Dominican Republic. Our second service project was scheduled for this port and so we joined a local foundation that worked in literacy, town improvement, and female rights. José, the man in charge, had arranged homestays for the three day service project and had talked to the community council about house repairs. We were going to be painting houses for the families who could not afford to do it themselves.
Unlike the Senegal service project, in DR I really felt as if I had accomplished something. It was much more satisfying to look back at the end of the day and see the smiles on the families’ faces and the joy that simple colours brought to the rest of the street inhabitants. My group of 6 managed to get around to a total of 5 houses.
On our second day, we were painting the café a bright green and pink. This time we came prepared. We had bottled water, toilet paper, our lunch, and music… lots of music. By the time I got around to the front side of the building, it seemed as if every child in town had come out to watch and support and play with us. I knew a little Spanish and did manage to communicate with a couple of the children. One girl sat down next to me and pointed at my headphones asking if she could listen. I put one plug in her ear and one in mine. I’ll never forget how wide her smile was when I played Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. After that all the kids lined up wanting to listen to the noise that was coming out of my headphones.
When lunch came around the people across the street brought us a table and chairs so that we could eat. We all felt a little guilty with the amount of food that was presented to us by José. So we ate a little of sight from everyone else. After I had finished eating I went back onto the street and befriended a little boy, Carlos, who had made a game out of a tire and a stick. We spent a good twenty minutes trying to perfect my skills. I never did get as good as him, but I was able to at least get the tire rolling. It’s amazing the games people can create from almost nothing.
Leaving DR was one of the more difficult departures. It was sad to say goodbye to all the great memories and friendships. There are no more service projects scheduled for the remainder of Class Afloat, but a few of us are trying to arrange something for Bermuda. Next port of call: Turks and Caicos Islands.
|The Painting Team|
|Painting the Cafe|