Experiences from the 4-H service trip to the Dominican Republic – pt 1
In late July, Highland High School students Cash Chambers and Mary Anne Rogers, along with 4-H Agent Ben Hindman, participated in a service trip to the Dominican Republic. They gave their time on the trip to put on day camps for local children, do trash pick up and deliver school supplies. The trip gave them the experience of a different culture and a different language.
“I was kind of expecting it, but it was still kind of a surprise, the language barrier because I only know a little bit of Spanish,” says Chambers. “I really liked visiting the farmers market in Higuey and seeing all the different things they were selling. They were selling a lot of spices. They were selling, even though it might not sound that appetizing, like, raw meat. That wasn’t that interesting, but interesting like at a farmers market here you wouldn’t see that. It was very warm there, but it was a great experience and I loved going there. I learned a lot about sustainability. Where we had the day camps it was an ecological center and we saw, like, bird habitats, iguana habitats. We learned how they pick up, like, seaweed, because seaweed is kind of a problem there. Also, how they regrow coral reefs that are dying. I liked learning about all the different sustainability. I want to thank everybody who came to our pizza fundraiser at Big Fish Cider, that was a big part of us going to the Dominican.”
Mary Anne Rogers:
“The biggest surprise for me was kind of seeing what the environment was like,” says Rogers. “You know, you see the pictures. You see it online, but until you’re actually there it doesn’t really register in your mind kind of what it looks like and how it actually is. The biggest challenge for me was definitely language, of course. That was a big one, but also kind of understanding what was happening at the same time, because with the language and, you know, it being an unfamiliar place everything just kind of built up and you didn’t really know what was happening sometimes. But it was important to stay grounded and just kind of understand that it was a different place and I had to learn my way around it. I think my favorite thing overall was meeting new people and cultivating new relationships in such a quick period of time. I’m so grateful for the experience because it was so different. I think about home back here and just being able to compare it to what it is over there and it just gives you a lot of perspective and ideas on life.”
“I’m just thanking everybody for the opportunity,” says Rogers. “Ben and Christine and Carol. I’m very grateful for all of our leaders and all the other adults that went and kind of guided us through it, even though it was their first experience for most of them too. It was a great experience and my church, of course, for supporting me through that.”
Ben Hindman, is a 4-H Agent in Bath and Highland Counties.
“It was really nice to see Cash and Mary Anne just learn and grow through this experience,” says Hindman. “Stepping out of their comfort zones, practicing their Spanish, communicating even without Spanish was really neat. I saw Cash sit down with some of the local campers that we had and play chess with them. And so even though there was a language barrier, they were able to communicate through that game.”
To hear more about the group’s experiences on the trip, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for part two of this story.