Sunday morning was very relaxed as we finally enjoyed some peace and quiet. After a late breakfast we headed towards the beach for a New Years polar plunge. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, reading books, and listening to podcasts. We had spaghetti back at the airbnb and then listened to a sermon together. People started getting ready for bed pretty quickly after dinner as we'll have another early start tomorrow as we head to the next community for some more construction and community development work.
New Years is celebrated in a big way in the Dominican Republic. Most people leave the city and travel back to their villages to ring in the New Year with their families. This was also the case for our local contacts at the mission so we got Saturday and Sunday off from community projects.
Saturday morning we packed up and left the guesthouse in Santo Domingo and headed east towards San Pedro De Macoris. We spent the morning visiting the colonial zone of Santo Domingo and learning about the history of the Dominican Republic to increase our cultural awareness. Knowing a little bit about the history of the country and how the arrival of Christopher Columbus affected the people living here can give us some important insight when working with the local communities later this week. After lunch we picked up some groceries and headed towards our Airbnb where we'd be spending the New Years weekend. We reflected on the past year and celebrated the arrival of 2023 together as a team. Our neighbors threw a typical Dominican New Years party which didn't stop until after 4 am, so at 2 am we were moving around couches and mattress to the quietest corners of the house to try and catch some sleep.