A Fantastic and life changing trip to the Dominican Republic

March 31, 2008 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

The following is a reflection by one of the recent students in a University of Vermont service-learning course to the Dominican Republic led by McKew Devitt of the Romance Languages Department.

The trip to the Dominican Republic this March was something that we — those who participated — will remember for the rest of our lives. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my spring break. Not only was this trip a boatload of fun, it was an extreme eye opener to the problems that are occurring not only in the Dominican, but all around the world today. We saw poverty in the shape of shantytowns that were like nothing I had ever seen in the United States, kids with snot running down their faces, and we saw shameless discrimination against Haitians that creates a lot of the tension within the country today. But we also saw a lot of really cool things happening, especially on Batey Libertad. While building a house and working in the community garden, I was so impressed with everyone working together to accomplish a common goal. Kids worked alongside adults, Haitians and Dominicans worked alongside us students, and everybody was helping and communicating with each other, even if there was a language barrier. I believe these projects were the most important things we did on the Batey because it allowed us to really connect with the people who live there, and gave us the opportunity to get to know their culture and lifestyles.

At the end of the trip, I had gained a great appreciation for the people of Batey Libertad. Although they have to deal with much harsher living conditions and they don’t have many possessions, these people never cease to have a large smile on their face. They are extremely welcoming and were always willing to give us a hand with different projects. It really gave me a sense of community, and made me feel good to be working with them. I believe that our culture could really learn from theirs.

Overall, the trip was the most amazing trip I’ve ever been on. I really hope to continue being involved with the Batey Libertad community, and to keep lifelong connections with the people in the Dominican Republic.

~ E. Claire Goodwin, Class of 2011

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Entry filed under: University of Vermont.

Dr. Jim Fisk volunteers at Batey Libertad! March 2008 UVM service-learning trip

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