This is the blog post for Wednesday! We didn't have WIFI Wednesday night.
Today was our last full day in the Dominican Republic. It was very emotional but also a very fun day, full of lots of activities and fun.
Some of the girls and Mr. and Mrs. Scott woke up at the crack of dawn to take a walk through the neighbourhood around our camp. It was very eye-opening to see life in what the Dominicans call the slums. It seemed like a good idea until we almost got chased by some really scary dogs (still convinced they had rabies) and, following Mr. Scott’s lead, got lost. We ended up backtracking our steps and what was supposed to be a 20 minute walk took a bit longer than expected.We got back from our walk just in time for our last breakfast at camp, where we feasted on pancakes and sausages.
Our driver, Daniel, picked us up after breakfast to go visit some of the other COCREF schools. We saw two other schools and interacted with the children there. Norma, one of the COCREF staff members, led us through the schools. In one school, we visited the pre-school class, where they happily sang us a song. All the girls were, of course, in awe over Dustin, but that’s no surprise anymore.
For lunch, we made a stop at Burger King, where the normal American food and flushing toilets really encouraged us. After this, we headed to the beach to spend a few hours. Everyone was really excited seeing as it was so hot today.
At the beach, we enjoyed a variety of fun beach activities. Taylor, Braelyn, Dustin and Erin swam pretty far out in the ocean, where they decided to make friends with some jelly-fish. The jelly-fish got a little too friendly, and now all of them are suffering from the effect of its companionship. Everyone’s okay; just feeling a little pins and needles. Mr. Scott and James also bought super authentic Ray-Ban sunglasses for only 5 dollars, which is a pretty great deal for something so expensive anywhere else. Braelyn also found the love of her life- a cute little puppy that she spent half an hour with petting and playing in the water.
After spending a few hours at the beach, the sun claimed a few victims. Serena, Taylor and Braelyn are all a nice shade of red, and have already gone through a full bottle of Aloe and some hand sanitizer that has Aloe in it. We now have a team that could make up Neapolitan ice cream- Dustin is so tanned that he’s the chocolate; Braelyn, Serena and Taylor are so burned that they’re the strawberry; James and Jesse are still so white that they’re the vanilla.
We had a really nice dinner at a pizzeria with a few of the COCREF staff members and some other visitors. Dustin ate 8 pieces of pizza, which was pretty record-breaking. At the end of dinner, the COCREF staff members thanked us one last time for our work and presented us with certificates. It was very moving and sweet, and caused Emily to cry.
We had the great idea of stopping at a local grocery store to buy some ice cream for the night and some candy for the plane ride tomorrow. We all walked through the aisles of the grocery store, hunting for Skittles. Once we all had our selection of candy, we made our way to the check-out where we discovered we couldn’t pay in American money- only in Pesos, which none of us had. The cashier directed us to a money exchange booth. We threw all our candy into a cart and, as Dustin strolled through the grocery store pushing the cart, the rest of us went with Daniel to the exchange booth. We all gave him money to exchange for us- all so we could buy some candy and ice cream (which was, ironically, Neapolitan). It was a pretty long grocery run- pretty much two hours. After the store, we headed back to camp in our “party bus”, where we sang all sorts of pumped up music, including Bohemian Rhapsody.
We did our last devotions of the week with lots of singing and talking about our trip. We talked about all the highs and lows of the trip, things we could’ve improved on, and how it would affect us in the future. We have all been very humbled throughout this experience, and many of us mentioned how we want to go on another mission trip in the future. One of the COCREF staff members joined us for devotions, and he mentioned that even though we are thankful for the opportunity, and thankful for all the people here who have welcomed us so graciously, they are even more thankful that we are here. He said that the people really recognized how we took time out of our vacation, in an unfamiliar country, leaving our friends and family back home, to come and work voluntarily to help them out- we weren’t forced, but we chose to come anyway. This was really striking, especially because we didn’t feel like we did a whole lot of work, seeing as we only worked for three days.
This trip has been an amazing and humbling experience, and we’re all so thankful for the opportunity and blessing, and also for all your support. Please continue to pray for us as we make our way home tomorrow, and we’re so excited to continue to show God’s love in all that we do. Thanks and God bless!
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