Campus Ministry

Alternative Breaks Student Reflections 2017-2018

Dominican Republic Trip Reflections

By Nicole Procopio:

I was lucky enough to start my new year in 2018 off a little differently than others. Before the semester started in January I was in the Dominican Republic, co-leading a group of nine amazing Alvernia students who share the same interest of setting an example by helping others and making a difference.

The culture shock was not something we expected, and we thought we had planned and prepared for the trip tremendously well. The area of the Dominican Republic that we visited was nothing like areas in the United States. People live under tin roofs, sometimes in the dark because of blackouts that occur almost every day, we experienced over 20 in one week. Beat up cars and motorcycles crowd the small streets, cautiously driving around people walking and over a never ending amount of potholes. Dogs wander around the town with no owners and covered in mud, it was so hard not to pet them or try to bring them home.

The children were a gift to be around every day. Their school is a home for grades kindergarten through fifth grade. By home I mean that it was their escape from anything you could think of that they were going through at home. They called us the Americans. All they wanted to do, instead of learning, was play with our hair, dance to music, or play in the school yard. We were impressed by their knowledge of the English language. Most of the kids could introduce themselves and call us friends. As the week went on we learned that it wasn’t hard to get along without knowing their language. We shared laughs and handshakes with all of them and left them with memories they will never forget.

I have never been given an opportunity like this before. I was proud of the group for working so hard to make the week successful. Long lasting friendships were created through the close bond that was held all week and even after returning home. Our view of poverty has a deep meaning within us now through what we experienced in the Dominican Republic. I cannot imagine what else we will do in our futures to continue making a difference for others.

By Brittany Millard:

The Alternative Break to Los Tres Brazos, Dominican Republic was my fourth international mission trip, but one of the most impactful ones. This trip was also the first one I had the opportunity to lead. This one was especially meaningful, and every time I try to explain how life-changing it was, I always find myself at a loss for words. The people we encountered have made a lasting impact on my life; this is something I will always carry with me.

While visiting the sick in the community, we encountered a woman named Angela who had a faith so strong I was amazed. This woman had endured so much pain, strife, and hardship in her life, but she had a smile that could light up a dark room. She was beaming with positivity and God’s love, and I was in complete awe of her. I felt drawn to ask her what her favorite Bible verse was, which was Psalms 91; we soon learned that she had lost her Bible to a flood years ago. Later that week by chance, we had the opportunity to go into a bookstore and collectively purchase Angela a new Bible.

This chance encounter may not seem like much to others, but this was exactly what I needed. I will always hold Angela near to my heart, and I strive to be more like her every single day. Her positivity, smile, attitude shined of God’s light. I strive to be as happy, and a light in this life like Angela is in mine. “For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go”, Psalms 91:11.

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