Back in 2016, I was lucky enough to be a part of the LifeTouch Memory Mission trip to the Dominican Republic and I was a representative of AASA, The Superintendent’s Association. I wrote about that set of life-changing experiences on my blog — BLOG POSTS ABOUT TRIP IN 2016 and
And I also wrote about that trip three years later, Link to Anniversary Post
This summer, July 30-August 6, I went on a reunion trip to the Dominican Republic, to Constanza, La Vega, to the Cecaini School in Rio Grande. Through the next few blog posts, I’m sharing my reflections.
Once major personal “peak moment” for me on this current trip is that my son came with me! With words and images, I am trying to do my best at telling our story — of our life-changing, humbling, impactful, and seriously amazing set of experiences! Thanks for reading 🙂
July 30, 2022
Mike and Justin leave the USA and head to the Dominican Republic. Beyond the 4:30am wake up and the 8pm arrival at the hotel at our destination, the “dash” or the “in between” is what really matters. We woke up, we were mentally prepared for the journey — eager with excitement, anxious with anticipation, and uncertain of all the details working out (plane from ORD to MIA from MIA to SDQ, meeting with the group, getting on the bus, making it to the middle of the Dominican Republic, meeting new friends, getting ready to immerse in another culture in a new land, etc.).
The journey, the adventure, the learning, the service, the reflection, the “what now” is what’s really cool about all of this! Justin and I are two of four people from Illinois. There are others from Minnesota, Arkansas, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, and of course, our hosts from the Dominican Republic.
After we arrived at our hotel, our home base in Constanta, DR for the week, we ate dinner. Food is a huge part of culture, dining together is a nice, subtle way to embrace and immerse in the new and different. Following dinner we engaged in some cool orientation and get to know you activities, we thought, we spoke, we shared, we even jumped around and danced a bit, all in the spirit of living and serving in the present.
Pastor Angel, our host and the local visionary leader who is responsible for so much good in the communities he serves and represents welcomed us. He shared the history of the past decade of work in the communities (school building, community center, government acknowledgement and support, and more). He thanked us for being part of the mission, vision, values, and goals of so many, and the impact and legacy of the service. We’re invited friends and partners. We serve and learn along side our Dominican hosts.
We are here in the service of humanity and the bond of love and service. As an educator and as a father, it’s great to see my two worlds integrate and unite.
Over the past decade, and due to Angel’s hard work, leadership, and vision, he acknowledged the “harvest” of good from all of this fellowship. This is his community; we are invited members, servant leaders from so many groups (including World Servants, the group we’re with on this trip) and we are now part of the DNA of Constanta and the La Vega/Rio Grande region.
Some images of our 4 hour bus ride up from sea level in Santo Domingo to about 4000 feet altitude. More to come this week! Thanks for checking our this set of peak moments for me and Justin.