Major: Integrated Supply Management
Business and Culture in the Dominican Republic
Summer I, 2017
I think the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw has the perfect message for everyone, especially when you are traveling abroad to places that are less well off than your own country. Traveling to the Dominican Republic has constantly reminded me to do just that. As Americans, I think we often think of our country as the only country around other than the countries where we like to vacation. We need to remember that it’s not just us in this world. There are so many developing countries and even developed countries that are still struggling to give their people a safe way of living, whether that is water, food, pollution, safety, etc. As a human being who can positively say that I have all of those things, it makes me that much more aware of how lucky I am to have those simple things that we take for granted in the United States.
On May 11th we had the opportunity to do a service project where we engaged with the community in Santo Domingo. We brightened up Escuela La Malvinas II (a school) with murals that we painted with the children that attended the school. Before arriving to the school we were able to walk down to the local river and see how polluted the water was that surrounds their community. It was beautiful yet tragic. It breaks my heart to see that they don’t have safe drinking water due to waste and pollution because they don’t have anywhere else to put their garbage. After the trip to the river we walked through the community. Again, it was beautiful yet tragic. Their houses and building were worn down and some were crumbling, yet they were still so colorful and full of life. We were told there was 150,000 families living in the tiny community. As we were walking through the little town I couldn’t help but capture their life on my camera. I feel like everyone should see the way others are living in this world so we can gain perspective on life outside our own. Soon enough, we had reached the small school we would be helping to revamp. They were all so welcoming and their hearts felt pure and untainted by greediness. They were clearly so thankful for the things they had and were so happy to see us. It was an amazing experience to be able to connect with the children despite the language barrier. As soon as we started painting their hands and putting hand prints on the walls you could tell they were excited and so happy. We let them choose the kinds of things they wanted to paint on their school walls because after all, it is their school and they will see if everyday. We handed the kids pencils and they went to town drawing anything and everything: from trucks and cars to castles and flowers they got to work on sketching out their masterpieces. Honestly, a lot of them did a better job than I could have. I can color in the lines and that’s what I did. We helped their drawings and imaginations come to life. The once yellow walls were soon covered in every color we could come up with.
The students from Western and the students from Escuela La Malvinas II had created a masterpiece in a matter of a few hours. We took pictures, smiled, and laughed a lot. We genuinely enjoyed our short time together. The kids were all so adorable that by the end my heart was a puddle. This is an experience I will never forget and I am so thankful we were able to help out in such a simple way. Remember, always stay humble and kind. You never know what people are going through or how they are living. Lend a helping hand whenever you are able to, you won’t regret it. Something that seems so simple to you can mean the world to someone else.