Emma Kimble ’20 and Regan Hoar ’20 express gratitude for the personal “growth” and “lasting relationships” created with the Lavapié community.
While I have never been the best Spanish speaker, at the Lavapié work site the language barrier that was initially a daunting obstacle to me disappeared before my eyes. Today, our group was split into two teams and tasked with filling both side rooms of our house with mountains of concrete. It was overwhelming, messy, and difficult, but I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun. Each one of us, Deerfield students or San Juan community members, joined together to make a seemingly impossible task a highly coveted one. It didn’t matter that I often couldn’t keep up with the rapid Spanish speaking of our friends at the site; we were a team.
It was not until that moment after the race, covered in sweat and wet concrete, laughing harder than I ever had, that I realized what an incredible gift this trip has been to me. I am often hesitant to admit when I am truly proud of the work I’ve done but throughout this trip I feel like I have grown in countless ways. Each one of us has pushed our limits and worked incredibly hard to build a home for Lina and her family. In the process, we’ve formed relationships to last a lifetime. I have gotten to know people I previously knew only in passing, forged connections with those I never expected to cross paths with, and grown to respect and love each member of this team. I’ll remember each person I have met here forever and I am so thankful for the opportunity to grow, learn, and help change the life of a family here in the Dominican Republic.
Immediately on the first day, I could tell that the people would be the most influential and memorable to my experience on this trip. Yes, the views are amazing and breathtaking, but these are the people that have been nothing but hospitable and grateful for what we are doing for them- creating a home.
A few hours into day one, A few little kids tugged on my shirt and soon brought me into a game of theirs, which consisted of stick fighting in the street. The following three days, we played around with a flat basketball and anything else we could find. I never had more fun playing with them. I soon realized how great the community is- they take advantage of any little thing they have and do not need more. They make the best of every situation. Even through the toughest parts of the workday, any kid or worker around the site had a smile on their face. We were constantly offered help with any job, food and juice, or just someone to talk to. For me, that is what made me so appreciative of being here. We are so lucky to be here to make an impact on this community’s life and form forever lasting relationships in our memories.