Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 6 by Luna

Today was our last day of community service work, and we definitely got a great feeling of accomplishment. We spent a second day in the barrio, putting up the final pieces of the house for the family. I helped to add the last couple of boards to the walls and put together a window. A few of us stayed for an extra hour or so to clean the floor and carry the materials down the hill. Almost all of the people who stayed were SLAers! I love to think that tonight that family will have a stable, secure place to sleep. It’s raining right now, and they are dry.

While we were working on the house, we passed out gift bags to the children. The bags had useful things like hairbrushes, toothbrushes, pencils, and tissues. They also had cute toys like bouncy balls and bubbles. The kids loved it all. Little gifts like that wouldn’t matter much to people who already have lots of stuff, but even just a pack of crayons brought so much joy to the people in the barrio.

Tonight, for our group discussion, we divided up into three groups. Some of us presented on thebarrio, some on Brisón, and some on Ascención. We talked about what was sustainable and what was not sustainable in each of the places. We all agreed that many of these places do not rely on energy, which is good. On the other hand, none of the places had sustainable supplies of food or water. In all of the places, the poorest people are forced to live in the places where food and/or water are the least accessible. They have little ability to be sustainable because of how few tools or natural resources they have. We discussed how more and more people around the world are forced to live in these situations.

We ended our discussion on a bright note: Dave asked people to stand up and say what they are going to change when they get back home. Many people talked about spreading information to their friends and family. People also talked about simply cutting out wasteful practices in their lives, like leaving the water running or buying too much food. One girl said she would convince her friends not to eat from McDonalds, and to instead pack themselves sandwiches or fruit. I said that instead of feeding into consumerism by asking for gifts for my birthday, I’d ask for people to spend money implementing environmentally sustainable practices. I’d been feeling really helpless and angry during a lot of the trip – like no one would ever really hear anything that the documentaries* we watched explain. Hearing everyone discuss what they plan to change was uplifting. We, as humans, really can do this, if everyone thinks like our group has started to think.

*The three documentaries we watched were: The Eleventh Hour, Crude Impact, and Food, Inc. Dave also recommended we watch: Water Wars.


  1. Luna, After a long week of hard work, sharing and eye opening discussion I hope you realize that you have already made a positive impact on this world. We all need reminders about how to care for one another and the planet. Thank you for doing that over your spring break. We'll try harder!

  2. amazing - to give your spring break up to help the less fortunate is an amazing gift to those people in the Dominican Republic.