>> April 2, 2013
The second day, I played with some other girls, and it was similar. I really loved learning from them. I feel when you get older you feel that children should be taught—that they don’t have much to teach you. But here, in El Baté, I didn’t come to “help the poor kids” or make myself feel better about the world, or to teach them about how I live. I came to learn and have fun while helping them change their own future for what they wanted. I didn’t teach them any English. I asked them “¿Cómo se dice...?” and “¿Cómo estás?” By the last day (with Mira’s help), I was able to carry on short conversations and get to know them. It feels really good to speak to the kids in their own language.
In America, we often expect that the rest of the world will know our language and our customs. We don’t expect that maybe WE should be the ones learning new languages or customs. Being American and reaching out to a culture on their terms and not mine, made me feel like I was breaking a stereotype. The experience was so much richer because of the language barrier.
The D.R. has been my favorite place so far. I love the city and El Baté, and the children we worked with, as well as waking up in such a beautiful place. It makes me recognize what is important to me, and gives me ideas for my future. I hope one day I’ll be able to see what impact my short time in the D.R. has been, and perhaps someday I’ll return to help finish this.
The last thing I said to the last little girl was, “Adiós, mi amiga. Gracias por compartir tu escuela, tu vida, y tu Corazón. Gracias, te quiero” I meant it.
They were quick to jump on our backs and hold our hands as we walked through El Baté.