By now you’re back to your normal lives. Back to your routines, friends, extracurriculars, some of you
may even be busy scouting out colleges. We hope you are all well and keeping yourselves occupied with
the pursuit of bettering yourselves, but we hope you can take 5 minutes to read this letter and reflect on
the wonderful, life-changing experience we all shared not so long ago… or was it? Take yourself back to
that place with the turquoise waters, breezy palms, wandering cows, and giggling kiddos, and know that
you have forever left a beautiful imprint there.
You all changed lives and that is the simple truth. The community center in NY Chiquito is nearly
finished and holds the promise of community meetings, pop-up health clinics, weddings, and good ol’
neighborly bonding. The 40,000 bottles will continue to insulate those walls and hold in the laughter and
conversations of both Dominicans and Haitians. As for Cano Dulce, the banana plants are continuing to
take hold! Some are even sprouting baby bananers. That community is particularly close-knit and there is
no doubt that the benefits reaped from our efforts will be shared with every household.
As well, the latrine is in use and has undoubtedly increased the standard of living for the family of that home. We are so so proud of you guys. Honestly, our hearts are glowing even reminiscing on all the hard work you put in.
We know that you changed the lives of local community members here, but as just as importantly, that
they changed yours. It is our hope that as you continue on your dedicated paths, as you take courses in
high school and college, you won’t just hear a statistic but feel something at the memory of the people
you met. That the next time you hear a statistic about access to fresh water you’ll remember our little
amigos living on the polluted mangroves. Or the next time you hear a statistic about access to education
you’ll think of the struggle walking up Brison. Whether you remember Mari who cooked your meals
everyday, the bus driver’s who drove you across the country, all of the children who befriended us, or
Johnny and his honey bees, every single person is a part of this story. A part of your story.
Of course, we can’t talk about being impacted by people and neglect to mention the connections you
made within this group! You shared every minute of your day with 28 other people for nearly a month.
What an accomplishment. You laughed together, to the point of tears, and shared heartfelt moments
together, to the point of tears. We felt honored to watch 29 previously unconnected kids, develop over
time, this strange and lovely little family. Complete with fighting each other for the last pancake, as any
true family would. You now have friends spanning all of over the States and beyond (yes we’re talking
about you Hugo and Camile), and who knows when you may have that next planned, or even better
unplanned, reunion. We love you all and hope you never forget your summer of 2018 as a BSW student.
Special moments from our trip:
-Rapping to Usher and Nelly throwbacks on Jaime’s bus.
-Having strangely delicious gas station meals.
-Playing tag with the NY Chiquito kids.
-Witnessing Cole’s breakthrough music debut.
-Sarah doing the worm on the floor and injuring her chin.
-Dorley feeding us fresh cocao (did we ever get a real spelling of that kid’s name?!)
-Has finding the best cane that’s ever existed, and getting it through airport security.
-Luke and Gunnar’s risky hairstyle choices.
-Body surfing and inherent wipeouts at Playa Preciosa.
-Discovering 27,849 tarantulas as well as the spider fiasco of 2018 in the girls dorm.
-Dancing in the rain at NY Chiquito.
-Staff jumping, or being pushed, into the pool fully clothed.
-Hugo discovering his long lost son Ernie.
Jax, Lisa, Sarah, Emily, and Walter