Monday, April 3, 2017

La Republica Dominicana: MOVE's Service Trip to the Dominican Republic

Over Spring Break I had the opportunity to lead MOVE's Service Trip to the Dominican Republic or La República Dominicana. Every Spring Break MOVE sends a group of students and faculty down to the Dominican Republic to work with an organization called ADESJO in one of the many villages that they work with in the province of San Jose de Ocoa.
The whole St. Mike's crew with the members of ADESJO
This year we went to the small mountainous village of Los Corozos to help build a house for a family in the community. Luckily for me, this was the same village that I went to last year with MOVE so I was able to to see all of the wonderful people from last year. Los Corozos is a small farming village about 2 hours outside of the city of San Jose de Ocoa. These people mainly make a living off of farming and raising livestock but unfortunately times are tough down there thanks to a drought that the Dominican people have faced over the past few years.
One of the many farms in Los Corozos
The group that we brought down this year is the largest group, 13 students including myself, that we have ever brought down to the DR. The only other guys on the trip happened to be some of my teammates from the St. Mike's soccer team. Unlike the domestic service trips through MOVE, our group met every week from November until the week we left for the DR. During these meetings we would cover everything from basic Spanish phrases to what life is like in the Dominican.

Originally we were all supposed to fly out of Burlington together on Saturday March 11th but due to weather we had to split the group up into two groups, one flying out of Albany on Saturday and the next flying from Albany on Sunday the 12th. Our faculty leader Allison Cleary would take the first group on Saturday and I would take the second group on Sunday. This meant that I had to bring everyone through Customs and all that by myself.

Finally we met with ADESJO in the Santo Domingo airport before heading up to San Jose de Ocoa. The next day, my group work up, ate breakfast and jumped in the back of an ADESJO van and headed up to Los Corozos. Once we met up with the rest of our group we got settled in and then went off to the work site to get started on the house. Our first job was to dig out the foundation with pick axes and shovels. Unfortunately for me I am still suffering from my back injury so I was unable to do a lot of the hard work. There were days that I would go from house to house and help shell guandules beans with the families.
This is the village leader in Los Corozos Rafael 

Hanging out with the kids while waiting for a delivery of supplies

The "bromigos"hanging out on the worksite

Some of the group enjoying the view that our house for the week had to offer

When we weren't working we were playing with the kids of the village and then at night we would go and dance with everyone. The kids loved to play volleyball and a few times they set up a big net for us to play with. They also loved to play baseball and make bracelets so there was no shortage of things to do.

It was awesome to have the opportunity to go back to Los Corozos again this year. The relationships that I have formed with all of these people are some that I will always hold dear to me.
Aaron and I were able to enjoy a fresh coconut while enjoying the view in Santo Domingo before catching our flight back to the US.
I hope you enjoyed learning about my trip to the DR. If you want to hear more about my trip feel free to hit me up through email or one of my social media accounts. You can also get more information about the service trips in general does by checking MOVE out.

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