After observing we took a tour of La Cienaga, a small poor city where most of the students of Tres Mariposas come from. This tour was a real eye opener for all of the girls on the tour. We learned so much and became very appreciative for everything that we have. The housing structures in these areas are very poor, they lack space, furniture and other things that we take for granted on a daily basis.
This tour made me more anxious to meet my host family. I also became a bit more comfortable with eating lunch with our host family because we now have a brief overview of how they live, where they come from, and the culture of the community.
One thing I noticed while on this tour is that everyone that we saw was very happy even though they lived in bad conditions, They welcomed us with huge smiles and Hola as we walked through the small town. This made me very happy and comfortable because the people that lived in the "unsafe" area that we walked in were so kind and welcoming.
Although this experience was mind opening, it wasn't a complete culture shock to me because families in Buffalo, New York (right down the street from school, near Grant street) live like this. The weather conditions are just different and our poor areas in Buffalo are not as poor as the impoverished area here in La Cienaga. I also noticed that the gap between poor and rich is much farther here in the Dominican.
P.S. I'm very excited to meet my host family and know more about them.
-Jasmine, Grateful for everything I have including this experience