For the past three days, members of the cross country and track team have been serving alongside Manna Global investing in several communities in the Dominican Republic. This is the fourth time Lipscomb Athletics has partned with Manna Global Ministries. For a glimpse into the trip, please check out the reflections below.
"Before traveling to the Dominican Republic, I took three years of Spanish at my high school, but yet my skills are only minimal at best. I was scared of the language barrier; I wanted so badly to be able to communicate with the people here but recognized that my skills would probably hinder me from fully understanding what was being said around me. Because of this factor, I have surprised myself over the first three days of this trip with the amount of Spanish that I have been able to speak. On our second day, the group and I visited the children’s home to play with the kids there. We played a big game of UNO, and afterwards, I went to get a snack out of my bag, and one of the children noticed and wanted some of my pretzels. I happily shared, and this caused a lot of the other kids around to also want some pretzels. I ran out quickly, and I had to tell them, “Tengo no mas!” (I have no more.) I was pretty proud of myself for trying to speak the language until I was corrected by one of the boys (I was supposed to say “No tengo mas!”).
The next day, I again found myself trying to speak Spanish but this time with a lot more luck. We rode a bus with the children’s home to a river, and I spent a lot of time getting to know a young girl. She knew a small amount of English but preferred to speak Spanish, so I tried my best to use her language. When I didn’t know a Spanish word, I would guess its English translation, and she would tell me if I was right or wrong. This is how we spent most of our time at the river, but I found that I was speaking better Spanish than I had an hour beforehand even if it was a mix of English and Spanish at times. We played games, splashed each other, and had a really fun time together even though we didn’t completely understand what the other was saying all the time. As I reflect on these special moments that I’ve had so far, I’ve started to realize that although there may be a language barrier, there is no barrier to understanding laughter, smiles, and friendship."
– Hanna Anderson
"While here in the Dominican Republic I have had the ability to see how the simple act of sharing food can bring such joy and excitement to children. There was a small group of kids who were trying to shine shoes to earn enough money to have food. I was able to watch as they immediately started eating the food we shared and would share with their close friends possibly the person they felt was family for them. When I saw how quickly they ate I wondered whether they ate so quickly out of hunger or out of fear of the food being stolen from them. I still do not know the answer to this question, but I still ponder it.
I also had the opportunity to play with children at the children’s home sharing toys with them and playing in the river. I loved how despite the language barrier we were still able to connect and build friendships with the children. I was able to watch as a young girl who does not typically like spending time with people has already become close friends with one of my amazing teammates. I was also given the opportunity to eat lunch at the house of some Dominican students and ask questions about their culture and start to receive a better understanding of life in the Dominican and how family oriented and community oriented they are. I don’t think I know of any place in America where if a random stranger from the community came to your house during dinner they would be given a plate of food and treated like family so quickly and easily. I have only been here three days but I have learned so much and look forward to what is to come."
– Lindsey Marriott