MSOE Dominican Republic Update Aug 28

Day 4:

Today started out a little different than usual, none of the guys liked getting up for breakfast at 7:30 A.M. but it was a necessity since our camp for the improverished kids of Quisqueya (the town where MLB player Alfonso Soriano is from). The drive to this small town inland from the coast was less crowded than that of the city driving, but the landscape was comparable to that of Wisconsin cornfields and open plains, with the exception that the fields were sugar cane. On the bus ride there, our guide and travel aid informed us of the history of the island and the relations between the Haitians and Dominican which was rather interesting. One thing we didn’t mind learning while we were out of school. As we approached the town and the gymnasium, the conditions of the poor area became quite apparent. The gym was basically a tin shed where the basketball court was unplayable with rotting areas on the wooden court as well as a significant layer of dirt and grim which provided for absolutely zero traction. The camp had about 40 kids there ranging from the ages of 7-18 which we split into four groups to run the camp. The language barrier again provided for difficult communication, relying on gesticulation and body movements to get our lessons and activities across to these children. Their club was greatful for all the basketballs we donated as well as the children being ecstatic for the clothing and shoes we brought to them. The shoes were so important to these children that they would fight over them in order to come out as the owner of a used pair of shoes. After a small lunch and photo session with the kids, we proceeded to play two short games of half court 5 on 5 to ten points by ones and twos which we split 1-1 with the club team. This gym was by far the hottest one to this point, possibly being triple digits with a likely 80-90% humidity. As we left the gym, all the children surrounded the bus asking for anything we could give, even our socks we just used in the game. We gave them as much as we could before we left. Once we got back to the hotel, showered and ate, we headed back into Santo Domingo to see the First Cathedral of the New World where Christopher Columbus was buried until 1992. Afterwards, we hit the market for some goods. This place was quite chaotic, every last person trying to persuade you to buy their goods and basically herding each of us into their shops. The best part was being able to barter and get the price that best fit us. The rest of the night was free for us to wonder aimlessly about the resort having fun in whatever way we could find. These next excerpts are feelings from the players about the poverty encountered in today’s camp at Quisqueya. Continue reading

MSOE University Dominican Tour Update

The Three EyesDay 1 (August 25):
The team was alive and ready to travel this morning despite the fact that we were up before the crack of dawn. We arrived at O’Hare rather early so the down time was spent eating McDonald’s breakfast and bickering about top 50 NBA players. The flight was rather smooth to Miami and a first experience for some on the team. We grabbed a quick bite at Pizza Hut burning a hole through our pockets. The slight layover in Miami went quick due to the anxiousness of the guys to get to the resort for some all you can eat buffets especially (Eric) Bohrer. After about an hour and a half flight, we safely arrived to the Dominican Republic, but the traveling wasn’t quite over. We took a short bus ride and arrived at our paradise resort with large beautiful rooms with all the amenities. The rest of the night was spent eating and recovering from the day of travel, given there was some fun injected in those last few hours before bed. Continue reading