Student News

Dominican Republic #4: A Rewarding First Day

Paulina Baltazar – June 3, 2019

Kailen Coelho ’20 and Tripp Hindle ’21 describe a first day of hard work and making new friendships.


Day 1 in the books and to say I am exhausted would be an understatement. But it’s the best kind of exhaustion because I am so proud of how hard we worked as a team, and of how much we were able to get done in just one day. The work we do is definitely tough but it is an incredible feeling to know how much of a difference we are making in this family’s life with each brick we stack or each bucket we fill with concrete. Despite the sore muscles, cuts on my arms, and destroyed clothing, today was one of the most rewarding days of my life and I am so excited to make more progress on this house!

Overall, it’s already been a great trip with such great people! None of us were that close before this trip but we’ve all really bonded as a team in the few short days that we’ve spent together. My roommates, Lucy and Emma, and I have barely spoken all year, but last night we pushed our 3 beds together to make a “megabed” and stayed up telling stories until 2:00 am. Currently, as I’m writing this blog, all 9 girls are scattered across the megabed eating fruit snacks and recovering from our workday. I am super thankful for the friendships I’ve already gotten from this trip and can’t wait to bond more with our team.

Speaking of friendships, today at the work site, I was filling buckets of concrete from a wheel barrel with Miguel, an 8 year old boy from the local village. In the hour and a half of us shoveling concrete into buckets, Miguel and I really started to bond over our aching backs and messy clothing. When no one was looking we’d splash each other with concrete and throw rocks to see who had the strongest arm. Although I was covered in concrete and could barely lift my arms by the end, the smile on Miguel’s face while we worked together all day made it all worth it.


Having done work like this before, I thought I knew what to expect. However, now that the first day of work is done I can honestly say that this is the hardest work that my passion for service has ever put me through. In this blog or entry I will not tell you about the work that I have done or will do because I feel that is what everyone else will write about. I will tell you about my new amigos that I met today through my passion for baseball.

The Dominican Republic is one of the most well known countries for baseball. For instance the New York Yankees just drafted a 16 year old recruit into their farm league system. Today, I got to see this raw talent for myself. I speak very little Spanish and so in the beginning it was hard for me to talk to this boy. However, I found out that he was 11 years old and was a pitcher for his town team. He threw the baseball harder than any other 11 year old I have ever met from the left side, meaning he was left handed. This experience with this boy was really quite eye opening because it taught me that I do not need to know Spanish in order to communicate and share my love for baseball. While this whole game of catch was going on, my trip mates were hard at work lifting and stacking bricks, so reflecting on it I kinda felt bad. This is just one of the few memories and stories that I hope to make on this trip and today I can say was a great start to my time here in the D.R.