Friday, March 11, 2016

Mariposa Day 5

The fifth day of the Mariposa Foundation Project Week finally arrived, and took us all by storm. The day started with a typical 45 minute Dominican time guagua ride (so around 1 hour) from San Juan to Cabarete. Cabarete is the popular neighboring city that attracts many tourists week by week. At a breakfast coffee shop, partnered with the Mariposa Foundation, we all devoured delicious waffles topped with chopped bananas and whipped cream with a side of Dominican coffee.

After filling our stomachs, we finally had the privilege of visiting the Mariposa Foundation, which took us all by surprise. We knew what to expect, however the experience we gained could never be predetermined. We took a tour of the center, amazed at how different it was to our preconceptions. The center was established on a vast amount of land consisting of a basketball court, office, swimming pool, garden, sand, kitchen, and classrooms. What stood out was the amount of butterflies (mariposa in Spanish) that were on every corner of the Mariposa Foundation buildings to remind everyone of their motto and goal: "You are the worlds most powerful force for change". We learned more about the history of Mariposa and how it began from the 4 Maribal sisters all the way to the evil powerful dictator at the time, Rafael Trujillo.

After the tour, we visited both a public and private school in Cabarete to compare them to the public school we taught at in the campo the days prior. The public school was fairly similar except there weren't as many children and they were more curious as to who we were and what we were doing. At the private school we didn't come in contact with the students, but saw the building. It was a nice building that seemed similar to American public schools. Then we took a walking tour around Cabarete to see the differences in houses, roads, and the customs from the country to the city. It was a very poor neighborhood with colorful houses, very close together, that we didn't see in the country.

When we returned to Mariposa, we saw the girls and had the opportunity to visit 3 of their classes and observe and engage in a few activities such as literature/health, sports, English, and cooking. It was very apparent how much the girls have already been empowered to control their own futures with the help of the center and all the volunteers. In classes the girls were aware of the problems that Dominican women deal with on a daily basis, and they were able to vocalize some solutions and  reasons as to why they didn't want to get pregnant at a young age and why they wanted to continue having an education, and more.

After spending time at Mariposa, we went to Kite Beach where we had a wonderful Dominican shrimp dinner. What stood out was how tourists filled the beach, restaurants, and Cabarete in general  compared to where we've been. It was nice to relax, lay out in the sun, and do a little bargaining for a few small gifts on the ocean side. The dinner was amazing, as predicted, and the shrimp were left, well, finished! The night ended with saying goodbye to Patricia, founder and exective director of the Mariposa Foundation, with the guagua ride back to the hotel, to close the day with our reflection. We blew out and re-lit our candles with our darkest moments and the hope we saw from our experiences on this trip. The day over all was breathtaking, and could not be summed up by words or photos, but an experience that changed us all forever.
- Jennifer O. '17

Accepting the challenge of maneuvering around
life's challenges

Sometimes the challenges become more difficult..

Meaningful reflection about avoiding unprotected
sex, alcohol, pregnancy...

We had lunch with the group from Lawrence Academy

No comments:

Post a Comment