JJ in Dominican Republic

JJ, who is majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and math in Dedman College, is traveling to the Dominican Republic in summer 2010. There, he will be living with a host family, volunteering in a health clinic and doing other mission work in San Pedro with an organization called Esperanza International.

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Week one: a roller coaster

So I had quite the journey from DFW down here to the Dominican Republic, but after some delayed flights and miscommunications with my driver down here in the Dominican, I finally made it to Santo Domingo, where I stayed the first night and went through orientation the following day.

I was then taxied out to San Pedro de Macoris, where I have been doing my work with Esperanza International as a volunteer in their clinic. Thus far, the experience has been far different than what I imagined. The city is about at the economic level I expected, but it is much more crowded and busy than I ever could have thought. But it has been a pretty incredible experience even already just getting to see how the Dominicans in this part of the country go about their daily lives and make ends meet.

I started in the clinic this past Thursday (the 8th) and the first day was a bit rocky, but I quickly found and met a few other Americans who were in the clinic permanently as missionaries and have kind of taken me under their wing.

On Friday I got to observe the doctor seeing patients, and the different illnesses and cases I have seen are completely unlike what we would see in America with the health care we have, it defintely tugs at the heart. But in saying this, I must also say how inspiring it is to already see the different ways they deal with being a developing country and can use their limited resources to still treat and combat different ailments.

On a different note, my living situation has been a little jumbled. I thought I was going to be staying with a host family the entire time, but it turns out I am staying in a dorm above a church for the first part of my stay, and I will eat dinner with the family every evening until I move in with them on August 8 because they are already housing another intern with Esepranza, who is working in the microfinance department.

Living in the dorm has been nice because they also house other groups on missions from the States and there was a group from North Carolina, and any interaction with other Americans has been GREAT in my first week! My Spanish is defintely at a beginner level, but I am picking it up quickly, and though I can’t really speak it much better, I am able to understand more and more each day.

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