After a tiring but rewarding past few days, team leaders Linda and Enrique worked with Pastor Gabriel to organize a surprise day for the team. Over the week, we had talked about many different parts of the Dominican Culture. As part of today, the team got to experience some of them together.
The group embraced early in the day aboard an open air truck that allowed for optimal viewing of the landscape. We traveled to a sugar cane plantation to witness how they harvest the cane and got to sample its’ sweet taste. Next we traveled along several back roads past various MLB training sites (Mets, Marlins, Cubs, Pirates and more). From there we made a stop at a local market stand to buy candy. As we then traveled along several very bumpy and dusty dirt roads, the children would run out into the road to gather up the candy that we tossed to them as we slowly road by. This was one of the poorest areas we have traveled through so far. The children would hear the truck coming and know each day that people would be tossing them candy to collect.
Our next stop along the way was at a coffee and cocoa plantation. They showed us how they grew, harvested and ground up the coffee beans. They then brewed the coffee over an open fire and le the team sample their final product. We were able to purchase some of the local coffee grounds, chocolate, and honey
Our final destination was a beautiful waterfall located on a ranch. Some of the team members rode horseback the mile trip down to the falls. After a very steep decent down into a rock canyon, the group was rewarded with a spectacular view. We were able to swim and enjoy a relaxing time together followed by a delicious lunch with local cuisine.