Kelly and Mansi here! We are two Juniors at Celebration High School in Celebration, FL! We are a part of the International Baccalaureate Program, a rigorous, internationally minded academic curriculum. About six months ago, we had the idea to partner with Batey Rehab Project and assemble a team to build a home in the Dominican Republic. After months of long preparation and fundraising, we arrived in Barahona, Dominican Republic to begin construction! Here is a rundown of how today went!
We headed out to the airport around 4am this morning to board our flight at 7am. As everyone filtered in, anticipation and excitement mounted to a peak. After waiting for awhile, it was finally time to board our first connecting flight to Fort Lauderdale. For those of us who slept, it was very uneventful. However, for those of us who were awake, we got to witness our fellow travel companion, Matthew, get called our needy friend by the flight attendant.
Once in Fort Lauderdale, we walked through the most boring airport terminal, according to Mr. Foley, our Philosophy teacher and fellow travel companion. Before we knew it, we had boarded our final flight headed to Santo Domingo. This next flight proved to be very entertaining because we were all able to sit together, thanks to a very friendly Spirit Airlines gate agent! Matthew, Mr. Griesemer, and Mr. Foley kept everyone laughing.
Upon our arrival to the Dominican Republic, we had a very long wait through customs, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the BRP team! With the help from the BRP Welcome Team, the change proved to be more difficult than anticipated with everyone trying to find tricks to convert from dollars to pesos due to the differences in exchange rates. We then packed ourselves into the bus, equipped with air conditioning and wifi, and departed from the airport to the hotel!
During a long and freezing 5 hour journey across the beautiful Dominican Republic, we witnessed the shift from city life to rural life. We also experienced quite the culture shock at the restroom break as the bathroom stalls were only about 4 feet tall so you would practically stare at strangers whilst going about your business. At last, we had arrived at the very welcoming Hotel Rea. We got settled in our rooms following a wonderful dinner consisting of alfredo pasta and fried plantains. As we were composing this, we witnessed the largest sound system in a vehicle drive past the hotel followed by a motorcade of at least 100 motorcyclists.
This is proving to be a very memorable trip already! Each day we will be posting a recap and photos of each day, so stay tuned!
Kelly and Mansi