20 Traditions of the Dominican Republic Mission Trip to Commemorate its 20th Anniversary
March 27, 2019
The Academy mission trip to the Dominican Republic recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of service to the community of La Victoria.
Started by retired Chemistry teacher Rebecca Zambrano with the aid of Seeds of Hope, the first service trip to La Victoria during mini course week was initially intended to be a one-time opportunity. Yet, such success on the first trip determined the eagerness to return and ignited a spark to send other mission trips around the United States and outside of the country during mini course week; this past year, the Academy sent eight mission trips.
In honor of the anniversary of the trip, below is a list of 20 traditions that have been upheld throughout the past 20 years.
- The notorious sock and shoe drive leading up the trip
2. Lugging two suitcases filled with donated shoes with a single backpack for personal belongings on your back through the airports
3. Staying at Santuario de Shoenstatt
4. A presentation of the history of Santuario de Shoenstatt and its mission by an hermana or devoted member of the community on the first night
5. Mass every morning at 6:30
6. Sporting fishing pants and scrubs (fishing shirts, also, on the offchance that it is cool outside)
7. Developing bonds with the locals: Hermana Lourdes, Neñita, Victor, Genáro, and Andrés
8. The grocery trip to La Sireña (similar to a Sam’s Club)
9. The daily palette: Rice, beans, and plátanos
10. Taking on ambitious projects such as constructing basketball hoops for a local high school (2019), beautifying an overwhelmingly wide wall (2019), or building and painting cornhole boards (2018)
“My favorite thing was basketball hoops because we spent so much time at the hardware store and preparing them, so being able to see the children’s faces when we gave the hoops to them was really gratifying,” says Gabby Butler (‘20).
11. Depending on Gatorade chews and packets for energy (and the frequent Kola Real)
12. Sponsoring needy families assigned to us through Seeds of Hope and having the chance to visit them
13. Stations of the Cross which takes you through Santuario de Shoenstatt
14. An English immersion class with the university students
15. Shoe fittings for the children at the malnutrition center, local schools-from elementary to high school, and the people of Santuario de Shoenstatt
Junior Emma Crall says, “Shoe fittings were my favorite because the story of how Jesus wipes the feet of his disciples became real when we wiped the feet of the children.”
16. One night when the senior leaders cook for the hermanas and the rest of the group, followed by performances by the community of La Victoria and from the Academy group
17. Singing to the sick and elderly
18. Cornrows on the final night
19. Dancing with the young orphan girls at the orphanage nearby
20. Singing Alabare every night after prayer service, at the airport, and whenever a pick-me-up is needed.