And a hush goes over the crowd…
Now that you’re all back at home in your various hometowns in the States (and Austria!), we wanted to remember all of the times we shared in the Dominican Republic in the summer of ‘17.
Y’all came together as a group so quickly, immediately having incredibly deep conversations — and snuggling — on the bus down to Barahona. Your excitement to meet one another and start your adventure together was a great beginning to our trip.
During our time in Barahona, y’all worked so hard at our various worksites. You powered through mixing batch after batch of cement, applying the empañeta to the walls, painting on shoulders in a river and working with the group favorite: oil-based paint. And who could forget how much everyone (especially the girls) enjoyed watching Jose Luis (also known as Pepper) and Billy while they worked?
Helio became Jose Luis’ right-hand man with applying the smooth cement, Sophie and Cate were the smoothers/spongers and Ashley was the queen of the oil paint. Julia, Kiana and Garren were always on ladders (or crates) painting, while Sandra and Andrew shoveled cement and cleaned the floor. Adri and Stephen could always be found cleaning all the tools at the end of day.
While we made a tangible contribution to the Cocos de Abajo community by completing the new schoolroom, you also made amazing connections to the community members. We learned to dance bachata in the school; Dommie, Eliana and Martin got to practice in front of everyone, while we found out later that Bess was hiding her dembow skills. (Speaking of dembow, remember when Luke finally found out the name of the “bom bom bom” song?) Jojo made best friends with all the kids in the community, Zoe hustled people playing dominoes and Chazen loved the bags of water and shared them with everyone. You’ll certainly be remembered in that community for years to come.
Everyone got to experience the tiny community of Cachote, on top of a mountain in a cloud forest. You helped build a brand new water tank and repaired others during the day and talked around the campfire at night. We learned a lot about everyone and had a chance to try “campfire cake”, which got mixed reviews. Yael and Billie loved the cake and made friends with a man who was entertained by them eating it with their fingers. Carrie and Ena made friends with the community children, catching fireflies and playing hand games. Carrie even earned herself a nickname: Chinola.
We also got to visit Bahía de las Águilas, ride on a boat and snorkel in crystal clear water. We buried our community friend, Francisco, in the sand and played water games with him and Joel.
Our Dominican Republic adventure was one of impact and fun, of learning and silliness. We made an incredible, sustainable impact on the communities we worked in and you made amazing friendships along the way.
Everyone say “wow” on three,
-Madison and the Barahona crew