Power of Giving Level: Experienced by Arianna Bennett

The last full day of Dominican life. I feel our concrete pouring was much more productive today because we knew what we were doing. Although only one house was finished today it seemed that all the workers were really thankful to have us for the most part. I mean, we got the hang of it. But we did get to connect with the kids a lot today. They willingly joined us in our hunt for trash (permanently supervised by Irene), literally over the hill and through the woods. They raced us and pulled mangos down from trees for us, which I found cool because back in America you would have to go through the trouble of taking it home and washing it in sterile water before taking a bite. Here, because there are no chemicals or fertilizer to make the foliage grow, you don’t really need to wash and dry before eating. However that does seem to correspond with the fact that they have no clean running water here to wash with. I also noticed that one of the workers mentioned that Americans who come to help do not usually do complicated work such as lay concrete. And from what I have heard, they do get a lot of help from America. Or at least it’s the only country that really helps much at all. So as backbreaking and sweaty the work was these past 2 days, I think actually going into the peoples’ homes and making a legitimate difference in their daily lives was definitely worth it. We also had our final chance to give away bathroom and school supplies, along with our 10 dollar gift to a child. In giving out the items to the church (while in service) I found that they didn’t just see us as another group of white people coming in to the rescue. They told us God bless, and have a safe trip back home. The sweet little girl who I gave my present to smiled and squeaked out a mild thank you. They all waved and yelled American good-byes after our bus, and that’s when I noticed that everyone we passed on the streets recognized our bus and waved and smiled as we drove by. That’s when I really realized what we came here to do had been done. We made an impact and the most important part, in my opinion, was that we did it in a way no one else ever had. Going home tomorrow is going to be depressing and I wish I could stay here on the island just a little while longer. But the year ahead of us with the Ryan Nece Foundation is going to be full of more opportunities to experience the power of giving.