dominicanrepublicandgsupt
dominicanrepublicandgsupt
Dominican Diaries
Capturing moments of the August 2018 GSU DPT program study abroad trip to Peurto Plata, Dominican Republic
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Every day was an adventure with my class. We provided services for a week, but we had such a great time with each other, with the Dominican people, and with our coworkers that it did not feel like we were working. My favorite memory on the trip was when we visited a nursing home. We provided physical therapy to all the residents, and at first it was a bit hard for them to warm up. We asked the workers at the nursing home how they found the residents, and they said they were abandoned. It's sad to hear that these elders had no one else. We decided to have a little dance party with them, and I loved to see how dance opened them up. All the residents lit up with excitement after hearing the music and began to dance. Even though there was a bit of a language barrier, I felt like I connected so much with all the residents at this time. Although the purpose was to encourage movement and exercise, all the residents and all of us working with them saw it as just pure fun. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with these wonderful residents and to provide light and happiness to their day. This is a picture of their beautiful courtyard taken at the nursing home.- Sterly Philip
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This trip was an amazing experience where I had the opportunity to improve my teamwork, creativity, and physical therapy skills all while being able to serve a community in need. The one thing that impacted me the most during this trip was being able to learn and experience a different culture. There were three cultural differences that stuck out to me. The first difference was in regards to the animals. The animals in the DR, particularly cats and dogs, lived outside and served a purpose which did not include being beloved pets. This was difficult for me to witness and abide to because I have a strong love of animals. Luckily, we had “Dominicat” who adopted us for the week, and who is in this picture. The second cultural difference was how positive and happy the people were who we helped serve. They were all very happy with what they had, even though to us it seemed like they had very little. They would even give us a bag of mangos as a gift of thanks every time we would visit their community. The third cultural difference that stuck out to me was the sense of community. We had the opportunity to educate health promoters from the community, and they stated that they were very grateful for us because we were able to provide them with the knowledge and skills to help them to better serve those in their community. It was very eye opening to witness a group of people who seemed to have so little be so grateful and place others before themselves. I believe that I may have learned more from the people of Severe and Montellano than they learned from me, and I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity. - Liz Schneider
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This trip to the Dominican Republic was truly an eye opening and an amazing experience that I will never forget! One of my favorite moments of the trip was working with my small group and the community workers to construct a pathway outside of the pharmacy and community center HHI was working on. Together as a team we learned how to mix concrete, shoveled and filled many buckets with the concrete we had mixed, and then transported those buckets to where the concrete would be smoothed out for a walkway. It was a humbling experience to see how much hard work, sweat, and strength it takes to create a sidewalk with minimal tools. Being able to work as a team with not only my classmates but alongside individuals who lived within the community and would one day use the sidewalk to get to the pharmacy was incredible. I was so impressed by how much we accomplished as a team in a short amount of time with a language barrier and in the blazing sun. I was so thankful for this opportunity and I will always have a special place in my heart for the community of Severet. - Taylor Hemmerick
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"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Gandhi. Not only was this trip eye opening from start to finish but I truly believe we are leaving as better students, educators and individuals from the experience and lessons on life this community gave us. We don't live in a world that is all our own, and we make a life by what we can give back to others; we often underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a helping hand or a small act of caring, all of which can turn a life around. We may have been able to make an instant impact on the community in more ways than one this week, but the community helped give me a new perspective on life, opened my heart, and showed me that true happiness is in the unselfish caring of others. I loved being able to interact with the local families, learn from them, listen and talk with them despite the language barrier and see the joy in these kids eyes when we played and laughed after a long day of work. Our time spent here is invaluable and I am forever grateful to HHI and Comunidad Connect for making this trip a reality and to this community for allowing us to be a part of their lives even for a little bit. - Ashley Miller
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Friday was the culminating experience of why we came to the DR and working with this group was fantastic. All of us worked well together and had a wonderful time treating the community for their ailments. It was neet to see the 4 of us approach things differently to reach the same goal.- Jake Jensen
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Bus sing a long, led by one of our interpreters, Eli.
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This was my 4th study abroad trip that I have directed for the GSU PT program. During this week abroad, I sit back and watch the students come to life. They are all on their way to great things, and this week is just the spark to wonderful beginnings.- Anne Lorio
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This is my favorite picture on the trip because we were in the process of building a community center in the village of Severet and a little girl started helping me fill the buckets with rocks. You could tell she was interested in what we were doing and she wanted to help. She was very shy but I managed to speak to her in broken Spanish and it was an amazing experience to not only participate in the manual labor of building a community center but also to connect with the local people of the village. - Helen To
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This trip was amazing and one that I will never forget. I don’t take many pictures so I did not take many on this trip either. Even if I had taken more pictures this would still be one of my favorites by far. I love this photo because it represents the conditions under which these people live, the beauty of the countryside, and most importantly the happiness of the community to receive help and develop their community. Although the conditions may not be up to our standards as Americans they are more than happy with life and how they live. This attitude truly gives one a chance to reflect on how blessed we are to live where clean water and access to medical and physical attention can be provided at the snap of a finger. With the country being as beautiful as it is many people come to visit to enjoy the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic. Although many visit they do not see the true state of the inhabitants of this country so many of their needs go unnoticed due to being overshadowed by the natural attractions. This is disheartening because these great people would truly benefit and appreciate any help that can be given to help develop the country and build viable infrastructure. Lastly, the happiness shown in this photo is truly why more people should participate in trips like these. Even though the Dominican people were happily living under conditions that we would find uninhabitable they were an extremely joyful and grateful people. The excitement of the children chasing after the bus was truly beautiful. While building the medical center the Dominican people also showed their pride as they wanted things done correctly and would definitely let us know if we weren’t doing the job up to par. I hope to participate in another trip like this one sometime in the near future.- Jonathan Brown
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This experience was one that opened my eyes to many things. We can't even imagine what parts of this world look like until you see it with your own eyes. This trip has shown me that our lives are about perspective. To us, we had the opportunity to help a community that is full of poverty and lack of resources. But whats amazing is that to them this is a happy, wonderful life. Every individual we interacted with was filled with positivity and were thankful for our work and service. This sunset was breathtaking and one like I've never seen before. But more than that it reminded me that you can find beauty in all parts of the world if you look hard enough. I'm infinitely grateful for the time spent in this country and for the education and service we could provide to these wonderful people! - Peyton Chambliss
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Dominos in the airport... a new favorite game
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Quote from our lovely, 76 year old patient seated in the middle: “You must love yourself and then you can love others!” Spoken in Spanish...she truly ministered to us all!- Carla Huggins
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This week in the DR was such a humbling and rewarding experience. The HHI staff was so welcoming and eager to learn as much as they could from us. They were all engaged and interested in what physical therapy was and how they could continue providing the work we started this week. They made us feel like a part of their family and were so thankful to have us there this week. I will forever cherish the memories and friendships made with this organization, and pray that they are able to continue doing great things amongst their communities. - Caitlyn Matthews
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This picture is from our service day at Hogar de Ancianos. Liz and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with and serve some of the elderly population of Puerto Plata along with the facility’s staff. The building was decorated with this beautiful mural and the residents and staff were very friendly and welcoming.- Erika Rogers 
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Providing physical therapy to patients in a third world country was rewarding. Mixing concrete by hand to build kitchen floors was “fun.” But interacting with the families and the children of the village was life changing. No matter the language barrier, children forego awkward introductions and instead run up to you, link arms, and start running in circles til your stomach turns and you can’t stop laughing like you are a 5 year old all over again. They warm up quickly to you as if you are instant best friends and are saddened to see you leave. The abundance of happiness they have with how little possessions they own was eye opening. They taught me that “less truly is more.” - Danielle Mikula
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Christopher Columbus
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