After being back home for about a week since our Qu301 trip the Dominican Republic, I still find myself adjusting to the American lifestyle. I find myself questioning my luck and how I am living in my house, with clean, drinkable water, driving a car and eating three meals a day; while out there in the world, there are people who are starving, struggling to feed their families, living day by day for survival. It is crazy to think that just a short plane ride away there are people living in these conditions. When I returned home, we had a family party at my house that Saturday, and all of my relatives asked me how was my trip, what was it like, were you scared at all and would I go back. Being home for only 3 days , I told them that at that point, it felt like an out of body experience- it was unreal what I experienced, and hard to put into words, but that I would go back in a heartbeat.
There was one story that I told my aunt during the party that I saw during the New Year’s day celebration in Batey 50 that brought tears to hear eyes immediately. During huge buffet lunch that we had in the school yard, I saw a young girl around 9-10 years old, who was done eating. She found an extra paper plate, covered her leftover food, and passed it under the fence of the yard to an older woman, presumably her grandmother. This small act truly proves the character of the people living in the Bateyes, and the hunger that these people are currently facing. When we arrived at the Batey, John had told us that we will all be having a different experience than other trips; because of the bad sugar cane season, there was less crop production, causing the workers to make less, and hunger to strike throughout the small village. Just this one example that I saw showed me how much help is needed in the this Batey and for these people. My reaction to this one example has heightened even more since telling my story to my friends and family members- and that is just one story.
Some children enjoying their lunch on New Year’s Day
This trip has truly impacted my everyday life, in small ways. I always think twice about the water that I drink, and the excess food that I make. I drink from the tap a lot more now than I did before the trip (grateful for not having to worry about swallowing some of the water during the shower). Just this past week, I saw that my mom had in the cabinet Domino confectioner sugar, and I got upset that she had supported this company, that is creating these terrible living conditions for these Batey villagers. But then again, if we didn’t purchase from this company, what would happen to all of these workers and their families? It is a tough concept that I am still trying to wrap my head around.
Sugar cane workers returning home from work, Batey El Salado
In the future, I hope to help with the DR mission team on their trips to help as a physician assistant working in the clinics or hospital performing surgeries at the Hospital El Buen Samaritano. Moses has such an amazing spirit, and I hope to help him and the hospital in anyway possible when I get older. I also hope to sponsor a child to go to the Joe Hartman School as well, thinking about how when I have children (in the way way future, don’t worry mom) that with each child I have I will sponsor a child to go to school there, and maybe one day my kids can meet the child that we sponsor to go to school, making a special bond between the two children. There is so much that I want to do to help these wonderful people in the Batey, and the people who live in the Dominican Republic who help them year round each and every day; I hope by telling my stories to people it will help to raise awareness and inspire more people to help, and maybe even go on the next QU 301 trip to the DR!
“Only a life lived for others is a life worth living” – Albert Einstein