DAY 8 – National School (Santo Domingo) 22 March 2013

Today was a bittersweet day for many of the students on the trip. We had been to 3 deaf schools and many of the students have seen things and heard stories they have never been exposed t0; and, for some, it was emotional and a life changing experience.

Today we went to the national school for the deaf in Santa Domingo, which was the biggest school we worked at all week. Every group had to teach their lesson 9 times throughout the day. Today many of the students that went on the trip were mentally and physically exhausted from taking in so many new things in such a small amount of time but still enjoyed the last day working with the deaf kids in the school.

Sydney in action.

Sydney in action.

We woke up not as early as other morning and met around 8:00 in the morning to go to the bakery down the street. My personal favorite item was the ham and cheese croissant with an apple juice. After everyone had their breakfast we picked up our favorite driver, Hector, and we were off to the National School for the Deaf. This school was automatically one of my favorite schools just because they provided us with water as soon as we started teaching, which was very nice because that school was probably the hottest of all of the schools. This school also had the biggest range of students from ages 4 to 20. Some of us  felt a little weird teaching people who were older then us, or our age, but we soon felt comfortable because 20 year olds here are very different then 20 year olds in Santa Domingo.

By today, everyone had their lessons down and had a rotation down from doing it so much this week. We worked with about 6 groups before we got a break while the kids had recess. Some of us went outside and played with the kids while others, like Joe, and myself, stayed inside. As hot as it was from just sitting down, I knew that if I went outside and got sweaty I might pass out from a heat stroke so I decided to stay in and chat a little. I felt like I made the wise decision because Justin had been outside and through a few lessons couldn’t stop sweating and I was afraid I might have to use my CPR skills on him. Lol jk.

Erin explaining the patterns of the planets.

Erin explaining the patterns of the planets.

Going through the materials regarding the seasons.

Going through the materials regarding the seasons.

After the break we continued our lessons with the kids but seemed to get a little more difficult because Casey, Justin and I all have tattoos and we had the mistake of showing them before the lesson and the kids would want to talk about tattoos the whole time. We adjusted and finished up nicely. After everyone finished their lessons around 1:15 or so, we all got a chance to sign with the kids and take pictures. One of Maria’s kids gave her a beautiful bracelet for Maria to keep and remember her by. Maria was very touched by this act of kindness and will always remember that little girl.

After we were done with our last school, it was a bittersweet moment for us. We were happy that we were done teaching but also sad that we were done making such a big difference in these children’s lives by just signing with them and teaching them new things.

After we were done eating, some of us wanted to go to the El Conde to buy some souvenirs for our families while others just wanted to relax by the pool. Emily, Erin, Maria, Casey and I went to the El Conde where I got my father and boyfriend a little something along with Casey who got her boyfriend something. After we were done, Emily and I got into the van to wait for the rest of the students when Mark pointed out across the street, a man giving away free puppies. Emily and I instantly dashed over and fell in love with these innocent cute puppies. We thought it was kind of the man to at least try and give them away other then abandon them or kill them, which usually happens to puppies without homes. When we got back to the hotel, we all went to the pool to enjoy our last day at the beautiful pool and our awesome employee, Alex. We stayed for a while soaking up the last bite of sun we could before we had to go back and start getting ready for our banquet diner with everyone. Maria, Casey and I decided to go a little fancy and wore dresses and had the pleasure of being honked at every 5 seconds, even though Athan said they were probably honking at him.

Athan going through the motions of explaining constellations.

Athan going through the motions of explaining constellations.

When we arrived at the restaurant we had all planned to eat and then hurry to the casino to enjoy our last night at the hotel. Our other guests however came a little late and our 1.5 hour dinner lasted 3.5 hours. On a better note, the food was delicious and gave us a opportunity to sign with some of the deaf natives. After we were done eating it was emotional for some of us to say our last good byes to Hector and his wife and the president of the deaf club and his wife. It took about 30 minutes to say bye but eventually did and we made our way back to the hotel. Some of us went to the casino for a little but were pretty tired from the day and called it quits early.

Here is our crew saying good bye to our new friends.

Here is our crew saying good bye to our new friends.

This was a very special trip for me because my father’s family is from Santa Domingo and the president of the deaf club offered to help me find some family if I give him names of my family members. It was nice seeing where my family came from and made me appreciate more of what I have and how lucky I am to live in America. This was a life changing experience for many of us and we will never forget the kids we met along the journey. I would like to speak for all the students on the trip and give a big thanks to Mark Rust for having brought us here and opened our minds and see new things, both good an bad. We will never forget this spring break.

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