“To travel is to take a journey into yourself”
When I first heard the words “mission trip in the Dominican Republic”, I am not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical. I was unsure of what to expect in the Bateyes and not sure how the people there would respond. I had heard some stories but a part of me was definitely a little nervous when arriving to the work site on the first Saturday morning. But, I am here to tell you that my nerves and skepticism had completely subsided the second I stepped off the bus onto Batey La Papita.
I was placed on the construction team at Batey La Papita. The day started with a quick 5-minute tour, yes, this was of the entire Batey. To my surprise, many of the children were confused and curious so they had followed close behind for the remainder of the day. As the days continued at La Papita, each day felt better than the last, which I didn’t think was even possible. The children were getting more comfortable with each of us and grabbing my hand any chance they could. I was amazed to see how truly eager and excited they all were for us to be there.
My excitement only continued to rise at Batey 50. My mind keeps going back to one day and one child in particular. His name is Julian and he has the most uplifting personality. He ran over to me and had the biggest smile on his face that I could not help but pick him up. Immediately after this, he continuously wanted to be flipped upside down (for what could have been hours) and tickled. Despite the hardships this little boy faced day-to-day, I admired him for his big smile and contagious laughter.
It’s true when people say that experiences like this change you forever. We were able to give to people who truly needed it and along the way, without even realizing, the people of the Bateyes gave back to me. They gave me a new way of seeing and thinking. These people who live in harsh conditions, with barely any food or water, were some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I learned new things about myself through out this journey and I owe that all to the people of the Bateyes. The families and children left marks on my heart and memory that I took with me the day that we left.
So, if you ever find yourself in the situation of whether or not to travel somewhere in the world, I recommend that you do it. I recommend that you take the journey, take the journey into yourself because the reward can be worth so much more than you imagined possible.