Dominican Republic- Spring 2010
I recently mentioned in one of my blog posts how I took a volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic. Some of you asked to know more about this trip, so I say this: Your wish is my command. I am very eager to walk down memory lane and reflect on this extraordinary experience that I was fortunate enough to have.
In undergrad I was very involved in the community service department. In my opinion, there is nothing better than helping someone in need. It not only gives others what they are in dire need of, but it helps you more then you could even imagine. My "Alternative Spring Break Trip" to
the Dominican Republic is telling of this.
The trip entailed staying at a local orphanage with an agency called Orphanage Outreach . My group was part of the Teach Corps for the week and we were responsible for making lesson plans and teaching at a local school. I was nervous because I know about a handful of words in Spanish (and I'm talking about a child's hand size), but we were ensured that it was not necessary; it is actually preferred that we only speak English in the classroom.
1. At the orphanage with a new born puppy and resident 2. This man got the title my 'husband' he loved me and yelled "Pelirroja" every time he saw me.
Translation: Redhead. It follows me everywhere.
We arrived in Jaibon and we were shown our tents. Now, to say I wasn't nervous about this would be a lie. I'm not spoiled by any means, but the conditions could have broken me, or so I thought. Hot water, unlimited supply of water and limitless electricity are three things I take for granted every day.
I could not have cared less.
1. Shops in town 2. Tent City 3. The Orphanage 4. Our volunteer group
The kids we taught were amazing in every sense of the word. I've never felt so appreciated in my life. When we walked into the school, every single class applauded for us (could you imagine this happening in America?) even the ones we were not teaching. Kids ran out to hug us and say thank you for what we were doing.
1. Che drawing his family 2. The kids putting on a show for us 3. Dance party 4. Dance party in a circle
Our last day teaching was very hard. The kids put on a whole show for us in honor of us coming to teach them. We had a show filled with kid pyramids, dancing, music, and a circle where people had to go in the middle and dance. It was fantastic. When we had to get back on the buses there were many tears. I tried to hold back because we wanted it to be happy, but it was so hard to think that the best week of my life was coming to an end. Just writing about this brings tears to my eyes.
And this was my hardest goodbye. This was my little 'boyfriend' (yes, you do understand this correctly: 1. I did have a boyfriend and husband on my trip and 2. He is about 7 years old). He tried to talk to me the whole time, but since I do not know Spanish I communicated with love. The Dominican taught us to do this and let me tell you: it works. I told him I was leaving for America and he walked away and got teary eyed. He gave me special stickers during the week and when I got on the bus he would not stop waving. The feeling I got from this will never leave me.
Eleven things we were taught to live by on our trip: 1. Release the hero within 2. Acknowledge Yourself 3. You are Orphanage Outreach 4. It's not about You 5. THIS IS IT! 6. Communicate Love 7. Poco A Poco (Little by Little) 8. Jump right in 9. Serve, don't help 10. Be flexible/creative 11. You are responsible
*My favorite were communicate love and Poco A Poco. You do not realize how much there is to learn by taking things little by little. Try it! You can learn more about the principles by clicking here. They are minimally different from when I took the trip.
I'll leave you with this: A video from the best trip of my life. This is a song we taught the children so they could learn the words we were teaching them. Enjoy.
We can all have a small impact on the world. Don't think about what you cannot do- instead focus on what you can do. Thank you for asking me about this trip and letting me share my experience :)