My trip down to the Dominican Republic has been very eye opening. From my background of never leaving the east coast of the United States, being so far from home in an unfamiliar country really scared me to death. When I signed up for this trip I had a predetermined opinion of the Dominican Republic. I believed that it would be a very dangerous place to visit with many selfish and lost souls trying to make ends meet to provide for themselves. This was a very “American” way of seeing this country from everything that I had read and seen about the Dominican Republic and I had full expectations of coming here and being in constant fear for an entire week. This blog is about how wrong I was and how my opinions of this country were completely false. I have been here for 5 days now and I have yet to see a person without a smile on their face. Everyone I have met or waved to on the street has greeted me back with the same care and interest that I have greeted them with. My group and I have visited orphanages, nurseries, day cares, villages, and the one thing that has stood out from all of these places is the same love that you can feel radiating through all of the people we have met. I will be honest in saying that these places and the people that work in these places should already have the loving and caring nature in them just to be in their profession, but I am not convinced that the amount of gratitude and the magnitude of love and safety I feel with these people is all one big coincidence. It is strange to say and even think about but it feels like I have met the same people just at different locations because they all have hearts made of pure gold. My group and I are always included in everything, we are always met with hugs and caring faces, and I have yet to see a frown come across anyone’s face. It is amazing to me to feel so welcome by so many people without and ounce of judgement or bad wishes passed to me or any of the people I am with. Coming from the United States where I’m sure they think that we have everything, I can see how it would be more than easy to look at us with hatred and jealously but I have not felt this once. It is absolutely incredible.The best parts of this trip for me, however, are the kids. It doesn’t matter where the small group of Pride baseball players and I go because every time we step out into public we are seen has superheroes to these kids. We have visited a girls orphanage, a boys orphanage, a day care, a market place, a church, and a sugar cane village so far and we have yet to go unnoticed by the kids in these places. It’s funny because we know we’ve been spotted when we hear a small voice yell, “Americana’s!”, and we know a mob of small children are soon to follow. I believe that, deep down, this is everybody’s favorite part of this trip because at home we are regular college baseball players, but here we are nothing short of rock stars just because we play baseball. These kids are also so thankful for the smallest of things too. Just a handshake or a high five has them blushing and jumping for joy for us and I wish they could know how much we are doing the same for them on the inside for making us feel invincible. I would not trade this trip for the world and I encourage more to come see what I have seen and help out as much as you can. These are some of the happiest and most gracious human beings I have ever met and if there was ever a good cause to donate to, it would be to these people down here in the Dominican Republic. These people have touched my heart and brought me closer to God without them even knowing it and I am forever in debt to them for this. - Bradley Davis
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