Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
The team of 17 students, 10 parents, and two teachers arrived safely to the Dominican Republic after a long, and eventful, day of traveling. The team had an unexpected pit stop in New Orleans due to heavy fog in Miami. Luckily everything was delayed out of Miami so the team was able to make their connecting flight to the Dominican.
The first day at the foundation was a day of preparation, bonding, and eye opening experiences. A youth baseball league was playing a game on the infamous “Field of Dreams”. Manny Mota quickly got word that student, Gavin Vogel, played 2nd base for his baseball team and was thrown into the game with the rest of the Dominican boys.
Students, parents, and teachers unloaded all of the donations that were brought or shipped, and prepared care packages for their trip to Azua tomorrow. Azua is where Manny’s wife, Margarite grew up, about an hour and a half drive from the capital.
The students quickly learned the language of love as they developed relationships with the Dominican children, quickly bonding through piggy back rides, playing catch, and thumb war. Student Jacob Beltran became the “piggy back master”.
The team took a walk down to “the river” where most of the students from the foundation live. Student Natalie Laszlo commented, “I don’t understand how people can live like this? I feel bad and want to help, but I also feel grateful for what I have”.
Teachers, Mr. Gaines and Miss Rychen wanted to visit a house where they prayed for a woman last year who had breast cancer, but found out she had passed away shortly after the January team left last year. However, the pain medication that parent, Dr. Susan Sette, was able to get for her helped ease the pain her last few weeks.
Mr. Gaines was also able to visit and elderly man who was sick when the November team was there. In November, Dr. Metyas was able to clean a leg wound he has and help stabilize his diabetes. Mr. Gaines was happy to see this man was doing much better and his leg was healed and his diabetes was under control.
Student, Miracle Morrison reflected at the end of the night just how grateful and excited she was to be here. “I’ve watched videos and heard about this trip since I was in 1st grade. It’s finally my turn to serve the people in the DR!”
Day one. Wow. What a day. After waking up at 7:00am and having an amazing breakfast, the group drove to The Manny Mota Foundation in El Tamarindo. We got off the bus and immediately started to play with the kids at the foundation. I don’t know how many caballo (piggy back rides) rides I gave. The kids were so happy and full of energy. Then a man cut open a bunch of coconuts for us to eat and drink. They were sooooo good! After a flavorful and delicious lunch, the team took a tour of El Tamarindo. I’m really glad we came to help in the DR. It was impacting to see all that was going on. I can’t imagine what amazing experiences the other days will hold.
Today is a day that I will never forget. We had the amazing opportunity to go to the Manny Mota Foundation and we got to take a tour of El Tamarindo. The kids there are so happy even though they do not have much. We were able to play with kids and organize all the donations we sent. We went to the houses and asked them what they needed. We are taking them the things they needed later this week and I can not wait to see what God has in store for us on the rest of our trip.
This trip has been the greatest trip of my life. Something that is unforgettable. After waking up at 7:00 we went to eat a good breakfast. Then we went on the bus after eating then headed to the Many Mota foundation in El Tamarindo to then play with kids there. They were all great and filled with joy. The amount of piggyback rides I gave was uncountable. After all of the joy we had spending time with the kids the hard part came. We went on a tour around the village just looking at how the people live and it was eye opening. There were kids with no clothes on and barely even a house. It showed me not to complain about my phone, computer, or anything. I have what most of these kids wish they had and can’t wait to see what God has to show me next.