June 12, 2014
June 12th
Student-Athlete Development: Dominican Republic Blog

What a bittersweet day it was today. Of course we are going back to go ole’ Blacksburg, but it is extremely sad leaving the people we have made relationships with and the place that we considered our home for the past 10 days. Welinton, who works at the Foundation, is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. It warmed my heart seeing him throw us a fiesta for our last night. The fiesta was filled with Dominican food, dancing, and a little bit of the culture. It was a great way to end our night here even though Danny was lacking on the dance moves (Haha).

On a serious note, and I can speak for the other 12 people here, this was the greatest experience of our lives. Looking back at the start of the trip, we were 13 complete strangers, for the most part, who were about to venture to the Dominican Republic together. Consequently, we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Now, I can truly say we have formed a friendship that no one could build in only 10 days back home. We experienced everything together, from seeing these poor neighborhoods, to forming relationships with the kids and the DPV boys, and spending every single hour together reflecting, laughing, and getting emotional at times.

Although we are all different teams, we came together this trip and formed our own unique team. We learned about leadership and discussed ways we can help this country. Throughout the trip, we learned that we aren’t going to be able to give back all of these people’s necessities in life, but if more people experience classes like this and become more educated on poverty, we can give back little by little.

Together, our team has become more educated each and everyday. We didn’t realize how privileged we were back in America. We don’t get overjoyed when we get a glass of water and we aren’t relieved when we have food on our plate. Will (MBB) gave the kids in the batey a drink of water, and it looked as if they have never consumed water before. Back in America, our concern is who has the best watch and where are our designer clothes from. It is evident that this trip was eye opening for each and every one of us. Sometimes we take for granted what we have, but for me personally, I realized how grateful I am in life and how much I want to help these countries in the near future. I don’t want to just send them shirts or watches, because what good would that bring them. If we start small by raising money for education or keeping relationships with the people we met there, maybe that can fill in the cracks one step at a time.

We have to thank Danny for letting us experience a class like this. I learned so much more about life and myself in these past 10 days than I have in my whole 21 years. Once you experience something, it becomes real. So to Danny, Jon Jaudon, Dr. Rudd and Donna, and my other 12 new friends now, these are the memories I will remember forever. Until next time Dominican Republic, Adios!

Blaire Kinsey

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