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Days 1-3

 

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Friday, July 15th – Sunday, July 17th

During the next three weeks, Northern Without Borders will be sending three teams of students, faculty, and alumni to the Dominican Republic to complete a wide variety of service projects! We have a lot of work to do in the next three weeks, and while it took an entire year of planning, things officially kicked off on Friday in the King-Horn center.

Each week starts with a packing party – where all of the week’s participants arrive at ONU with donations and old suitcases used for transporting them. This week, we took over 2,000 pounds of over-the-counter medications, vitamins, medical supplies, sporting equipment, arts and crafts supplies, shoes, and clothes! With a lot of coordination and hard work, we finished up in time for dinner and relaxed before a long night (and an entire day) of travel.

At 1 AM on Saturday, we departed ONU for the airport in Detroit. While I anticipated getting a few hours of sleep on the bus, the excitement of another year in the Dominican Republic kept me wide awake! In what seems like an instant, we arrived at the airport, lugged our heavy bags inside, waited in long lines, and finally boarded the plane. A layover gave us enough time for card games and breakfast before heading to Santo Domingo.

Despite pulling an all-nighter, our group was full of energy once we arrived in the Dominican. Dan and Kari Straley, our very friendly and helpful guesthouse hosts, picked us up and took us to dinner! We all had the chance to get to know one another a better and enjoyed a great, authentic Dominican meal. Still in Santo Domingo, we spent the night in a hotel before departing for our final destination: San Juan de la Maguana. A four hour bus ride awaited us in the morning!

After a good breakfast and a great night’s sleep, we boarded the bus and began the very scenic journey to San Juan. We stopped to stretch our legs and take a quick group shot, then finished the drive and arrived safely at the guesthouse. What we later called an “unpacking party,” we began to unpack, sort, and organize our supplies. Nicole Ebby, a Philadelphia native who just began a long-term stay in the country, helped our group prepare for our first day of clinic work.

After dinner, we had the chance to go to church – a very fun and active service! There was great music (drum set and guitars) and a group of mimes presenting scripture! The night ended on an incredibly high note when I and other “veteran” travelers met up with our great friend Dr. Sandy.

It’s been a quick, exciting, and fun three days! I’m looking forward to tomorrow – our first day of work!

—Kyle Stinehart BS '11, BSBA '11