MSSM Dominican Republic
¡Que lo que! MSSM’s Dominican Republic Immersion & Service J-Term returned to the United States Thursday after spending 10 days in the D.R. Our group partnered with local non-profits in the to help with service projects, teach English classes at a local elementary school, and fully experience Dominican culture.
Based out of our “home base” (rented house) in Cotuí, our group traveled each day by “guagua” (van) to work on the construction of a new home for a family in an impoverished neighborhood. While this was going on, two students would stay back at home base with our hosts to cook, clean, and grocery shop for the next day, with another pair of students heading to the school to teach classes. Over the course of the week, we transformed a wooden shack into a sturdy multi-room cinderblock house, hauling tons of “bloques” (cinderblocks) and “mezcla” (concrete) in “cubos” (buckets) in the process, and mastering the use of “palas, planos, y flotas” (tools) in the process!
We would typically work until lunch, and return to home base for lunch, showers, and afternoon activities. Some highlights include lessons in dominos (a fierce local pastime!), Dominican cooking, mask-making, and merengue, salsa, and bachata dance classes! We also took a scenic ferry to see caves used by the Taíno people (the original inhabitants of Hispaniola), had an incredible beach afternoon in Nagua, toured an organic cacao plantation,
and played lots of four square, béisbol, and chess with the neighborhood kids.
We returned to the US tanned, stronger, with better Spanish-speaking skills, and with a greater appreciation for things we might otherwise take for granted. Mr. Critchlow and Sra. Carson would like to thank our hosts Leyri, Santo, Santiago, and Magdelyn for their hospitality and for an incredible trip! Big thanks to our hardworking and flexible students and adaptable families as we made the eleventh-hour changes from the planned trip to Peru to this incredible experience!