Jan Term Day 12: 21 Jan 2017


Well, the trip has come to an end. We found ourselves awaking early in the morning (3:30am/est) to catch our taxi ride to the airport. Our flight departed at 7:20am (6:20am/est). Check in and security at the SDQ airport is not the same as we experience in America, to say the least. But, all went well and we found our seats for the 3.5 hour flight back the US. We landed at JFK airport in NYC and had two hours to clear customs and find our gate for the last leg of the journey. We were all amazed at the ease of clearing customs. WHEW! Last time I went through customs at JFK was ten years ago and this process was much better. We had an hour to spare when we finally made it to the concourse.


The McDaniel team hanging out while awaiting our flight out of JFK.

However, our eagerness of returning was stunted when we learned we had a delay in our flight due to mechanical issues on our plane. Consequently, our 12:20 departure finally occurred at 5:01 pm – a 4.5 hour delay. This was the only hiccup in the whole trip so not a problem. We were glad to return to our familiar surroundings and thank Tracy for shuttling us from campus to the airport and back to campus. What a trooper!

We visited six different deaf schools, the team taught their 30 minute-lesson 26 times reaching about 225 Deaf students during their time in the country. Dottie and I witnessed a transformation in the McDaniel team from the first time they taught to the last time they taught. We also witnessed the enthusiasm of the Deaf students in learning the concept of fossils and dinosaurs through the lessons presented. The teachers were amazed at the students’ response to our lessons and were pleased with what they witnessed.

I have not been back to the Dominican Republic in two years. I was pleasantly pleased at the progress that has been made with the government hiring Deaf individuals to work in the deaf schools through the country, particularly the capital area. This has not been the case since I began going to the DR. The government began hiring Deaf adults to work in the schools to assist in providing language experiences to the Deaf students in 2015. We witnessed three Deaf assistants at the San Cristobal school, six Deaf assistants at the Centro Cristiano de Educacion Para Sordos school in Sabana Perdida, twelve Deaf assistants at the National school, and four Deaf assistants at the Santa Rosa school. What a change!!! There is still a need to improve the instruction of reading and writing for Deaf children in the DR but, for now, students are being exposed to visual language and developing a strong foundation in their first language in order to build the second language.


As this year’s trip comes to an end, I look forward to the next visit with a McDaniel Jan Term group. Until then, I will just revel in one of the views during our down time, a view that incites a feeling of peace, quiet, and reflection.

Salud, Dr. Mark M. Rust





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