The Perspective of a New Missionary
By Giannine Escobar ’15
Taking a mission trip is a decision everyone should make. I traveled to Bani, Dominican Republic, with 12 St. Mary’s Dominican High School classmates, accompanied by six chaperones including Pat Harvat, O.P., Vice President of Dominican Catholic Identity. We would volunteer at Espíritu Santo school.
When I returned home, my classmates asked me how it was. Everyone expects the magic word, “life-changing.” Our mission trip was certainly that, but much more. The trip was an eye-opening experience.
Seeing a community with so little was shocking. Even more shocking was seeing this community hopeful and welcoming. One day we visited the sick. A woman who had been ill for years welcomed us into her home. Her hope for the future amazed me. She wanted nothing more than to live for her family and friends. In another home we met a man healing from an injured back. He welcomed us and lifted chairs to make sure everyone had somewhere to sit. Everywhere we walked and in every home we visited, we were welcomed.
At a high school we met students our age and learned about their culture. They taught us how to dance. We taught them how to play kickball. Preschool children we met didn’t care what language you spoke. They just wanted to talk to you. When we gave coloring book pages to first graders I was surprised the boys did not care whether they were coloring trucks or princesses. They just wanted to color. Every single child we met on the trip was grateful for what they had and thankful we took the time to listen and talk to them.
We could not have done this trip without help from our Dominican community. We packed suitcases with school supplies and other thoughtful donations; soccer balls from Delta World Tire and Citizen NOLA t-shirts. The gratitude from the people of Bani was the greatest gift we could have ever hoped to receive. None of this could have been possible without Sr. Pat who truly touched each of our hearts.
An Unforgettable Camino
By Megan Guidry ’16
In honor of the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day it will be impossible for me to ever forget the way this camino, the graced people of Bani and of course the students of Espíritu Santo have impacted me. I always knew that mission was something I wanted to do in my life, but this trip made me fall in love with mission. I miss it – every bit of it, from cold showers to the welcome and love of complete strangers. I learned so much about a different culture, saw the way a community under Christ should live, bonded with some of the most incredible and humble girls and left a piece of my heart in that small concrete walled room in Villa Fundacion.
Click here for the photo gallery!
Click here to see the students’ reflections on the Adrian Dominican Sisters website!