Stand UP Dominican Republic: Service, Chocolate, & Shabbat

Dear parents, 
Wednesday morning was our last day at camp. We stuck to our regular routine of being in the classroom to do some academic activities and also at the sports courts for physical activities. Typically we had been closing out the morning with each team doing their special cheer but since it was our last day we extended that time and had a dance party with the campers. We were very sad to be leaving them after the last week and a half. At the start it was a little bit stressful with the language barrier but through our time at camp we learned that there’s other ways to connect with people if you don’t speak the same language.
In the afternoon we traveled to Teleferico and rode a cable car up to mount Isabel which overlaps Puerto Plata. The air was so much cooler and gave us nice relief from the insane heat and humidity on the ground. There was bridges, caves, and legumes that we had time to explore well also overlooking the city. We closed out Wednesday and our service project by gathering one more time in our fruit groups to share with each other our experiences from the last week and a half. We loved hearing their reflections on what things changed for them and what they learned through their time at camp. 
On Thursday morning we went to a cacao plantation to learn about the area and eat some chocolate. We went on a hike through the plantation and saw the different types of plants that they grow. This plantation has 18,800 plants and produces 18.8 tons of chocolate per year. It does not rain in DR for 10 months of the year but there is still enough moisture in the air to do all of this!
Up until yesterday we had been lucky that all our bus rides have been relatively short. We knew that this would be our long one since we were travelling from Cabarete to Santo Domingo. Our morning hike tired us out so we took a nice nap and then arrived to the historical Zona Colonial and found our hotel. We had dinner at a creole restaurant where we had a surprise birthday celebration for our tour guide Adonis! 
Today is our second and final Shabbat which we will be celebrating with Chabad of Dominican Republic. Shabbat shalom!  

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