Opinion by J1 reporter Macy Salerno
Not everyone can pick out a specific experience in which he or she felt true happiness. From June 3 to 14, I traveled with 11 Marian girls to the Dominican Republic for an immersion trip, and we were lucky enough to experience true happiness. We started in the city of Santiago, traveled to the campo of Venu, and finished at the beach in Sosua.
While in Santiago, we spent a day with children at an orphanage, walked through the neighborhood of Cienfuegos, viewed the hardships of a batey, and even went on a scavenger hunt through the chaotic center of the city. On the June 6, we took a two hour bus ride to our country village campo. In our campo, we completed mission work and stayed with host families.
It was while I was in our campo of Venu that my life truly changed. We spent six days painting a church, creating friendships with the children, and dancing at bailes. It was amazing to see how deep of a bond I could create with these children, despite the language barrier. During this trip, I formed friendships that will always be special to me.
My outlook on my everyday, American lifestyle altered greatly throughout the trip. On my way to the Dominican Republic, I was nervous about leaving my comfortable lifestyle in Omaha. By the end of the trip, I was saddened to realize how close-minded I had been living prior to the Dominican Republic; I even felt uncomfortable ordering food and drinks at the beach.
The Dominican Republic has affected my life in unimaginable ways. It has taught me to be much more appreciative of everything I have and all of the opportunities given to me. I am now aware that my problems are so minimal in the world. I hope one day I can return to my favorite place in the world to reconnect with my Venu family and feel the joy of living simply and generously.