2016 Dominican Republic Teacher Mission Trip - Day 5
On our last morning in Santiago, we were all excited to see pancakes on the buffet at breakfast! The breakfast was good every day; we always had mashed plantains, eggs, fried cheese and salami. But, we were happy to have something familiar. After breakfast, we had a surprisingly easy time crossing the street to get to the church for the last part of our conference at Colegio Bautista de la Gracia.
The last part of the conference went very well. We were able to finish up all of the presentations, answer questions and get feedback. We received a lot of positive feedback and ideas for future workshop topics. I think the only negative feedback we received was that there wasn’t enough time. The teachers always want us to stay longer and share more information.
We ended the conference by gathering all of the teachers together and passing out certificates. It is always a great celebration. The teachers applaud and cheer for each other. They cheer for me as well when I pronounce their names correctly. The room was full of bright smiles and laughter. After a picture with the entire group, we said our goodbyes. Over forty people from Colegio Bautista de la Gracia attended the conference.
We walked back to the hotel, and sought help from the bellboys to carry all of our luggage downstairs and onto the bus. We still have two large suitcases per person and carry-on bags. It was quite a sight! We gave away a lot of supplies in Santiago, but we will see three times as many teachers in Santo Domingo, so we still have a lot more. On our way out of town, we stopped at Wendy’s and Quizno’s for a very American lunch then went to the market to shop for souvenirs.
The market was a great experience. It was one building full of individual stalls where people sold everything from jewelry to key chains to coffee. This was our first trip to the market in Santiago. It was a great experience, and our team is coming home with a lot of gifts for loved ones. Traffic was bad leaving the market. They don’t have many traffic laws that are enforced here, and the drivers communicate with each other using their horns. It was scary, but our expert drivers, Rebeca and Herardo, navigated it perfectly.
The drive to our next conference site, Iglesia Bautista Quisqueyana in Villa Mella, Santo Domingo, was beautiful. TIME Ministries and STCHM shared a block with IBQ. We stayed in dorms on site. Checking in was a little chaotic and overwhelming, we had to find our rooms, pass out keys and move our luggage. It took a few minutes, but we all had a comfortable bed and a room with air conditioning! And there were many familiar faces to greet us at IBQ. I love returning to the same place every year to build relationships with the people here.
After a delicious dinner of taco salad, fresh juice and brownies, we organized and prepared for the conference. We had to sort supplies, set up classrooms and put together goodie bags for the teachers. We were all up pretty late getting ready, and we were lulled to sleep by the sound of car horns, music, dogs barking and traveling salesmen shouting advertisements from speakers mounted to the top of their cars.