Today, we worked on giving back to the community, providing the basic health benefits to the locals. Everyone contributed to this activity, whether it be welcoming patients, collecting contributions, being doctor assistants, entertaining the kids, or helping out in the pharmacy. This experience allowed everyone to become more aware of the need for more accessible health benefits in communities struck by poverty. Although many people from the community didn’t show up, the few people we helped made it all worth it. We were able to learn so much from the doctors and even learn about their personal community. We all learned that poverty isn’t an easy issue to resolve.

During our volunteer work at the health center, we got to hear the doctors and the social worker talk about their motivations for doing their work. We met Ana Melba Alcanta, the social worker, who explained that to her, social work is a very fulfilling occupation. She encouraged us to explore social work as a career path. Though only a few patients came to receive prescriptions and medications, we were still able to examine the health benefits, or lack thereof, that are available to underprivileged people in the Dominican Republic and the United States.

Later that day, we worked on our Community Action Projects. We created a blueprint of our design and presented it to the panel, who represented the school community.

To begin, the building committee presented the design for the benches, which was our main focus. With the help of the committee, we came to a consensus that our final design would be built upon the cement stubs currently existing at the school site. The following group talked about their ideas on the murals that we wanted to include near these benches. The community expressed some of their concerns regarding gender representation in one of the murals and suggested that we add another mural as well. We were happy to hear their feedback and excited to design a project that would fulfill the desires of the community.

Finally, our planning group collected all of the necessary finances needed to start working on our projects.

Our last few activities of the day included a self-reflection during which we acknowledged the inherent privileges we have back in the States. We also had a nightly meeting where we talked about the root causes of poverty and what things we could do to combat the ongoing cycle. Lastly, we opened up and addressed the tensions that were disrupting the group’s harmony. The discussion was a great end to the night.