By Jolie Peal
The end of the school year typically signals the start of a relaxing summer for most students, but junior Kate Jensen’s summer took her on an adventure to the Dominican Republic along with nine other Marian girls to partake in service.
The girls were there from May 25 to June 5. “We went to Santiago for the first part of the trip and did our service in Dajabon close to the border,” Jensen said.
While the girls did a variety of service, Jensen’s favorite was digging the latrines, which are holes for bathrooms. “Latrine building is commonly a man’s job so I felt empowered doing it,” Jensen said. Other types of service the girls did was painting the church and the community center.
Jensen noticed many differences between America and the Dominican Republic, including the importance of being on time-or rather the lack of it. “Being late isn’t seen as a bad thing. (I’m not sure if being late is even a thing). They are understanding. Maybe the person stopped by their friends house, maybe they ran into traffic, maybe they were talking to a neighbor. No sweat, it’s all good.”
The opportunity taught Jensen many valuable lessons, one being that everyone has a story. “People don’t just represent one number in the population statistic, they represent the story with emotions, struggles, ambitions, and achievements inside them,” Jensen said.
Another lesson she learned was to appreciate the people around her. “Connection to others is more valuable than we treat it,” Jensen said, “The bottom line is that they value people more than the material things in life.” She hopes her Marian sisters can welcome the lessons she learned into their lives.
Although the trip is long over, Jensen still remembers the love she felt there. “We were greeted by the largest hugs and most pure love. The locals had gathered to welcome us into their homes, and at the same time to their hearts it seemed. The hugs weren’t ‘I’m glad you’re here’ hugs, but rather ‘I love you and I am eternally thankful for your presence.’”
The Dominican Republic service trip has been a precious tradition at Marian, and it continues to give students the chance to grow their hearts. This service trip not only brings joy to people of the DR, but it brings joy back into the halls of Marian with the girls who helped make a difference in their own lives as well as others.