I had the great honor of taking 20 undergraduate students from Quinnipiac University to La Romana, Dominican Republic over New Year's to help the very poor as part of their Global Studies education. During this trip, these students would leave the comfort zone of their everyday lives and venture into the world of the poorest of the poor. Here they would help build a new home for a family that was without, pass out food door to door to those who experience hunger on a continuous basis, and develop relationships with children and adults who would change their world.
New Year's Day 2013 was one of those days that was magical. The students ventured out to Batey 50 (where the house was built) to have a celebration with the sweet but very poor people of this village - a full day that included food distribution door-to-door, clowns, games, and a party to remember.
After a great day celebrating 2013 in Batey 50, we were traveling back to the city along the dirt roads that link a number of very poor Haitian sugarcane villages (known as bateyes), when over the din of the bus we heard a very familiar sound. Approaching the village, we could see young and old celebrating New Year's Day out in the dirt street, dancing to "Gangnam Style." We slowed our bus and took in a surreal site -- New Year's Day in a desperately poor Haitian batey, hearing a song that is beyond popular in social media and the Internet back in the U.S.
The bus stopped and with little encouragement the Quinnipiac students ran off the bus to join the festivities:
To read personal testimonies and see amazing photos of the QU class trip to the Dominican Republic, please visit their blog.
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