It has been a little over a week since I have been home, and to be honest the first couple of days were rough. Having gone from waking up at 6:30am every weekday to returning around 5pm I felt awkward being home. It was so quiet and there wasn’t much to do. Not being around my classmates and the DR Mission Team I did find myself getting a little emotional because those ten days was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I wish we could’ve stayed another week! Being in the Dominican and knowing that you are making a difference, even if it is the smallest, the Haitian communities were so thankful that you would always find yourself smiling. Just like Melissa said at the last meeting, she was full of joy; I can say the same and I bet others can too. It was hard leaving the Dominican knowing that it may be a few months or another year until some of us can make this trip again, but it will be worth it.
Being apart of the Teaching/Food/Evangelism team we had the opportunity to travel to many different Batey’s and interact with a great number of people. One of my favorite moments had to have been sharing the love of soccer/futbol with kids from Batey 30 and 35. In the first Batey the kids were young and just enjoyed being there and being able to kick a ball. Their laughter was so contagious and seeing their smiles widening from ear to ear. You could not help but feel connected to them from just a simple game. It was the same with Batey 35. The field we played on was full of cows and manure, but that did not stop the group of kids around our age from playing. They were good too. From the “trash-talking” that was occurring in Spanish between both teams, you could tell it was all in good fun. Everyone was laughing and I could not help but smile. Also being five-feet and playing with guys that were about a foot taller, they had their advantage but us girls held our own. One girl who was only a few inches taller than I was had scored the majority of our teams goals. A young boy who was small and skinny played amazing defense! He held his position against men that were at least 6-10 years older than him! But what I loved the most during these two games was that the differences that people would normally see between us as Americans and them being Haitians was non-existent. The love of soccer had brought us all together, and all of our differences had disappeared. Nothing else mattered but trying to get that ball in the make shift “goals” and just having a good time. That is what I loved most. Although there were so many differences that define the two groups, there was always something similar each one of us could find with someone in the Batey. There is always something that can connect every one of us.
I met an amazing group of people in the Dominican Republic, not only from the Batey communities but also from the group of Americans that the QU301 class traveled with. Being able to tell people about the stories from the meetings, and about what my classmates and I did while in the DR is something that will always put a smile on my face. Honestly, one time will not be enough. Having asked some of my classmates about whether they’d return for a second time, the answer was all the same. We all cannot wait to be able to take our second trip… I think it is safe to say that this trip will only get bigger and the stories will be even better (hashtag DRMT15?). I will be forever grateful for the experience this trip brought me! #DRMT14 #qu301dr