A Week in Paradise

By: Dakota Gillespie

This year I was fortunate enough to go on the trip of a lifetime to the Dominican Republic.

On this trip I was accompanied by my peers, teachers, and other friends. We began by meeting at the Brook Hill campus at 5:00 am and from there we drove to the DFW airport to begin our series of plane rides before entering this tropical paradise.

We arrived in Santa Domingo around 4:30 and drove for a few hours until it was dinner time. For our first night in the Dominican Republic we settled on having pizza, but this pizza was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before… Instead of the usual greasy pizza many Americans (including myself) are used to, this pizza made me feel like drops of heaven had been sprinkled across my tongue after each and every bite.

This moment was the first of many I would experience on this amazing trip.

On the first actual day of our trip we went to a church that only spoke Spanish at their sermon, but luckily there was a translator to help the non-fluent speakers understand what the people were saying to them. Afterwards we took a tour around the town of Jarabacoa with a volunteer at the Wallace’s coffee farm named Ines. She took us to all of her favorite spots to visit and restaurants and even by Doulos Discovery School which the Wallaces helped found. Afterwards we went to a hamburger restaurant named Carrito de Moshe and I was proven, yet again, that Dominican cooking is superior to American cooking.

On the second and third day, we served at the Doulos Discovery School. Some of us painted while some of us did lawn work; the choice was ours. Those who painted had to paint every picnic table that the school had and those who were doing lawn work did all kinds of things from picking up trash, to raking every grassy area on campus, to mowing fields. At the end of the third day we went on a scavenger hunt with one member of the group.

After school on the third day we stayed the night with a student from Doulos and their family in their home. Everyone enjoyed staying with the family they were placed with and had nothing but great things to say about their experience.

On our fourth day we hiked up Spirit Mountain, through the Wallace’s coffee plantation, to the cottages that are on top of the mountain where we played campfire games and had some great bonding time.

On the fifth day we hiked down Spirit Mountain with another group from the US that was touring the coffee farm, and headed home a little afterwards.

On our sixth and final day we had a fun day at the beach and saw twenty-seven waterfalls. We woke up, ate breakfast, etc. and got ready to leave the house for our last day of enjoyment in a place I had begun to call my home. A taxi picked us up and drove us to twenty-seven waterfalls where we climbed up seven of the twenty-seven waterfalls and slid or jumped back down all of them. After we had  gotten back in the taxi we drove a little further to the beach. Once again we were let loose with a friend from the group for a few hours after we had an amazing pizza lunch. We shopped for a while and met up after we were finished having an awesome beach day together. Sadly the night had to end and we started our journey back to the Wallaces’ to get some rest before our flight in the morning.

When we woke up the taxi was on its way, so we packed our bags and waited. Eventually the driver arrived and we piled in, sad that our trip truly was over. We got to the airport and ate brunch before we started again our series of plane rides . We arrived back in Dallas in what seemed like no time; we talked a little about the new memories we had shared and said our goodbyes.

Going on that trip to the Dominican Republic was an amazing once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

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