Student News

Dominican Republic #8: Home

Heather Brown – June 9, 2018

Trip leaders Kris Loftus and Erin Hutchinson share the group’s final reflections from a week in the Dominican Republic!

It has been an absolutely amazing week.  The students on our team have surpassed all our expectations.  Not only have they worked hard to build a house in 5 days, but they never complained, and have been open to exploring human behavior and motivation for that behavior by studying Maslow’s Hierarchy.  While their basic physiological needs have been met this week, we have experienced various manifestations of our safety and belonging needs while being the DR.  Our host, Jose of Cambiando Vidas has been fantastic as a leader and a tour guide. Our new family members, Andreas, Francis and Leidy Mateo welcomed us with open arms, and we will miss them terribly.

After exploring Santo Domingo, each member of the team shared highlights from the week:

Jeffrey saw the big picture by realizing we actually built a house, and he was seen as the welcome comic relief for the group who always brightened our days.

Hunter thoroughly enjoyed being in the presence of the kids and family and was acknowledged for having such positive interactions with them.

Chris will always remember swinging 16 times at bat during our baseball game and not hitting the ball; the group felt he knew how to lighten the mood without trying.

Cameron loved the home cooked food at the worksite and everywhere we ate; it was clear that she had a big impact on the children of the community (especially with her hand games).

Mimi loved seeing Andreas’s smiling face each day and holding the card we gave him to his heart since she felt this indicated our lasting effect on him; the group acknowledged her inclusivity within this group since she was a good friend to all.

Annabel felt last night’s key ceremony was physical proof of how strong the bonds are in community, and we will never forget her amazing Karaoke performance!

Austin was moved when Andreas would tap his chest or put his hand over his heart, which to Austin meant we were so special to him and he cherished us; Austin was recognized as a leader in the group and someone to go to for help.

Liz will never forget catching a long hit to center field during the baseball game; she was acknowledged for making connections with the kids and people of the community despite having a limited Spanish vocabulary.

Nolan shared one moment when a local Haitian boy joined him and Austin on the porch of our half-built house since he felt this encompassed the outgoingness of the community.  Nolan was given kudos for his dance moves!

Maggie reflected on the key ceremony, which she felt was a testament to how much the community members care about each other, and she loved the dancing with all ages.  Maggie was praised for balancing her strong work ethic and finding time to spend with the children.

Seth enjoyed how much fun the community had this week with us and how efficient everyone worked together while living in the moment; he was acknowledged for being willing to try things, “I’m game.”

Mrs. Hutchinson was proud of facing her fears of using some rusty Spanish as well as a fear of heights; she was recognized by Jose for being a work horse and always helping to get things done.

Jose was pleased with how efficient we worked as a team and the baseball game that his team won (not really).

Mrs. Loftus was blessed with an amazing group of people with whom to spend the very last of her Deerfield Days.