A question I am often asked is what would I like to do with my life. The answer is not so simple, it is impossible for just one thing to sum up all my aspirations. I want to see the world, speak multiple languages, meet amazing people, and most of all help others. This all began with my participation with a summer program where I was sent to the Dominican Republic as a volunteer.
In my small community of 3,000 my partners and I began our work. We had to plan, organize, and execute a project for the community. We began by talking with the people. Everyone was enthused with the idea of adding something needed to the community, but the question was what? It needed to be sustainable, useful, and most of all helpful to the community as a whole. We soon realized that a general consensus of the people was a need for books in the school library. We were surprised to learn that there was under 10 books. Thus began our mission to raise money and talk to important leaders who would help make our goal happen. Although it was challenging at times due to the language barriers, they eventually disappeared. My ability in spanish flourished everyday. I could communicate sufficiently and truly dedicated myself to the language.
The most challenging part of the whole experience was raising the money. I soon found that unlike most people in the United States, people there did not have money to spare. It made me aware not only of my own thoughtless spending, but also how there are more important things then money, such as the love these people demonstrated.
The people were perhaps my best part of the whole trip. Never have i felt so welcomed and loved by a group of people i barely knew. Through our differences i learned we were not so different. Regardless of religion, background, culture it was amazing to see our similarities as we sat back, talked and laughed. My host family referred to be as there sister, daughter, granddaughter. I not only have my family in Utah, but also in the Dominican Republic.
Although we faced challenges in our mission to create the library I would say it was ultimately success. The funds we did raise began involvement in the community members. It was sustainable like our goal was and even after i left, i knew the community would continue to strive for the library.
Never have i been more appreciative for even the simple things i have, such as books. At the same time I came to the realization that there are more important things then material possessions. I not only discovered more of the world, but also myself.
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