From Jan. 2 through Jan. 9, a group of Wilson College students traveled to the Dominican Republic on a medical Spanish mission trip.
Led by Dr. Carolyn Hart, Director of the Nursing Program, and Wendell Smith, one of Wilson’s Spanish professors, the week was full of new experiences. The students and staff served three days in the bateyes and one day in the city setting up medical clinics with Good Samaritan Hospital. The bateyes are communities of people who live in among the sugarcane fields. The mobile medical clinics provide treatments for many patients. They are able to provide basic care and medicine at an affordable rate to the people. The students finished their week enjoying a day at the Caribbean Ocean.
At the bateyes, the group was able to treat patients as well as communicate with them and playing with the children. For the most part, the children spoke Spanish, but some of them were familiar with English. Many people on the trip noted that the children were very friendly and loved making friends with the students.
“My favorite part of the trip was getting the opportunity to expand and use my Spanish skill. It was fun to interact with the children and learn from them,” Ashley Horn ‘18 remarked.
Students were able to experience firsthand how different life is in the Dominican Republic. They walked to the local supermarket and businesses. They saw what goes on during the night in the Dominican. Many people are usually outside on their porches or walking the streets as well.
“The Dominican Republic is different in many ways. In the Dominican Republic, you do not see as many people driving cars. Most people walk to where they need to go, they own motorcycles or they take taxies,” Alison Shockey ‘20 commented.
The group also traveled to the local hospital for an afternoon during their time there, where they were able to see the different departments of the hospital and how they were different.
“Not everyone in the Dominican Republic has access to health care, it is very limited. Also, being a nursing major, I learned that to become a certified nurse you do not need to take a boards exam after you finish your schooling. In the United States, to become a Registered Nurse (RN), you must take the NCLEX exam after you graduate with your BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing), in the Dominican Republic they do not have this,” Shockey ‘20 added.
The Dominican Republic was an eye opener for many. In the bateyes, most people do not have adequate water nor do they have a plethora of clothing with them. These people are not worrying about the latest IPhone; they are grateful for what they have.
“This trip definitely impacted my life. I think everyone should be required to do some type of mission work to see what it’s like to be in a poverty state,” Horn ‘18 commented.
Overall the trip to the Dominican Republic was successful. The students that went on the trip obtained more knowledge about healthcare and Spanish. The next medical Spanish mission trip is tentatively scheduled for 2020 while fundraisers are being planned for 2019 to help offset the cost of the trip.