As our trip comes to an end I find myself looking back at everything that I have both learned and accomplished. Having never been out of the United States (besides Canada) I was not entirely sure what to expect. I think that the most important thing that I gained from this trip is a new perspective; a new perspective not only through experiencing a different education system but seeing a completely different way of life as well. I feel incredibly lucky for all that I have back at home, although I was aware that other countries were not as fortunate, it was not until seeing it in person that it really set in.
Impoverishment is such a powerful and devastating aspect of life and seeing its effect on families and their children makes it all the more heartbreaking. Something I often thought about when working with the preschool class was their innocence. Everyday they would play, laugh, or argue like any other four year old would but they have no idea of their hardships to come. I seemed to have an instant bond with one of the girls, she acted as somewhat of a shadow every day that I was there. I specifically remember an instance where I was holding her on my side and she was looking at me laughing and all that I could think of is “don’t ever grow up.” In the Dominican Republic there is an especially high rate of prostitution, it is common for girls to marry before the age of 18, have children as teenagers, and just overall not have the opportunity to have a life that every woman/girl deserves. As I was holding this beautiful, spirited little girl it broke my heart to imagine her in 12 years living that sort of lifestyle. The innocence of a child is something that I sometimes wish I had. I wish that things such as a secure education, daily meals, or a safe place to live were not an issue. However, organizations such as the Mariposa Foundation give me hope that change is happening. I hope that this enforcement for change grows to something even larger. Change is possible, and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of this movement towards ending generational poverty.