I just got back from a two-week-ish vacation to the Dominican Republic with my best friend, Caitlin. One of the last nights there we went to the Mariposa DR Foundation‘s inaugural event for their Girls Center. (Aside: The Mariposa DR Foundation Mission: To educate and empower girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty. There is a video below if you’d like to find out more about the org.)
After the event we went to the Blue Moon, an Indian-Caribbean fusion restaurant run by a generous and hospitable couple, to say good-bye to volunteers from Lawrence Academy. These high schoolers had come down for a service project. Patricia Suriel, the founder of the Mariposas, asked each student to share what they learned on their trip that they would take back with them to the States. And, well, their responses inspired me to share what I learned on my trip and what I would take back home with me.
In addition to the fodder I received from the students to share in emails to guilt, ahem, ask my friends nicely to help support (with cash) one my favorite organizations, The Mariposa DR Foundation (donate here!), I also took note of a few nuggets for my everyday life.
Lesson #1 Encouragement is worth a million bucks!
Coming down the Cabarete, DR, you meet people from all over the world. We met people from all over the U.S., Canada, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Sweden, South Africa…. Oddly even though we met people from all over the world, it was not that diverse a population. Everyone we met had really similar thoughts about living life with passion and pursuing what you love. Starting a NGO like Trauma to Art yields a myriad of responses. It happens so frequently yet it consistently boggles my mind how personally people can react to MY dream. Not so in the DR! People were full of helpful suggestions versus the customary interrogation I receive in the Bay State as well as words of encouragement and validation. I flew back feeling energized and more ready to work even harder to make my dreams come true.
Lesson #2 There’s no place like home.
Another thing I learned was that even more than loving vacation’s blue skies, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and afternoon mojitos, I love my everyday life. My boyfriend, my friends and my family… which is expanding. While in the DR, I heard the amazing news that my brother and his love are expecting a baby!! While I enjoy kicking it in bikinis, nothing compares to becoming Aunt Lauren.
All told, I’m grateful for the heart-warming hospitality I received in the DR, the quality time with of my best friend, having the privilege to tour the Mariposa Girls Center and to be home with my family.
Aunt Lauren out.
To learn more the Mariposa DR Foundation, watch this video: