The azure water of the Caribbean Sea was breathtaking as we made our descent into Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I was not familiar with the airport, so for a few anxious moments, I thought our descent would be into the sea. Thankfully, the runway came into view and a mere two hours after leaving American soil, we were in another country with another culture to explore.
My friends tease me about being gone all the time. Instead of protesting, as I usually do, I’m going to embrace it. I love to travel! I enjoy visiting different parts of the world and seeing how others live. Because I live in an empty nest, I have the freedom to do so.
That is how I ended up on a 3-day trip to the Dominican Republic.
I was in a historian’s bliss walking the streets of colonial Santo Domingo, marveling at the 500 year old city walls. I was mesmerized by the waters of the Caribbean Sea. I enjoyed sampling the local cuisine – from pork cracklings salad to homemade candies to grilled octopus. Oh, so good!
But, that was not the purpose of our quick trip. My husband and I were traveling with a group from Orphan’s Heart to attend the dedication of homes built for local families by teams of Orphan’s Heart volunteers. The project began in 2013 with the goal of building 100 homes for needy families. We participated in the dedication of the first 50. (There are 61 completed). Families will begin moving in this weekend. Some of them will be making the transition from dwellings with dirt floors, no electricity or running water to modern homes. A dream come true.
We met one such family in the very home that will be theirs. They were beaming with pride, looking forward to moving into their new home.
The homes surround a church which will also serve as a community center. To one side of the church, there are 39 foundations poured for the remainder of the houses to be built. All that is needed are the funds to continue.
If you would like to find out more about this Orphan’s Heart Project in the Dominican Republic, click here. It is an informative site where you can make an online donation, sponsor a child or even sign up to go on a mission trip.
It was a whirlwind of a trip, just 61 hours-somewhat surreal to travel only a few hours, yet be immersed in a culture and climate so different.