I don’t even know where to begin. These last two days have been absolutely incredible- a little warning that it’s a bit of a longer post.
On day 4, we got to work on an Auburn tradition that ASB started here in the D.R. Every year our group works on fixing up a local park and preserving its beauty. We got out there early morning and embraced the heat, dug out weeds to fix the garden, threw out the trash, and painted a bright yellow on the walls- end result is seriously stunning. This project meant a lot for us because it brought together this sense of community, I mean the kids who lived in this neighborhood and their parents even just started to grab a paintbrush and paint with us! It was a lot of hard work, but so rewarding to see the difference we got to make just from this simple act. Also- we can’t get over how friendly and loving everyone here is, it just constantly continues to amaze us.
Following the park, we had lunch and then headed to Santa Domingo (the capital of the D.R! side note- we’ve been saying “the capital” instead of the name of the city all week and every single one of us kept thinking we were a part of the hunger games or something). The first thing we did was try a bunch of different chocolates in a little store and lemme tell ya- that was an experience like no other. We tried 100% chocolate which is the most bitter thing and seeing everyone’s faces and their reactions to it was hilarious. After that we walked around a bit and there was a giant swarm of pigeons. The brave ones (everyone except Tristan, Madison S. and Shaby) walked straight up to the birds, opened up their arms, and let them fly onto them. We have some pretty funny pictures of that to show y’all when we get home. Correction- really funny. And then we went to see a beautiful historic church older than any building in the U.S. so that was really cool to see for all of us. We got to shop around a bit too and bought some souvenirs while putting our bargaining skills to use (900 pesos? oh no way, I’ll do 300 max).
After that we headed to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and ate family style! It was Kat’s first time ever eating Chinese food, shoutout to her for being so brave, even with that sesame “chicken” and Heather’s song (parents it’s an inside joke, sorry). But seriously, such good food. And then we went to a French pastry shop, yum. Just so much yum.
We ended night 4 with a game of fishbowl and bonding with our group. It was so much fun but it was also bittersweet at it was Jody and Perla (our awesome Appleseed hosts) last nights in the Dominican with us.
Okay now, day 5.
We started off the morning by finishing up with the park and goodness it’s stunning now. Then we drove over to the orphanage to hang out with the bread of life kiddos again. They were just a bundle of joy, as usual, but today in particular. One little girl, Alejandra, started playing a hand game with Anna and Sydney but slowly more and more girls joined in and by the end it was almost all of us playing. We were laughing so much and really loved the games they were teaching us how to play, it felt like friendships with these girls were just getting stronger and stronger, so it was a tough moment when we had to say goodbye for a while.
After the bread of life and some lunch at home, we headed to the refugee center to do the wellness clinic we were unable to do a couple of days ago. This was such a rewarding experience. We had people from all of the camp lined up so that we could help them with their illnesses and boy was there a line. I think that this especially appealed to our pre-med students and was an eye opening opportunity.
Following that, we went back to the orphanage to pick up the girls and take them out to ice cream! Those girls are so genuine and sweet, and although we had so much fun with them, it was really hard to say goodbye. They impacted our lives much more than they’ll ever know.
And then we went home, ate some dinner, and called it a night after reflecting about our day.
Sad to see how close we are to the end of this trip, but as always, loving the changes it’s making on our hearts in just a short amount of time,
And that’s a wrap for day 4 & 5,