By Andria R. Quintero, Director of Elementary, The Caedmon School

Imagine your morning consists of roosters crowing, waves crashing, and breakfast from the land that surrounds you. The Nobis 11 is getting the opportunity to explore such experiences in The Dominican República with The Mariposa DR Foundation.

It is our sixth day working with an organization that provides educational programs for girls in the town of Cabrete. We meet at 8:15 a.m. and walked over to Mariposa via the beach as the waves rush to meet us.

Upon arrival, breakfast is served outside with the sounds of girls as our background music.  We eat as a community and after that we are off to morning circle. On this very day, a Simon Says type of game is played. It is amazing to watch the Mariposa girls, staff, and Nobis 11 playing this game together in the native language, Spanish. To an outsider, it may look like just a group of people playing a game and to us it was a rewarding way to connect and build relationships.

In the afternoon, it was time to meet once again with the Founder and Visionary of the Mariposa Foundation. As with any service-learning opportunity there is an action plan. We were tasked with finding ways to support the teachers at Mariposa. We broke down into smaller groups to brainstorm ways to tackle the problems set before us. My group collaborated with the literacy teacher, Mary Jane. The conversation veered in many directions-words, sentences, and thoughts intertwining with each other as we filled the air with possibilities for a teacher who wore her passions on her sleeve and wanted nothing but the best for her girls.

We got to work in our teams, building on lessons and information that was provided. It was amazing to watch a special group of educators plug away to share their tools with an educator from across the global waters.

We had the treat of eating dinner across from our hotel at the Dominican owned restaurant.

Looking back over these six days, I could not have imagined the value that was going to be added to my life. The relationships, connections, and conversations will forever be a treasure I hold dear to my heart. Behold the rewards of a reciprocal partnership. Muchas Gracias Mariposa y Dominican República.