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.
Photo album created with Web Album Generator