We woke up to another beautiful morning in Puerta Plata. We all shared a delicious breakfast together at a large wooden table under a palapa. We discussed the day’s events with our fearless professor, Mrs. Ruwe. Once our van arrived to transport us to Dove Missions, we jumped in and away we went. During the bus ride to Dove Missions, we mentally prepare for what the day is going to bring, and at the same time, we stare out the windows taking in all the scenes.
Once we arrived at Dove Missions, we eagerly went upstairs and set up a room in which we would complete assessments for each of the children that were there. We called them into the room a few at a time to assess their height and weight, blood pressure, heart, teeth, and overall health status. Everyone there enjoyed the assessments, and the children smiled throughout the entire experience.
The morning flew by, and soon we were in the van heading to eat a traditional Dominican lunch – a spread of brown and white rice, fried and grilled chicken, mixed vegetables, yuca, and habichuelas. After lunch, the outdoor fun began.
Back at Dove Missions, we went to the basketball court across the street to play games with all the children that were there that afternoon. We organized six teams with a student from Barton as a team leader for each team. We played many different games that became very competitive such as balancing an egg on a spoon or holding a ball between the knees while hopping, skipping, and jumping. After a fun hour of games, we took a group picture and then dispersed to play small games of baseball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball.
Baseball is played in many countries, but in the Dominican Republic, it reigns supreme. The children play with anything that resembles a ball or a bat and strike up impromptu games in the streets or on a playground. Some of us were lucky enough to be able to play a game with the boys at Dove Missions. First and third base were flip-flops, second base was an old red rag, and home plate was a simple stick. The oldest of the boys was in charge of making the teams and calling the plays. The younger boys played on their version of the outfield, and the older boys pitched or played infield. None of the boys had gloves, cleats, hats, or fancy bats. However, they played with the biggest hearts that would rival any MLB player. It was the most impressive thing to see. Out of all the games the children formed on their own, it seemed that baseball was the most organized activity amongst them.
After much play, we ended our day at Dove Missions and headed back to Lóase, our home away from home. We enjoyed dinner together; and we all went to bed exhausted, but with happy hearts.
By Melissa-Jo M. Nason, Nursing major and Nutrition minor, and Kimberlyn Evans, Nursing major and Honors minor
(Follow the experiences of our students as they have been serving in the Dominican Republic during spring break. Visit the blog at the Barton College School of Nursing.)