
The bus took us passed Veron, endless sugar cane fields and colorful neighborhoods. According to Ben the sugar cane fields are all owned by two major industries which employ a minimum amount of workers each extracting about five tons of sugar cane a day. They get paid enough to support their family for one day, living in miserable conditions. As those fields become more and more sparse we finally approach the city of Higuey. The Basilica, a fairly juvenescent church built to preserve a famous painting of the Virgin Mary, welcomes us with its high arches and beautiful stained-glass windows. The girls had to cover up with colorful cloths not to expose our bare legs in this holy pilgrim place.
Our next stop was a local food market. What an adventure! Ben walked us through the crowded aisles as we eagerly looked left and right. Fruits and vegetables in every shape and color lay out in front of little huts. As we came through alittle square we got a glimpse of a guy carrying two dead chickens by theirfeet. The next aisle would be what we’d call the ‘Butcher’s corner’ – dead meat everywhere, little currents of blood on the ground and guys chopping up entire cows and pigs with their bare hands. The one thing that shocked me most was the sight of a little boy sitting around right next to a cow’s head. It seemed so casual. Not to us; we were all fairly happy to get back to the fresh-smelling fruit and happily bought some ripe mangoes, passion fruits and a pineapple.
A view of the local food market in HigueyAfter a surprising lunch of rice, beans and chicken (we have been eating that for the past couple of days) we all took a nap. The morning, charged with sight-seeing and impressions wore us out.
Refreshed and energized we got together for a class discussion. Today’s topic was Humanistic Behaviorism and Empathic Leadership/Communication. Shane McCarty, our classroom facilitator as he likes to be called, led us into very interesting discussions on the importance of individual needs and how we need to communicate them interpersonally. The talk ended with quick feedback on the relevance and presentation of the course material and off we were to dinner.
Tonight’s menu was very special – Wendy’s! While some of us preferred buying dinner at the grocery store others enjoyed a full America meal in the midst of the Caribbean. What a luxury!
Our third day in Punta Cana has been as impressive and exciting as the ones before. Our group of actively caring people has grown and become more comfortable interacting with each other and complete strangers. It is a learning process to achieve a vision we all embrace!
Buenas noches amigos, nos vemos mananaCarol Kahoun