A walk through town

Molly '14 spent a week of her spring break with a group of 26 students and four faculty chaperones on a service trip to the Dominican Republic.

I spent a week of my spring break in Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic, teaching English at the local school called JFK. The photo above was taken on one of our walks through town on our way to school - a walk we took four times a day - and translates to, "Smile, I invite [you]."

This is the sort of thing we would see every day while walking to school or while walking through the town of Monte Cristi, where the sun was always shining and the people were always smiling, and inviting us to smile with them. The walks to and from school were some of my favorite parts of the day, as they were, more often than not, the most peaceful parts of the day. These short five minutes were blissful. We would chat with one another, have friendly encounters with the people who lived in the town, and “ooh” and “ahh” at the dogs who were sunning themselves. The walks to school were always the buildup of anticipation, the growth of excitement about how the lesson would go that day, while the walks from school were filled with the final sighs of relief, sighs of “We did it. We made it.” Nothing could compare to these short five minutes.

These walks to and from school, as well as our walks around town, allowed us to observe and appreciate the simplicity of the area around us. Nothing was superfluous or unnecessary, and everyone seemed to truly appreciate what they had. We would see kids around town playing with soccer balls and sticks, needing nothing else to keep them happy and entertained. The walks throughout town made my day and made me appreciate the simplicity of life in Monte Cristi, and I did my best to treasure the simplicity before I was thrust back into the world of constant connection and communication.