June 11, 2014
June 11th
Student-Athlete Development: Dominican Republic Blog

Today was our designated beach day and it was a bit of a change from our normal schedule we were accustomed to. Our day started out early when we left the foundation at 8 am to head to Bayahibe beach. It took about an hour to get there and we were all so happy to get off the bus and head to the playa! Once we arrived at the beach, many of us rushed to jump in and then lay out in order to try and even out our extreme camp tans.

I went on a walk down the beach with a few other people, but our walk was interrupted as we passed the main resort at the beach. There was some fitness dance class going on and the instructor was so into it. He was doing each movement with extreme force and was trying to get his audience to do the same. As we walked by, Will decided to jump in and started side stepping and doing the movements near the instructor. I would say he fit in, except he was the only guy so he didn't exactly blend. After a few minutes he was asked to lead the class and he had us all laughing and dancing. After we pried him away from the class some of us decided to jump in a boat to go snorkeling for a bit.

Once we boated out further into the ocean, Jon jumped off the boat while the rest of us were still receiving instructions. He must have been so eager to see the fish. The water was home to the most beautiful fish and coral. They would swim along side you and even eat bread from your hand. The highlight of the snorkeling was when Danny showed us this large fish that was inside a little rock cave. We all were diving down further to get a better look until Welinton, our host from the foundation, told us that we should quickly get away from that area. He frantically told us that it was a dangerous, snakelike fish called a morena. I have never seen a group of people swim so fast back to the boat.

Our main beach excursion ended as we left to get lunch back at the foundation. After lunch we decided to go to another beach that was much closer. Most people opted for a calmer afternoon at La Playa Blanca, while Alex, TJ, and Will chose to be more adventurous. They swam off into the ocean to check out the water and came back with stories about how they crashed a children’s waterpark at one of the nearby resorts pretending to look for their little brother, “Andrew”.

After the beaches we had our last class in the Foundation and we talked a great deal about poverty and the common problems that occur when poverty is based on economics. Poverty is more than that. Extreme poverty is more about feelings that they people feel by not having basic necessities such as clean water, food, and health and sanitation, not the lack of nice materials.

Our last day in the Dominican Republic came to a close with a fiesta night in the foundation put on by Welinton. He was so excited to introduce us to different Dominican foods and desserts, along with dances that he loved. The night was a success and we all were able to have a fun last night to wrap up our trip.

It is so sad to think that we are back to Blacksburg in the morning. I wish this trip didn't have to come to an end, but I am so thankful to have experienced this with my twelve new close friends.

Morgan Conklin

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