Hello Fellow Kintailians!
I have recently returned from a Development trip to Dominican Republic. We were a group of 24 people mostly from the Sarnia area that simply wanted to make a difference. When I did a lot of fundraising for this project, most people assumed we were going to a third world country to build a well or school. But the Organization that we were doing this through is specifically a development group. Rayjon is a local group that encourages young people to become more aware of global poverty and to become part of the change. To re-build a country from the ground up, development is the key. Rather than throwing money at the problem or sending over what we think they need, we go see them and learn about the way they live and build a relationship. We come home and spread the word so we can tell people here what needs to be done.
On our trip, we brought over 24 suitcases full of goods that were asked of from the charities, orphanages and schools as well as 300$ to each group. The supplies and money was raised by our group all year long, through activities, fundraisers and starvathons. When we arrived, a lot of us had images in our heads of what to expect. Pictures of children covered in flies and starving unhappy people was a common idea shared by all. It was far from what we saw. We visited many organizations Rayjon supports, this included dropping of the donations, playing with the children and speaking with peers living in the Dominican. While on the trip we bonded with each other as well as with the people we met. I was blessed with having so much experience as a camp counsellor and normally played the role as the ice breaker between us and the kids. I taught our group “The Banana Song” and “There Was a Great Big Moose…” because that way there wasn’t much of a language barrier since everyone can do the actions to these songs! In one circumstance, Francis (our group translator) got up in front of the class with me when I was leading the Moose Song and translated every line! The kids laughed and laughed because they had no idea why a moose ended up covered in juice! This trip has inspired me to continue my work internationally as well as in my community. As a group we all agreed the amount of knowledge we gained is overwhelming but 3 things stood out.
- The value of a dollar – every little bit helps and goes a long way.
- We all smile in the same language
- It only takes one person to make a difference; we can all be the change we would like to see in the world as Ghandi would have said.
I hope to share my experience and encourage others to also do work internationally and become part of fight to end poverty. I have some fun Spanish songs I hope to share with the staff as well as the campers about how we are all the children of God, no matter where we are born and what our situation is. We must love one another for God is love and that is how he lives within us all. I cannot wait for this summer because that song right there describes what Camp Kintail is all about!