7:00am – I wake up in my hotel in Bayahibe, a small resort town on the Southeastern tip of the Dominican Republic. I eat breakfast about an hour and a half later, around 8:30am; it’s beautiful here, and we eat right on the water, watching all the boats coming and going.
10:00am – My cohort leaves to work with Fundemar, an organization dedicated to promoting the sustainable use of coastal marine ecosystems and resources through research, education, and support for the development of conservation projects.
11:30am – We eat lunch around this time most days: I usually eat rice and beans with avocado and beef. After that, we have a 2-3 hour break to do whatever we'd like: sometimes I'll go take a shower and relax since we've been active all day, other times I'll walk down to the beach and write poetry.
2:00pm – In the afternoon, we continue our work with Fundemar. Right now, we're focused on coral restoration, so we're learning about different species of fish, snorkeling to see them ourselves, observing and monitoring manatees, and watching documentaries to expand our knowledge of sea life.
6:00pm – In the evenings, I eat dinner with friends; after our meal, we usually hang out by the basketball court with the locals. It’s a small town, so you get to know the people and become friends with them. Other times, we'll go to the dock, play music, and dance by the water, or we just go for a walk and check out the natural pools here in Bayahibe.
What tomorrow may hold – I go to bed looking forward to being on a boat again and having the chance to snorkel. Coming here presented me with these two experiences for the first time, and while they weren't easy at first, I'm proud that I've gotten the hang of them. It’s so cool and beautiful to see all the fish, maybe even spot a manatee... I hope I see one tomorrow!