Today we went straight to the Dove Missions Youth Development Center and began assessments again. Saturdays are busy days at the Center when nearly all children served by Dove Missions attend since school is not in session. During assessments, the older girls were helpful in teaching us some Spanish and trying to understand our English. They loved having us listen to their hearts and take their blood pressures. Antony even listened to my heart and thought it was so cool! All the kids wanted to learn how to use the stethoscope; and, of course, we let them!
We also assisted with a small gardening project to help the children and their families start growing vegetables for the children at the Center. We used old plastic bottles and cut them in half. We filled them with garden soil, planted seeds, and watered generously. The staff at the Center hope this will be the beginning of a community garden and will serve to make vegetables more affordable for families and encourage them to consume more vegetables on a daily basis.
After lunch, we visited the open market to look for fruits and veggies for our upcoming nutrition lesson with the students. Mrs. Ruwe also bought ingredients to make guacamole tonight! We shopped a little for local crafts near the market and then went back to Dove Missions to play with the kids.
Saturday afternoon is fun and games at the Center. Approximately 160 children were at the Center to join in the fun. We inserted a “nutrition” theme as we organized games for the afternoon. We had an egg and spoon relay (with foam eggs) and other games and relays with different fruits and vegetables (foam, of course). Relay races were fun, and the kids were so competitive often bending the rules to sneak an advantage. We took a lot of pictures and called it a day. The kids loved playing with us almost as much as we enjoyed playing with them. After lots of hugs, it was time to leave and have a little time to relax on the beach near our hotel and enjoy the beauty of Puerto Plata.
Kayla, Sophomore Nursing and Gerontology Major