On January 28th the 22 students in our 9th grade class embarked on Bement's third service trip to the La Suiza orphanage in San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. The week long experience makes many demands on our students and stretches them in myriad ways. Besides the language and cultural obstacles they encounter, for many students a trip such as this marks the first time they have been exposed to abject poverty. For one week, they leave behind the comforts of home and experience life through the eyes and hearts of orphaned children. The forty boys at La Suiza range in age from infancy to 16 years old. Our students challenge themselves to be selfless and to embrace the boys (and their often tragic life stories) with their hearts wide open. While living at La Suiza, the 9th grade installed a friendship mural, distributed donations of clothing, shoes, toys, and school supplies. In addition, they repainted an outdoor basketball court, and provided tutoring in a library designed by Bement's 2009 9th grade class. The greatest lessons learned are often found in the simplest moments, and the seeds of lifelong connections are planted in moments of play. The photos in this gallery bring to life the beauty, power, and importance of relationships. In the short period we spend at the orphanage, we forge friendships that transcend cultural and socioeconomic differences. We become the extended family, the brothers and sisters of children without families they can depend upon. Without exception, none of us truly ever "leave" La Suiza. The love we shared and the love we received remain with us forever.

img_1023_small.jpg drtrip009_small.jpg drtrip013_small.jpg drtrip015_small.jpg drtrip017_small.jpg
drtrip034_small.jpg drtrip039_small.jpg drtrip053_small.jpg drtrip072_small.jpg drtrip084_small.jpg
drtrip086_small.jpg drtrip089_small.jpg dscn0488_small.jpg img_0089_small.jpg img_0116_small.jpg
img_0146_small.jpg img_0225_small.jpg img_0275_small.jpg img_0309_small.jpg img_0313_small.jpg
img_0333_small.jpg img_0340_small.jpg img_0372_small.jpg img_0383_small.jpg img_0386_small.jpg
img_0391_small.jpg img_0392_small.jpg img_0402_small.jpg img_0403_small.jpg img_0410_small.jpg
img_0414_small.jpg img_0433_small.jpg img_0448_small.jpg img_0450_small.jpg img_0452_small.jpg
img_0469_small.jpg img_0472_small.jpg img_0473_small.jpg img_0487_small.jpg img_0492_small.jpg
img_0495_small.jpg img_0505_small.jpg img_0506_small.jpg img_0507_small.jpg img_0519_small.jpg
img_0522_small.jpg img_0523_small.jpg img_0530_small.jpg img_0538_small.jpg img_0541_small.jpg
img_0557_small.jpg img_0573_small.jpg img_0574_small.jpg img_0610_small.jpg img_0623_small.jpg
img_0631_small.jpg img_0634_small.jpg img_0635_small.jpg img_0638_small.jpg img_0640_small.jpg
img_0641_small.jpg img_0642_small.jpg img_0723_small.jpg img_0725_small.jpg img_0727_small.jpg
img_0743_small.jpg img_0745_small.jpg img_0771_small.jpg img_0772_small.jpg img_0780_small.jpg
img_0796_small.jpg img_0798_small.jpg img_0841_small.jpg img_0842_small.jpg img_0844_small.jpg
img_0846_small.jpg img_0847_small.jpg img_0852_small.jpg img_0857_small.jpg img_0863_small.jpg
img_0865_small.jpg img_0881_small.jpg img_0965_small.jpg img_0970_small.jpg img_0975_small.jpg
img_0977_small.jpg img_0987_small.jpg img_0988_small.jpg img_0989_small.jpg img_0994_small.jpg
img_0997_small.jpg img_0998_small.jpg img_1000_small.jpg img_1001_small.jpg img_1002_small.jpg
img_1013_small.jpg img_1014_small.jpg img_1015_small.jpg img_1017_small.jpg img_1019_small.jpg

Photo album created with Web Album Generator