Build a School in the Dominican Republic
“We went to Caraballo to work on the Bottle School, which will be the biggest structure built using this technique in the world! It is such a cool thing to be a part of. We worked on making the walls by recycling used water bottles to fill them. Our favorite part was the people we worked with: Dominicans and Haitians of all ages from the area.”
– Kiana Duran, Georgie Exton, Reed Smith, and Rachel Vopni
GLA students who work on building the school may surprise locals – and even their own parents! – with their incredible work ethic and commitment to doing a structurally-sound job. But the people who are often most surprised at their skill and tirelessness are the students themselves. When projects have lasting impacts, and aren’t only bandage fixes to large societal issues, it’s amazing to see what these young leaders will do to carry out the project to completion.
“We constructed more of the bottle school walls and mixed cement to coat the outside of the bottle walls to make the building more durable. The mixing of the cement was harder than we expected, and as Cameron would say, it “gave us big guns.” After our filling lunch made by the locals, we visited the market in Ascension. The vendors sold beautiful bracelets and decadent artwork; however, it was very overwhelming because of the need of the families there, and their want for money and us to buy their products. Most of us felt empathetic towards the families who were working towards a better living.”
– Jade Paquette and Morgan Demboski
It’s the local children – truly – who benefit most from the compassion, generosity, and dedication of the Dominican Republic Beachside Service Adventure students. These GLA students instinctively understand that every bottle they build into the school, and every foundation they lay, is critical to the long-term success and vibrancy of the communities where they serve.
“Throughout the week we have been learning about differences in privilege: How Americans as a whole are on a completely different level of privilege compared to the Dominicans and Haitians. Working on a bottle community building today at Las Canas illustrated this difference.”
– Halle Mackert
Using all the bottles on-site is a sign of success. It may sound strange to outsiders that GLA students are using bottles to build a school, but reuse of products that would otherwise become waste and an environmental nuisance is a thoughtful way to contribute to these communities. With limited resources, turning old bottles into a productive learning environment is a great way to use readily available materials, and teaches GLA students the power of unconventional solutions to all-too-conventional problems.