This summer, July 30-August 6, I went on a reunion trip to the Dominican Republic, to Constanza, La Vega, to the Cecaini School in Rio Grande. On the next few posts, I’m sharing my reflections.
Once major personal “peak moment” for me on this current trip is that my son came with me! With words and images, I am trying to do my best at telling our story — of our life-changing, humbling, impactful, and seriously amazing set of experiences! Thanks for reading 🙂
July 31, 2022
What a full and fulfilling day and night here in Constanza, Dominican Republic. Justin and I started the day with a fantastic breakfast. New tastes and foods along with some familiar ones. After a great breakfast with the group, we headed into a study room for more cultural orientation activities. We participated in a “scrap book” activity. One that my good friend Nick Polyak and I have adapted and adopted in adult professional development & training for many years (we first did this activity 6 and a half years ago on our first mission and service/culture trip here in Constanza with LifeTouch and the American Association of School Administrators, the AASA, The School Superintendents Organization).
So in this scrapbook activity you have a poster board, glue sticks, scissors, and magazines on multiple topics (everyone was asked to bring 3-5 magazines to cut up). With images, “share your story” — who are you? What is/has been your leadership journey? Whether you’re 14 or 54 or 60 or 35, what’s your journey in life so far and what is a graphical representation of this story? In 15 minutes – NOT a long period of time, we made some pretty cool posters. Then we mixed up into triads, triads with people we just met on this trip. We each had 3 minutes to share our journey/story. Our new friends and partners had two minutes to reflect/ask questions and we repeated the process for each member of the triad. In just over 30 minutes we three learned A TON about each other, what and who we value, what our journey is/has been, etc. Like an image you see, you make a “judgement” or “assumption” but until you listen, look, ask questions, engage, you really do not know what the “perspective” you have is. In fact, our perspectives change – and they should change and be pliable (think “growth mindset” for example).
The exercise serves multiple purposes, it allows us to become friends and fellow travelers, explorers, servants, leaders. It also allows us to be fully present in what we are doing here – each experience, each set of moments and peak moments. It allows us to experience an illustration of the power of open mindedness to change (one of the Big 5 Personality Theories of human being) as we embark on community building and service along side our Dominican hosts and friends.
We were invited to Pastor Angel’s church, the message was of hope and faith, universal principals good for us all to hear and internalize. In addition, today is Father’s Day in the Dominican Republic and we were honored with some cool cultural experiences! We then walked about a half mile through town for our lunch at a local restaurant. We had some time dodging motorbikes on the street while enjoying the act of being present in a new town, in a new space, with new learning and living.
Each night after dinner we reflect upon our learnings and experiences, What, Now What, So What, and Applying our learning is the focus. Tomorrow we engage in some more education, “activating schema” and opening our hearts and minds to full presence of being while here (and in life in general).
Tomorrow we also head to the school site for some manual labor at the invitation of our hosts and community. See some images today from our adventures in the city, our time at Pastor Angel’s church, some recreation and fellowship with our fellow travelers and more.
Thanks for following our adventures.