DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRIP
We recently had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic with three families to build a home for a family in need under the organizations YWAM (Youth with a Mission/Homes of Hope). We flew from Newark to Punta Cana and then traveled by car to Juan Dolio. The build took place in a town called San Pedro.
Having never participated in a build prior to this one, we were not sure what to expect as we drove from our hotel to the build site. We traveled by bus, the site was around 15 minutes from our hotel. Two things stood our right away on the short trip to the build site. First & most importantly, the motorcycles & mopeds. It seemed that there were traffic laws in the DR, however, it was painfully obvious that they weren't always enforced!
Motorcycles and mopeds weaved in and out of traffic, sometimes crisscrossing lanes without warning, cutting in front of cars and buses! Driving in the DR is an adventure, but...not recommended and should be avoided if possible. Stick with an experienced UBER or cab driver or have your hotel arrange for safe transportation to and from your destinations within the DR.
The second thing that stood out were the dogs. Large numbers of stray dogs roam the streets of the DR.
These dogs were present at the build site as well. They were extremely shy and stand offish. After many attempts at approaching them, one of the younger members of our families was finally able to gain the trust of one of the dogs. He was very sweet but the expression on his face spoke volumes.
I was asked recently what my most memorable moment was on this trip? I thought for a second and without hesitation answered, the children, it was the children. The children who appeared out of nowhere from the neighborhood who stood back at first and watched us from a distance but slowly took steps forward and by the second day of the build made their way into our hearts.
The language barrier did not stop them from snatching paint brushes, rollers and hammers from us with eager smiles on their faces standing tall beside us lending their hands to help build a new home for one of their own. The local elders would continually try to chase them away, they would mischievously reappear time and again to bridge a gap, to make a connection with all of us for the few days that we were lucky enough to spend with them.
I was warned more than once not give them things, candy or gum or whatever goodies I might have in my pack. I thought to myself, "In what world am I not doing that..." A few of the kids pulled the Costa Rican string bracelets that I was wearing off my right wrist; I think I went home with only one! I'd have given them the world; they've left an imprint on my heart.
I won't go into specific details with regards to building the home for this special family. I will let the following photos speak for themselves. May God Bless them, I pray for them everyday.
Please visit the following websites for more information on how you can help a family in need:
To view the slideshows of our build: