Working at the camp was a great experience. It was interesting to see that throughout all cultures, you find the same tendencies, personality types, and interactions among children. Still, the kids here were different then most Americans. One of the stations of the camp was reading, where the kids read to counselors or vice-versa. Most of these kids don’t have a large collection of books at home and don’t experience the one-on-one reading attention we were providing them. Growing up, my parents and grandparents would read with me everyday–it really made me think about what a difference this makes in a child’s life.
Guest Post: Mary Fay- Volunteering at an Orphanage in the Dominican Republic15 07 2010
Mary Fay is a rising honor junior at American University. In the fall of 2009 Mary served as an intern at Joint Council. Mary’s commitment to serving children has continued since her internship. In May Mary participated in an Orphanage Outreach project in the Dominican Republic. The below is her thoughts following her return to the United States.
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Mary Fay: Guest Blog Post
From May 22-29, I participated in the volunteer program Orphanage Outreach in the Dominican Republic. The orphanage is located in the town of Monti Cristi, the first place that I’ve ever been to with mostly unpaved roads, mosquito-netted beds, and absolutely no air conditioning to escape the hot weather. Although this town was underdeveloped and poor by my standards, the people of Monti Cristi, along with the kids in the orphanage, appeared content and comfortable. In fact, the orphanage makes great efforts to contribute to the wellbeing of the community. One way they did this was through developing the Boys and Grisl English Institute where both kids from the orphanage and kids from the town can go to learn the English language. During my week with orphanage outreach, the other volunteers and I worked as counselors at the summer English camp at the institute.
We worked at the camp for two hours each morning and two hours each afternoon, then spent time at the orphanage. We got to play with the kids there and get to know the other volunteers and long-term interns. To my surprise, the kids were very independent and in no way seemed lonely or needy. This orphanage did a gerat job of making the kids feel at home and part of a family there, so that when people came to visit, they were just joining the great program that was already there.
The Dominican culture was a great thing to experience. It was awesome to see how people found so much meaning in life without the distractions of our commercialism. In many ways, I wish American culture was more like that. I would definitely suggest going on this trip or a trip to another orphanage for a lifechanging experience.