By DK Talifu
During SPARC week I went to the Dominican Republic with Mrs. Wallace and Ms. Massingill. I had a great time there. So much happened, but here are two of my best memories.
The first one happened the first day we were in the Dominican Republic. Before we arrived, Mrs. Wallace told us that only one percent of the Dominican’s population can go to college in the Dominican Republic and more than fifty percent quit school education when they were around thirteen. People had also told me that this place is the loudest country in the world. I thought Dominicans would be rude to other people.
When we actually arrived in Santo Domingo, we left from the airport. The scenery attracted us a lot. We could see fantastic views. The weather was humid, typical of a tropical rainy climate. Some coco trees stood near the street. I found that most Dominicans ride motorcycles with loud music. Some people slowly walk on the streets. To my surprise, when I saw these people, they always smiled and said “Hola”. If I replied, they might walk in front of me, lean in close to my face and make a kissing sound. At first, this felt weird. I am not very easy going around strangers. Sometimes, I just ignored the people that did this, but they would still approach and greet me. No matter what I did, they all gave me a big smile and a greeting. In a short time, I had changed my mind about Dominicans. They were friendly to everyone.
The second memory was made at a Dominican school called Doulos Discovery School, which is in Jarabacoa city. On the school campus they have a big Japanese garden. Hanging on the trees they had some boards with Chinese words written on them. These words talk about the relationship between knowledge and life. When we walked into the garden, I realized these boards don’t make sense. So I asked Mrs. Wallace and she told me, “They built this garden several years ago to commemorate the Japanese land owner. But in here, no one understands the language. Finally some American volunteers used Google translation to finish the boards.” It’s why a lot of them made no sense. I had the opportunity to carefully rewrite on the new boards. How cool is that?! I never thought I would use my first language to write on boards in a school garden in the Dominican Republic! It was a great trip and I’m so glad I went.