As I stepped off the plane, I could hardly believe this was real. I was 17 years old and in the Dominican Republic for a school led mission trip. Everything was foreign to me; the people, the language, even the air. I had to take a moment just to take everything in. As we neared the outside, little beads of sweat formed on my forehead. This definitely wasn’t the cold, rainy weather I had left in. Our team loaded up our luggage and off we went to the Score Complex, the organization we were working through in the DR. Although exhausted, I couldn’t seem to fall asleep. Excitement building, I knew I had to get some sleep to be ready for the hard work to come. Not fully rested, but overly eager, I boarded the bus the next morning to go to our work site. Looking out the window, I became absorbed in all of the life in the streets. There were so many people and so many colors. This atmosphere was not anything like my neighborhood. We pulled up to a school and were told that we would help to build a third story. As a group of all girls, we were a little hesitant if we could really do that. Several little faces peering curiously out of the gate greeted us. After introductions, we went to work. One after another cinderblocks were hauled up to the third story. I was surprised that as we worked, many of the students at the school would offer to help. Slowly but surely, the third floor was being constructed. One day, after laboring at the school, one of the students invited us to her house. I was excited to see how a high school girl in the Dominican Republic lives. As soon as we approached the apartment style house, the girl’s mom greeted us with a wave and a huge smile. After some brief introductions, we were showered with food and drinks. The family brought out a platter of fruit, yogurt, juice, bread, and candy. There was so much food; we wouldn’t have been able to eat it all even if we wanted to. That act of kindness really touched me. The people that I came in contact with in the Dominican Republic were all so generous and giving, regardless of how much they had. If I told a girl that I thought her necklace was pretty, without hesitation, she removed the necklace and insisted that I have it. By the last day, the construction was complete but I realized that our work at the school was much more than a third floor. I had made so many meaningful friendships with the people from the Dominican Republic. I will never forget my spring break spent in the Dominican Republic.
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