QU & Batey 50

Students making a difference a long way from home


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Little Reminders

RemindersSettling back into my hectic college lifestyle I keep finding myself stumbling on friendly reminders that bring me back to our trip to the Dominican Republic. The first week back I found myself out celebrating for one of my good friend’s birthdays. We were at a lounge in Boston that was selling cocktails. On the top of the menu it read “sugar cane”. I immediately froze, at the time I did not know what to think of this and I felt myself sad and missing Batey 50 immensely. These little signs have kept arising as time has continued. For example, paying for my gas this morning I strolled into the gas station to find at the register a brand of Chap Stick I have never seen before. I picked it up and on the side it read “sugar cane”. I felt a rush of emotions come over me once again. I tried to make this time around more positive. I saw it as a sign to slow down and appreciate what I have. To see this as a way to think back about my friends in Batey 50 and a way to keep motivating myself to try even harder to fundraise and spread awareness for these individuals.
When we went to the Dominican Republic we tried to give these people the best of us. We told them who we are and proudly stated we go to Quinnipiac University. In this picture, Pillar, a good friend of the Powers, has been given my Quinnipiac University hat I received freshman year. My hopes is that she still has it with her now and that it is her friendly reminder of all of us back here in the states.


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Remembering the DR…

It’s been 20 days since we’ve come back from the Dominican, almost 3 weeks. I still think about our trip every single day. If someone asks me in the halls about it, I cant help but smile and want to tell them every moment we shared with the people of Batey 50 or tell them the story of Francisco and Pilar and how their strength inspires me or about the time I spent with the med team in Batey Cuya. I find myself still looking through pictures and wondering, were we really there or was it all just a dream? Being thrown back into this daily routine of schoolwork and classes makes me feel as though it was all a blur and I have to say it’s difficult. I wake up every morning and at first I think, “I’m tired. Do I really have another 8am-7pm day?” But then almost immediately now, another thought comes in and stops my first. I find myself so incredibly blessed to be here at Quinnipiac and I know everything I am working towards is only helping me work towards a greater goal of helping others. If I can accomplish my goal, I can return to the Dominican and make a greater difference. Being a part of the med clinic in Batey Cuya has only strengthened my passion for being a bio/pre-med major and I am grateful for that. We’re so blessed to have the ability to be getting an education. It broke my heart when I found out it costs only $25 for a child to go to school for a whole year!

I found it ironic also that even though the people of the Bateyes are working so hard all day in the sugarcane fields, they are so much happier than we are in general. We are always so stressed out over the little things, which really don’t matter in the long run. I’m taking their “don’t worry, be happy” motto to heart and trying to not sweat the small things in life. Everything will work out how it is supposed to be and the opportunities that are meant for us will not pass us by. I would not have changed our group for the world and this experience is one I will never forget. The people of Batey 50 and La Romana will always have a place in my heart and I cannot wait to see them again in June!!

-Jessica Patel

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Home, again

Two weeks after returning from the Dominican Republic, my tan has begun to fade, but the memories I have of that week have not. In talking to the others in the group constantly since we have left, it is clear that all of us have been changed immensely after the trip. I think I can safely say for all of us that not a day goes by that we don’t think about what all of the children are doing, or if Francisco and Pilar are healthy and doing well.

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Throughout the trip, I was constantly commenting on how surreal the whole experience was. I always had to remind myself that while I was able to get on the bus and travel back to Tata (our group mother at the dorms) and whatever delicious food she made for us, those lovable little faces would still be playing in the sugar cane, sleeping on their dirt floors. The point in our journey when I realized just how ‘real’ the whole situation was, came during our Batey 50 Day celebration on New Year’s Day. As the children got their t-shirts they all gathered in the front of the church, where three clowns were leading all of the children in song and dance. Coming through the church to be greeted by the singing of every single child we played with throughout the week and to see all of them truly enjoy themselves showed that these children are just like those here at home. Each of them wants to be dance, wants to giggle, and wants to be loved. So often, we picture these sad little faces out in these poor villages, forgetting that they really are just children at heart, and are so much more than the poverty they experience. Now back at home, I often find myself singing their silly songs in my head, thinking of them having the time of their lives that day. Of all the amazing things that happened that week, from dancing on our crazy bus to handing over the keys to a new home to a fantastic family, I will always remember that amazing little fiesta, and what it must have meant to those children.

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-Nicole Meringola

 


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Care Packages

As a class I know we would like to thank everyone who helped makes this trip possible.  It was a life changing experience that no words will ever be able to fully describe, and we appreciate everything that has been done.  All together we raised almost $3,000 to help support the families of Batey 50 and that is something we could not have done without all of our donators. Here is a small preview of everything that was included in the food packages we sent.ImageImageAlthough these boxes may not seem abundant, they made a huge difference to the people in the Batey.  In all we were able to fill over 100 boxes worth of food to hand out, as seen below.

ImageOnce again, thank you all for your help!  You’ll never understand the impact you helped make on both the families of Batey 50 and on all of us.

- Virginia


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Caring Children

Not only have I experienced the love of each child from Batey 50 but I also experienced each ones selflessness and care for each other, especially when the kids came together to make snowflakes for Sandy Hook school. For a village that needs everything they had no problem sitting together to make something for someone else in need. These children and their families will always have a place in my heart!317905_10151179901745718_168566050_n


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Traveling to the Dominican Republic has changed my life. My eyes have witnessed some of the poorest people on Earth and how they still find joy in life from the smallest things. For example, a plastic shopping bag combined with some string and sticks can make a kite. Or even a two dollar pair of sunglasses can entertain a child for hours. These are things I took for-granted before traveling to Batey 50. I cannot even imagine growing up relying on these inanimate objects for entertainment; I can’t even imagine living without electricity, running water or a stable house. My imagination was tested in Batey 50 when I saw what I thought was impossible was a reality for many people. There is no way an American can think that they have been handed the shortest stick in life because, compared to the people I personally met in Batey 50, America has the largest stick. We walk around and say we are starving when we haven’t eaten for a couple hours. Imagine not eating for days. Would you be starving then? One little boy in Batey 50 came up to me with tears in his eyes saying “Tengo hambre”. This means I am hungry. At this moment I realized that, even though I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I was not the hungry one: he was. Because of this moment I was beyond happy to hand out boxes of food to families in the Batey on New Years Day. We even were able to hand out sandwiches and orange juice to each person. Watching them eat was probably one of the happiest moments I have ever witnessed.  Besides the food, we were able to hand out shirts that matched our own as well as provide some clowns for the children’s entertainment. Seeing them all dancing and laughing was heart warming. The best part was seeing each child’s face as they walked through the church to receive their t-shirt. All of us stood on the side and cheered as the child would walk down the aisle. At first they were kind of scared, but then a smile would creep across their face. We gave them self confidence. In return, each person in Batey 50 gave me more than I could ever ask for. They opened my eyes to reality. They welcomed me into their homes and gave me an experience of a lifetime. In class discussion we talked about how the people in the Batey’s pray that help will come to them. Each day that a yellow school bus pulls up with a group of Americans is the best day ever for the people in the Batey’s. These are the days their prayers are being answered. I plan on continuing to educate people on what is going on in the Dominincan Republic and hopefully return one day to Batey 50 and see the smiling faces of the beautiful families that live there.

Ashley Anderson


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During our time in the DR so much has gone on. The times in the Bateye were priceless. Seeing those kids, living in those conditions is heart breaking. But one thing that I noticed was that it seems like they make the very best of what they have. When Americans do come to help improve they are so great full. It’s like the kids melt right into your arms. As I’m sitting here typing one memory just popped into my mind. That memory was the day we threw the kids little fiesta. The kids were running around for hours with the balloons that we gave them. To me when we have a party in America, balloons are just a decoration. These kids made so much more pod something so simple. That really taught me something. I truly appreciate everything that I have much more than I did before. Many times before this trip  I really didn’t understand that I’m privileged to be driving in my car, or having the phone that I do, and having the ability to get the education that I’m receiving. Now that the trip is over, I feel so privileged that I was able to take this trip. I met people that have very little, and from that they gave me more than I can ever ask for in experience. These people will always be on my mind and in my heart!

Brandon Schindler

 

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