Last Tuesday night, my fellow project supervisors and I were jumping up and down in the airport, waving our AMIGOS flags and shouting with joy every time we saw a participant walk towards us. We were anxious to share our enthusiasm for AMIGOS and the Dominican Republic. After three jam-packed days of briefing, it is clear that our participants are just as excited about this summer!
Briefing began with a walking tour of La Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo. Highlights of the tour included the first cathedral in the New World, the last home of Christopher Columbus, and beautiful views of the waterfront. Once we arrived in San Juan, we jumped right into briefing activities. We discussed project logistics, reviewed health and safety procedures, and practiced lots of Spanish! Of course, we had fun activities as well, including dance lessons, a surprise community reveal, a rooftop dance party, and lots of dinamicas!
As necessary as our structured activities were, the most important moments of briefing occurred in the moments between activities. I saw new friendships form over card games, lunch, and adventures walking around the hotel. I watched relationships strengthen when participants shared their excitements and doubts about this summer. When participants said goodbye to their new friends at the end of briefing, I knew that this summer would be a success. They had successfully created relationships in just a few days, and will be able to use those same skills to create meaningful connections within their communities. I am excited to visit their communities this week to see what they have already accomplished!