Already Planning My Trip Back

After being home for the past three days, I would give anything to be back in the DR spending my days in Bateye 50. This trip was the trip of a lifetime for me. I learned a lot about poverty but the most important thing I learned was about community and family. Bateye 50 showed such a strong sense of community, supporting each other by watching each other’s kids and taking care of each other. I learned from these incredible people that you don’t need a lot of material things to make people happy, you just need each other. The people that we helped had nothing and were starving; yet I was always greeted with smiles and children jumping on my back to play. They didn’t need material things to be happy; they needed our attention and support. On our second day in Bateye 50, I met eight-year-old Daniella, who was full of joy. Daniella and I went to the Church to play with the other children. They were writing thank you letters to their parents, and Daniella wrote her letter for me. I had known this little girl for only about an hour and already we had a strong connection.

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These children taught me that it doesn’t take much to live a happy life and to not take things so seriously. These people have faith that one-day they will move off the Bateye and be successful. I met Gloria and Josalina, two 17-year old girls with high hopes for themselves. Gloria wants to be a teacher and Josalina a nurse. The pride I felt for my new friends when they told me their aspirations was huge. As Americans, we want the most for these people, but to see that they had plans for their future excited me. The four days spent in Bateye 50 flew by, which I knew was going to happen, but I didn’t expect it to be that quick!

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Another highlight of our trip was going to the Good Samaritan Hospital. The work that hospital does for the people living in the Bateyes that are in need of medical care is heartwarming. I was so amazed by the hospital that I am strongly considering moving down to the DR for a year to gain experience before I further my education. I would say that this trip was life changing for me as I learned a lot about myself and the life I live through this trip. I made so many good friends on this trip, not only on the Bateyes, but in our class as well. I would not have wanted to experience this trip with anybody else and am so grateful to have had the privilege of getting to experience this!

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-Sarah Raphaelson

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