Kate Palmer ’16 and Jackson Watson ’15 describe the group’s first full day of building.
What a brisk yet manageable morning it was today! We met at 7:30 for breakfast at the hotel. After bathing in sunscreen and bug spray we went off to work!
The goal for the day was to stack eleven rows of cinder blocks with mortar that would become the walls of the house. Under the sweltering sun we demonstrated teamwork by using assembly lines and working with the locals to construct the walls.
One of the most memorable things so far about this experience is the connection we are beginning to make with the Dominican people. In particular one boy named Jesus really made an impression on a few of our Deerfield group members. This young boy of thirteen really made an effort to exercise our Spanish ability and to get to know us, which united our group to the posse of volunteer Dominicans.
The family for whom we are building cooked a yummy lunch, and we sat together and took a well-deserved break. José, our guide and friend, found it quite amusing to pour water down our backs, drenching Ms Cabral. Completing our goal rather early — by 2:30pm, which José said was a record time for this first day — was a fantastic start to our building career!
We left the site, very sweaty and caked in mud, then refreshed ourselves in a shallow river on our way back to the hotel. After decompressing for a couple hours, we gathered as a group prior to dinner to reflect on our day and learn a little about the Dominican Republic’s history. Right now we are chilling out after a long exciting day together in one of the hotel rooms. Everyone has begun to bond and the rest of the trip looks promising.
Jackson and Kate