Changing the world, one week at a time

Its our final day, and If I had words to describe how awesome it was it would be fast, Joyful, and exciting. The last is always the best, and before I go over what I did today I want to tell you all about my experience as a whole. The Dominican Republic is such an eye opener and its a life changing experience and for reasons only the eye can tell. So many bonds are shared and happy thoughts as well. The laughter never stops and the songs don’t too.

Not only are the people of the Dominican Republic kind, but the people you spend time with are as well. You get to see sides of people you would never see in normal conversation, and I got to feel so many enormous and abstract personalities, it felt like we were a family on the first day. Memories shared with others throughout the week can never be forgotten because we all shared them together. The most inspiring memory on my journey was realizing that the ones who have less than me can still feel satisfied with what they have no matter how poor they are. You would see children playing in their homes, content with what they’re doing and never complaining about what they don’t have no matter how much anger they felt. There was always intriguing people that had stories as long as a book. Happiness was always the subject, and I have everyone to thank for that. Eric, Manisha, Lisa, Mark(Dad), Adam, Mrs.Beaty, Alex, Corey, Marissa, Francine, and the parents that decided to help make this happen. This was a life changing experience I’ll never forget.

Sincerly, Mark Thomas


Today was a day for two mountains. First we went to Yasika for some zipline adventures then to Teleferico for the cable car. In between we went to lunch on the beach. Our last youth will have his blog post written tomorrow, but I thought I would share some pictures today.


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Today was a great day!! We started off the day with yet another great breakfast. We had eggs, toast, ham, pineapple, watermelon, and some amazing grapefruit juice. We then headed off to church in our nice outfits of collared shirts, dresses, and skirts. We were greeted at the door with warm welcomes. Slowly the rest of the congregation joined us throughout the service. I read a Psalm in English and attempted to sing along in Spanish. During The Peace, we were warmly greeted with smiles and hugs. I loved the music and how energetic the people were at such an early time of day. It had a lot more music and was a lot longer than my usual service at Christ Church Cranbrook.

After church, we went to coffee hour and talked with the locals and experienced cookies with jam on them. We then all piled onto the bus and headed off, back to the hotel, this time with a few more friends. We drove past the fort and took many pictures. We ate lunch at the hotel. We had delicious rice and beans, beef, plantains, and salad.

Full of energy, We then headed off to a full day. We then headed to Teleferico on the bus having a great time singing and talking to our friend, Frank. When we got to Teleferico we discovered the extremely long lines. We quickly returned back to the bus and changed our plans for the day. We headed off to the beach in Cabarete and played tag in the water with Frank and Alex. I got hissed at by a group of women and I am still trying to figure out what that means (According to Frank, it means he is hot btw).

After chasing each other around for an hour or two, we headed back to the bus covered in sand and salt. We had a great bus ride full of getting to know each, talking about Disney, and singing. We said our goodbyes to our guests on the bus and dropped them off. I then took a dip and the pool and went and got ready for dinner. For dinner we had a fantastic meal of spaghetti, garlic bread, and sweet potatoes. The only person that hasn’t done the blog (not naming names) called dibs on doing it tomorrow so I was made to do it today. I am so glad we had more people with us than usual because we got to know them more and they really made this experience so much better. Overall it was a great day and I am so sad our trip is now beginning to coming to an end.

-Alex Beaty


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Today started like every other day. I rolled out of bed still half asleep, and only went down to breakfast purely for the coffee. After breakfast we headed over to the church to finish painting. Yesterday, after we were given the list of things that needed painting, I volunteered to paint the altar. So that’s what I did today, with the help of Priest Lisa. People kept telling me I am really good at painting, which had only inflated my ego and has given me a career idea. Just as I was finishing painting the altar and scraping off the stray paint, Eric told us we had take a break. I really wanted to finish scraping paint, but the break wasn’t optional. So a group of us played basketball with some of the local kids. My basketball skills can only be described as horrendous and my shooting skills wildly inaccurate. Although, I did make two baskets after one of the locals, Frank, kept insisting on passing the ball to me.

When our game of basketball was over we went back to painting. However since I was done with the altar, and had nothing to do, I did a little sweeping outside the church and then took another break. I went back to painting after Eric came in and said I need someone “cool” to finish trimming the ceiling in the other room. I thought ‘I’m a pretty cool person’ so I volunteered to do that (he meant temperature wise, but I was both, so it worked out). Also I got to climb up on the ladder to paint where the ceiling and the wall meet, which I hadn’t done before (and having this skill can only help my resume, for when I become a professional house painter).

Next we had lunch and headed back to the hotel before going to make soap. We drove the people who run the soap making business to their work space, and I sat next to Chelsea (the person who runs the business), and it was really interesting to talk to her about her time here and her business. When we got to the soap making place they explained the process to us. The first step is to make lye water, which we weren’t allowed to do for obvious reasons. While the lye water was cooling, we cut the soap that had been made yesterday (which like all of the other soap they made smelled really good). When the lye water had cooled we measured out three different oils which then had to be heated until clear. While the oils were being heated we headed into another room to look at some beautiful handmade jewelry that contained a stone that can only be found in the Dominican Republic (It is called: Larimar – Eric).

Once everyone who wanted jewelry had got it we went back into the other room to pour the soap into molds; which I got to help with. When the soap making was done, Priest Lisa and Pastor Manisha set up a table so they could give Chelsea her first holy communion. Getting to see and participate in the communion was a great way to end the day.

-Marissa Huth


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On this beautiful Friday morning I woke with excitement filling my veins for what I knew would be an amazing and unforgettable day. I was also late… So as I arrived with a look of shame on my face, I was greeted with another amazing and unique Dominican breakfast prepared by our wonderful hosts, and the bright(and awake) faces of my awesome group members. I was also that awake… on the inside ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shortly afterward we were on the bus on the way to our next worksite. While I was still waking up on the ride, I was later informed a deal had been made by my fellow youth on our journey. Since a certain One Direction fangirl never seemed to stop talking, our youth came to a consensus that for the next three hours this person would not be able to talk unless saying thank you or asking worksite related questions. To our surprise, she succeeded without too much trouble. Although we joke around, I believe that many times we have appreciated this persons great enthusiasm and has made both our group and the kids we play with a little happier inside.

Although it may not seem like it, we did do a lot of work today. Most of our stupendous team started inside the church, painting the walls beige while jamming out. For the first part of the day I was putting a sealing on the roof to prevent further leaks with Adam, Mr.Peters/Dad, Mark, and Frank’s older brother Arizon. While I think I dripped more sweat on the roof than paint, we got through it with constant water breaks and with the leadership of Arizon, who never broke a sweat.

After lunch we got to go and see Frank and Arizon’s pets. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I LOVE animals. Lots of my trip has consisted of, during breaks, climbing trees or looking in other places for lizards. I have taken some really cool pictures so if any of you readers are connected with National Geographic, they should hire me ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, Frank showed us his many bunnies and baby ducks. He got a bunny out for me to hold but he/she didn’t like me… but it liked the One Direction fangirl… He showed us his brothers fish, which he said he didn’t like, and his two other birds I didn’t know. I personally have two lizards and a snake at home so that’s why I loved seeing his friends. Frank also showed us his HUGE basketball trophies that looked like they belonged to Lebron. I had the chance to play Frank. I’ll just say it wasn’t pretty and leave it at that.

After our tour we finished painting the Parish Hallย with some more awesome music. After a short jam session with some of the church’s instruments with Frank and his brothers we headed out, looking forward to the pool. The pool today was interesting. While Eric was relaxing, the youth and myself were being very loud. We played Marco Polo, or Polo Marco, or Parco Molo, or just any combination of letters really. This involved the One Direction fangirl being it for 80% of the time. I was it for most of the other twenty and I proceeded to tag Eric a couple of times when my Spidey Senses were tingling, but he was trying to nap. Also, while I was taking a break from our game, Marissa and I yelled Polo to try and throw the fangirl off hehe. I also tried to steal Mark’s hat while he was in it.

At dinner a little while later, we shared laughs over all the day’s stories which is my second favorite part of the day (first being making people we help smile) and we got to see some of Eric’s top class photography. (Yes he is better than you mom ;)) We saw many cute pictures of us with our new family we’ve made at the school and church, and who we will always cherish. We also got to see some very funny pictures of our team. Although all of them, for me, inspired me. I saw the faces of people who we had only met a few days earlier, but who we had connected with, heart to heart. I may not go to church but I know I see God in this, for such happiness is a gift that is worth the world. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

-Corey Reed

P.S. Our amazing friend Eric has been wearing these HILARIOUS shirts everyday, so when you see him in these pictures, read his shirts, I guarantee a good laugh ๐Ÿ™‚


I want to thank Manisha for taking today’s photographs. I was slacking my job of photographer by being on a ladder all day painting. Thanks Manisha.



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First of all, my blog will not be as good as Adam’s because I am not very gifted in writing. I don’t really remember this morning and waking up, but I remember breakfast. For breakfast we had a dish that was like oatmeal but way better than oatmeal I don’t think I can go back to the kind we have in America ever again. Than we went on the bus to the school to paint again. I was actually quiet the whole way there and I think people liked it because I like to talk a lot and it gets annoying. When we were at the school these two girls that I met yesterday were there and greeted me with big hugs and smiles. I was on the blue team, which means I painted half the wall blue.

My favorite part about being at the school is when we get to play with the kids. Whenever we had a break we would always play tag and talk to them. We finished painting the inside today so we had a lot of spare time. Alex, Marissa and I played with the girls and the girls even made paintings for Senora Beaty (I am so sorry if I spelled it wrong). Once we left the school we quickly went back to the hotel to get our stuff for the beach. On our way to the beach we stopped off at two churches. The people there were very kind and two people at one church are making soap that we get to help with Saturday!

When we got to the beach and went in the ocean the water was really refreshing and nice to be in because of the heat. We would swim out until there was seaweed and swim back. Then Alex, Marissa and I covered ourselves in mud because we were “exfoliating” ourselves. Then I decided hey, why not exfoliate everyone else! So at first I would rub mud on people’s (in our group, don’t worry I didn’t do it to a stranger!) back. Then it kinda turned into us throwing mud at each other. I then found a seaweed plant thing and I would throw it or rub it on people. Alex and Marissa want me to mention that they didn’t like it but I bet they have soft skin now. When we got back to our hotel I was walking up the stairs minding my own business when somebody, who wrote about me a lot in his blog entry, threw the seaweed plant at me! I got the plant back and decided I’ll get him back later.

We ate dinner which was a really good eggplant dish with cheesy potatoes. I was voted by everyone to write about today because apparently I had an interesting day. While writing, Eric told me to get everyone because we were going to a baptism. I went upstairs to get everyone because they were in my room and the person who threw the seaweed plant at me earlier, threw it at me again! We went to the beach to do the baptism, it was really cool to watch because I’ve never seen a baptism happen at the ocean. We went back to our rooms, and I’m sitting on the balcony enjoying the Dominican weather while everyone else is playing hide and go seek. I don’t mind not being in the game though because it is really nice outside I wish Michigan had weather like this more. Well, I hope you liked reading about my day!

-Francine Rosinski


As Francine said, we got to participate in a Baptism today. Chelsea is a recent college graduate who is here in the Dominican Republic helping to set up a soap making business at San Simon church. She has been exploring her relationship with God and through the help of Charlie, the long-term Missionary down here, asked to be baptized. So Pastor Manisha and Priest Lisa along with the rest of our community, went down to the beach and baptized Chelsea. So today, we all gained a new sister-in-Christ. Alleluia!

-Eric Travis


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Today was a day filled with songs,laughter,basketball, tag, and an abundance of smiles and memories that are never to be forgotten. As we sleepily arose from the comforting cocoons of our beds, we traveled through the town, waking up with the locals and taking in the sights and sounds of Puerto Plata. The work site was a 2 story school, and was very impressive by any terms, with a basketball hoop, a playground, and many areas for people to sit and socialize. We gathered in a room, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, along with our group, and said a prayer. Groups were then formed, and off to work we went. My group was tasked with painting the ceilings white, and at first it seemed to be a boring job, but with the help of Cory, Mark, Mrs. Beaty, and Mrs. Beaty’s phone, it became one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. Guys being guys, we talked about video games, movies, and the like, until someone (me) suggested we sing a song. It was… a good effort. Stumbling through a couple acapella versions of various One Direction songs, mostly because of the presence of a mega-fan on the trip, we were losing interest until Mrs. Beaty, who had recently joined the room, started playing music from her phone. Oh, how the tides turned. We sang our hearts out to Train, Adele, Neon Trees, and mostly Adele until lunchtime. “Great, uh…singing” was a reply that we got often, but honestly who cares. One of the workers and locals, Frank, asked me and a few others if we wanted to play basketball. In the 90+ degree, insanely humid weather, we played. After 20 minutes, if even that, we were bent over, gasping for breath, and Frank hadn’t even broken a sweat. Dominicans man, they’re amazing. Following more painting of ceilings, a game of tag with some of the children who lived near, and more basketball, we packed up and headed to
Mosovi, a settlement outside of Puerto Plata. It was one of the most impovershed places I have seen with my own two eyes, but we were greeted with smiles and waves from the locals, which we readliy returned. We were shown the church in the middle of the town, and our foreman, Charlie told us about the plan to give people access to running water, which was being taken from the people by large tourist resorts, which is just inhumane. The busride back was a sleepy one for most, except for someone (not naming any names but he/she is a large fan of a popular boy band) was asking someone else (me) a lot of questions, such as, “OMG WHOS YOUR FAVORITE MEMBER???!!” and “OMGOMG WHATS YOUR FAVORITE SONG BY THEM??!!” To this person’s parents, I salute you both. A quick shower, a dip in the pool, and dinner were what followed, and now here I am writing this. Today was one of the coolest days of my life, and I can’t wait for what’s to come over the next few days. We’ve only just started our journey, but I already know how much I’ll miss the people, Puerto Plata, and all of the happiness.

-Adam Peters


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