We woke up to the beautiful sunrise of Constanza at 7with eggs, bread, and fresh strawberry juice for breakfast. After having an intense academic seminar on poverty and its impact in the Dominican Republic, the states, and our views today, we came to the conclusion that materials do not define “rich,” and happiness is not defined by where you come from, but through your hopes for the future. Visiting the dump today reminded each and everyone of us how much we take for granted and how important it is to count our blessings each and everyday.
At the dump, we saw stray dogs, including one suffering terribly from being hit by a car. We were all dramatically influenced by this and it was quite a few kids’ thorn of the day. Little boys and young men had dirty hands and feet from hard work and lack of clean water, but their faces were filled with determination. I asked a man of thirty and he said he dreamt of work in the night and lived to work day to day. My new friend, Miguel, the age of sixteen, aspired to be a lawyer, but has been working and living at the dump for the last five months and would continue to do so for the time being. Many said although conditions were hard, it was the only work available and regardless of the lack of resources and opportunities the sense of community brings them strength. We helped put fresh plastic over the houses that inhabited the border of the dump and passed out cookies and pear juice to our new friends. We broke up into six groups of four and many of us, including myself, helped collect onions before the rain and pick through glass and plastic that they could collect for a few extra pesos of the day. I wanted to stay longer, but after visiting the dump we had to go spread some love for the children at the nearby school, Cecaini Escuela.
At Cecaini Escuela, we played ball and did face painting. The joy on the students’ face brought tears to my eyes. They are so beautiful on the inside and out, I can’t help but know they deserve so much of a better education than they have ever received. They taught us new ball games and fun hand claps. They climbed on our backs, held our hands, and attacked our good friend, Steven, to the ground. Everyday, we meet new people with such beautiful souls, and staring deep in my eyes, they ask if I am going to return. It kills me to know the answer is probably no, but I have to remember that their are still more delegations to come to continue on the legacy.
Today, June 23, was the day where the first GG delegation to ever be in the community of Constanza in the Dominican Republic recognized the universal cycles of poverty. Through visiting the communal dump and one of thepoorest schools in the area, our minds, hearts, and eyes were opened in ways that will change our lives forever. We go to sleep with humility and a sense of awakening. Everyday we wake with a purpose and hope for a brighter day in our future and in the lives of those around us. Wealth is not defined by ones riches, but by the content of one’s character and their outlook on life. Do not underestimate one’s potential. For one is only poor in the comparison of another.
From the leaders of tomorrow, we say goodnight and remember, “the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance to those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” – FDR