Real Talk Over Small Talk

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I’m currently in the northernmost region of Vietnam riding a motorbike around a 4 day loop of mountain passes. More on that soon!

I’m tired from 3 full days of biking and the internet isn’t fabulous – so here’s something I wrote up a few weeks ago during my time teaching in the Dominican Republic.


Meeting people is amazing.

Asking real questions is important. 

During the Wilderness Advanced First Aid training we ate communal meals with the Global Glimpse crew. Throughout the meals, one of the leaders would pose a question to the group to discuss with the people we were sitting next to. 

For example: “If you could be in any book or movie, what would it be?” (Obvious answer: Harry Potter books 1, 2, 3, or 4.)

“If you had 2 million dollars to do the most good possible, what would you do with it?”

“What is the most significant turning point you’ve had in your life?”

It was the answer to this question that brought me to some amazing stories and connections. 


One of the participants, Sixto, answered: “Learning English”.

He grew up in San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic. He moved to the capitol city, Santo Domingo, and lived there for seven years. After having his heart broken, he moved back to San Juan. In 2014 he was awarded a scholarship to take an intensive, immersive English course which was funded by the government for people who are low-income. He’s a basketball player. He treats his body like a temple. He’s the second person in his family to learn English. One of the players on his team encouraged him to practice. The first person he had a conversation with in English is now his wife. She lives in New York with their beautiful two and a half year old daughter and he’s working on getting his U.S. visa now. He taught me how to dance the bachata and merengue.


Another participant, John, answered: “Going to the United States”.

John refers to himself as an internet user from a small community. He’s from Haiti and has lived in the Dominican Republic for 13 years. Through the internet, he found a fellowship that would send him to the U.S. to learn how they do business abroad, and how to develop connections, and build an idea into a reality. He doesn’t have a Bachelor’s degree yet and he’s not sure if he wants to get one because he just wants to start his business. He wants to make change. He wants to bring internet to small communities with smartphone users. Because if these users could connect to the internet, they could have the access to the same kinds of opportunities that John had. The kind of opportunities that changed his life. The kind that are changing other peoples lives.

Here’s a postscript one of the participants added:

Esas historias están muy bonitas Emilia, gracias por venir y mostrarnos como ser mejor.  – Leonel Terrero

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