Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dominican Thoughts from Reagan Wasileski

The experiences that I've had so far on this trip are really indescribable. It is hard to accurately delineate all the thoughts and emotions that we've experienced thus far in the places we've been, the people we've met, and the things we've done. Nevertheless, I will do my best to put into perspective how life changing it all is. For example, today our youth group traveled down to a community in Santiago known as "El Hoyo" (The Hole). When you hear the word "poverty" what image comes to mind? The image that invades my mind looks exactly like El Hoyo. Our trucks were parked at the top of a hill, and down below was a crowded array of small shacks, sewage rivers, pigs, and neglected children. Immediately upon entering the community, we were greeted by eager children with the biggest smiles you have ever seen. They were shouting "Americanos! Americanos!" and were asking to be held. One little girl, about 5 years old, climbed on my back and said to me "Te quiero ser mi mama." Which means "I want you to be my mom." I was at a total loss for words. I got a huge lump in my throat which made it impossible for me to articulate any thoughts whatsoever. I didn't tell anyone else for fear that I might start crying. We were only at El Hoyo for approximately 40 minutes, but in that time, we served food to some of the children at a nutrition center similar to a soup kitchen, and we talked briefly with one of the ministers about his experience with building a church in the middle of that sort of community and all of the struggles that came along with it. Before visiting "El Hoyo", I hadn't really witnessed poverty in the streets of Santiago. It hadn't really occurred to me the extremity of the situation and how bad things really were. I can honestly say that this trip has changed my heart in more ways than one and I really would encourage anyone to go on a mission trip to a third world country if the opportunity ever presents itself! :) Hasta Luego!

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