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Day 11

 

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Monday, July 25 Our first full day in the Dominican Republic started off at 7 a.m. with the breakfast call. Of course, I am used to getting up any time after noon so it was a rather rude awakening for me at least. When the morning bell rings, we have five minutes to get to the dining area for announcements and breakfast. After that, we started packing up and we went out to our first destination, Elias Piña Market. We rode into Elias Piña and simply walked around in awe of everything around us. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of vendors selling things such as cassette tapes, hammers and nails, exotic foods and much more. After about an hour of being looked at funny by all the local people, our group went out to our first village, Los Alejos. Los Alejos is a very remote location about thirty minutes outside of Elias Piña Market.

When we first arrived at Los Alejos, there was a rickety old building with half of a roof and about the size of a normal sized dorm room. There were two doorways, but no doors. To go along with that, the floor was just grass, dirt, and rocks. If you haven’t guessed, that was the building that our first clinic would be held in. Apparently, it was the most remote location that a clinic has ever been held. However, there are always some perks to a building such as that. If you look at the picture, you can see that the view from just above the building was breathtaking. Even though the sun was beating down on us with our half roof, the translators that accompanied us created a makeshift roof with two long boards of wood, large tree branches, and a large tarp. This covered about three quarters of the house, but it was better than nothing.

Even though we had to fit the doctors, pharmacy, oral surgeon station, and arts and crafts in a small building like that, it didn’t affect me much most of the time. Being an HPSS major, I was one of the ones in charge of the arts and crafts. Since Bill Fuller (other person in charge of arts and crafts) and I didn’t have a set plan for arts and crafts, I decided to bring out a wiffle ball and play catch with all the kids that were waiting to get in the clinic. After about 10 minutes of that, I broke out the plastic baseball bat so we could get a game of wiffle ball started. This didn’t turn out the way that I expected. I gave the bat and ball to the kids and told them it was theirs to keep. Little did I know, once I give two things away, I get mobbed by 15-plus kids asking for more balls, bats, Frisbees, and pretty much everything else we packed. Lesson learned!

Even wearing 100 SPF sunscreen, I got burned in a few places that I did cover with sunscreen. I know as a fact I was not the only one either. The sun was so hot, we had a case of heat exhaustion, where someone fainted. I have never seen anything like that happen before!  After pulled teeth, crying children, tired workers, little girls (mainly me because of the blood), countless donated stickers, and many happy people, we decided to close the clinic for the day. We went back to the guesthouse and ate dinner and talked about all the stories and people we encountered on the three different trips. At around 7:30 p.m., almost everyone went to play a baseball game together somewhere off of the guesthouse grounds. The other, such as myself and about ten other people, stayed back and talked to and bought gifts/items from local vendors. I personally bought myself a cross necklace from a vendor named Andres. This leads me to where I am now, sitting in the dining area and about to head to see Andres show some other people some card tricks.

Thanks everyone for reading the blog, keep visiting and I am sure we will keep you all updated on various stories and experiences.

—Luke Rice
Sophomore, Sport Managment
Lewis Center, Ohio