You never realize how much you have until you see someone who has very little. I got to really see that when i got to go to the Dominican Republic. It was a great experience not just to see the historic places and the perfect blue ocean like the ones you see in pictures but also to help the people over there in need. The people there were really cool and i learned a lot from the from them and their culture. Even though we had lots of problems at the airports and when we arrived, we still had a lot of fun and it really made me realize how much i have.
It’s day one and a group of us from church met at the church and we headed to the irport. Our plan was to go to Santo Domingo then get a ride from a group of people that work with a camp that helps kids and help them out. Our planned route of travel was first to San Francisco, then we take a another plane to New York city, and finally taking another plane to Santo Domingo. We left during the fourth of july and as we flew to San Francisco we got to see fireworks in the sky and it lit up the clouds turning the into different colors and the night was lit up with color.
When we got to the airport we had a two hour break to eat and i eat a burger with ome fries in the cafeteria. After we got onto the plane to New York City and it was eight o’clock at night so our leader recommended some rest as we flew, which i soon realize was harder than i expected and i ended not sleeping at all because of the rough flight through the middle of the country. When the pilot said we made it to New York it was about five in the morning and we got to see the Statue of Liberty as it shinned of the purple and orange sunrise.
When our plane landed we had realized that our plane to Santo Domingo was about to leave so we had to sprint o the next terminal and hoped that they put our luggage in the plane. We got to the terminal we saw the plane which was a small plane and we boarded it and right when we got in the closed the doors and we flew to Santo Domingo. As day two kicked in from the plane ride from new york we finally got to Santo Domingo and were able to see about half the island by air and it looked really cool. We landed at eleven o’clock and waited for our ride.
As they got here we got to meet them, the driver has a big man that only spoke spanish, the next person that was part of our group was a girl from washington hat volunteered to help for a year and she was our translator, the last person that was with out group was was another man that only spoke spanish and was really good with the guitar and will become a great friend as the week went on. They all came in a bus that looked like it was from the 80’s and we were planned to head for a kids camp in the mountains but something happened and we had to find a new location to stay the night.
As the week went on i had to learn to be flexible because so many things could happen that you don’t expect but you just got to keep going and and find another way. Our group found a hotel that we were able to stay for a night and on that night there was a scheduled wedding to take place that night and i got little sleep from all the loud music so i just was up enjoying the no air conditioning and the humidity. I never thought humidity was that bad in islands during that time and learned that i was wrong because you sweat all day and night, even in the shower, and you get dehydrated really fast.
The next day we woke up and ate breakfast and went over the plan of the day and how we were going to the kids camp to help out on whatever they need. So we drove three hours to the camp and riding in cars in another country is like riding in a race car because in the Dominican Republic speed limits are only a suggestion and when we got to the mountains we i was afraid we were gonna slide off because the driver is going eighty miles a hour on a turn with no rails. When we finally got to the camp we got a little breather from the insane drive up and to drink water.
I remember the smell of the forest because there were so many tropical flowers and it gave a good scent while. The owners showed us the place we were gonna stay for a week nd of course there was no air conditioning, Concrete walls, wooden windows and a loose door, and the roof was just sheets of metal laid on top of each other, which was really scary because the wind over there could be really high and it feels like all that metal was gonna fall on top of you, and we put all our stuff in there and headed back up to the camp.
As we walked back to the camp there were about fifty kids all looking at us and smiling and half of us went to the church there to help out setting things up and we were tasked to keep them entertained till they were ready. So we ended up playing soccer on a little field they had next to the entrance and it was a lot of fun. After that we had lunch and the food was really good. It was fried plantains with rice and beans and i really liked it because it was almost identical and it reminded me of home.
As we enjoyed lunch the other group led the kids to the church and they had a service there. It was about seven at night and when the service ended the leaders sent the kids to bed and we headed to our concrete cabins and as we were about to go to bed we hear screams from the girl cabins and we rushed there to see what was going on. The girls came and told us there were two tarantulas chillin in there cabin and when we saw them they were huge, as big as my hand, and we did not know what to do because none of us wanted to get near those things.
We called the leader over and he just says that there common in this area and he gets a boot and smashes both of them like nothing and we slowly went back to bed after he scoped them up and threw them outside and we were all a little dramatized that night hoping there were no more in the area. The next two days we used the camp as our headquarters and in each day we traveled o a new village and had fun with the kids there and the leaders told us that they just wanna make the kids feel good and give hope to them because a lot has happened in there lives that normally doesn’t happen in america.
I will always remember how the villages looked and how the people reacted when they saw us because the people were so happy and were so nice to each other like the whole island was there family and america is not like that. Me and a friend were dressed as clowns because the kids liked clowns and you could walk down the road and very person on that street will greet you and you would just feel welcomed and it was not because we were from america but showed passion to help them and the kids and they really like that because it gives the kids hope through all the stuff they went through.
Another interesting things was there villages were medium sized and there was one church in the middle of everyone and the homes were just shacks that had wooden walls with square holes for windows and roofs made of sheets of metal. One of the people who live there invites us to there house and thanked us for what we are doing and she gave us soda, which in that area was eally special because they were barely able to afford it.
On the second day in the other town, very similar to the first one, we did the same thing lie playing with the kids and praying with the people there and we were near some historic ruins so we got to see the spanish forts that were there and it is really cool on they are still there and some of the cannons were still left there to preserve the area. After we headed back to our concrete cabins for the last time and ended up finding huge cockroaches in my friend’s luggage and were so tired me and him just grabbed it nd left it outside for the night.
The second to last day of this amazing trip we got to go to a resort and the beach for the last day of us staying there. At the beach it smelt like salt water and you hear the ocean roar. The ocean was super blues and warm and there were coconut trees just outside the beach. We stayed there half the day and was a cool experience because our group is from arizona and there is little water there. The other half of the day we were at the resort and we played pool in the loft while we enjoyed the amazing air conditioning. I was glad we had air conditioning back nd i was not sweat for the first time of the week.
The last day we got our stuff and headed to the airports. Luckily we got a straight flight to arizona and we headed out right away. We went through security to get on the plane and i had braces at that time and every time i went under their metal detectors it would always beep and they searched me around five times even when i kept telling them it was my braces and then kind of let me go like they gave up which was weird but i accepted it because i wanted to go home. As we got closer to arizona there was a monsoon and the turbulence was insane.
It felt like a rollercoaster going through drops and at one moment i swear we were free falling for like two seconds because it felt we were falling out of the sky and when you looked out the window all you saw as grey because we were always in a thunder cloud. When we finally landed i knew i was never gonna take a plane again because i now hate flying from all that flying to and from the Dominican. When we got to arizona we had to go through security and they were pretty strict. They went through our luggages and they look at our passports.
They asked me uestions if i was a citizen and i just told them i have a passport that says i am so no need to ask which got them frustrated a bit but i was frustrated too because they take forever. We were at security for about one hour and a half. After the long interview and me proving i am a citizen i finally got to go home. Through this whole trip i realized you never know how much you have until you see someone with very little. I really learned that through all the things i saw when i helped out over there and i will never forget the experiences i had over there.