How the Dominican Republic Changed My Life

Krista Connelly | February 19, 2013

CWS's Krista Connelly. Photo: Teresa Cintron/CWS

CWS’s Krista Connelly. Photo: Teresa Cintron/CWS

It had been a long morning in the Dominican Republic, visiting a local community called Antonci. We had just spent hours in the crop fields under the Caribbean sun, learning all of the wonderful ways in which CWS and our local partners have helped transform this community and the families who live here. We were just about to leave when someone in our van mentioned that they needed to use the bathroom. Now if you have ever traveled out of the country you know that finding a toilet can become an interesting game of “Where’s Waldo.” Our driver apparently had the “in” on which house to go to and which bathroom to use. Once there, four of us piled into this woman’s house, whom we had never met.

While waiting in line, the woman graciously offered us coffee and being the hospitable woman that she is, she began boiling a pot of water in the back of the house. As I watched her make the coffee I noticed the sweetest little dog and a young girl. Unable to contain myself I ran up to the dog to greet it as the girl laughed at me. At that moment I remembered my family photo album in my book bag and thought she might find the picture of my dog Bella blowing out her candles during her first birthday party funny.  Yes, I said birthday party and I am not ashamed.

I sat down next to her and started to show her the photo album. We both found ourselves hysterically laughing. Her mother joined in, bringing over photos of her family. For a moment in time we forgot that we didn’t speak the same language or that we were from different parts of the world. Instead we were together, sharing family photos like long time friends, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. I never wanted to leave them.

I think of the young girl and her mother often. What they are doing? How are they?  I find myself wishing that I could see them again, be there for them. But then I remember that every time I walk in a CROP Hunger Walk, every time I donate, every time I volunteer, I am indirectly touching them. Every time I donate my time to CWS I am making sure this woman and her daughter, my friends, are building a better lives for themselves. The experience I was lucky enough to have in the Dominican Republic changed my life. It gave me something to hold onto; a memory. After this experience I more than ever believe in the work of CWS. I still don’t know their names but I remember their faces, their hospitality and their laughter. And now you know them and our story. Support the work of CWS… make a difference… change lives.

By Krista Connelly, Assistant Regional Director, New England
Follow Krista on Twitter: @KristaCWS