Darlington School: Dominican Republic Trip Update Day 5: The Spirit of Thanksgiving
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Dominican Republic Trip Update Day 5: The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Jennifer Rundles | November 23, 2018 | 248 views

Happy Thanksgiving!!  The students and faculty spent the morning completing the aqueduct service project.  Following the hard work of the morning everyone had an afternoon/evening of fun and relaxation filled with waterfalls, turkey, and s’mores. 

When we woke up at 7:15 this morning, the blazing sun, the palm trees lining our hotel pool, and the distance from our loved ones made it hard to feel like it was truly Thanksgiving Day. Regardless, we armed ourself with positivity and a pancake breakfast and gathered onto the buses to commence another day of hard work in the small village of Sabaneta De La Joya.

With most of the trenches already dug from the previous day, we worked in pairs to lay down pipes and complete the finishing touches for the project. We were tired from the previous days of work, but the finish line was near. Working as a team in conjunction with the local workers, we powered through and finished the aqueducts before lunch. As we stood admiring the fruits of our labor, the local community leaders stood around us and lead a prayer. They then proceeded to shake the hands of every single student. Their thankfulness and gratitude radiated from their smiles. That morning, even under the pulsating Dominican sun, it truly felt like Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving, a small village Jarabacoa is thankful for running water, and we are thankful for the opportunity to contribute to their joy. Each of us on this earth has a duty to be an agent for change, and this Thanksgiving we were able to use our strength, hope, compassion and sweat to make a huge difference in the lives of others. 

After finishing the aquaducts, we had the opportunity for a relaxing cool down and visited a local waterfall. Before going back to hotel, we took the opportunity to make a stop in Jarabacoa for a hand-made smoothie and snack shopping for the bus ride tomorrow as we will embark on the next part of our journey to Santo Domingo. 

At last, we headed back for an amazing Dominican-style Thanksgiving dinner and shared what we are thankful for with each other. The hotel staff’s amazing turkey gave us another reason to be thankful and helped the day feel a step closer to a traditional Thanksgiving Day. Although we did not have our families with us, we had our new family and friendships made through this amazing opportunity.

The day finished with a quick meeting with the group and s’mores over an open fire under the Dominican moon. There was a lot of laughter as we ate our makeshift s’mores and reflected on the accomplishments of the day. One thing is certain, we are all thankful for these past few days in the Dominican Republic and Darlington for bringing us together.  

- Marissa Joseph and Johanna Schoug