Waking up to a beautiful sunrise in Los Arroyos Dominican sounds like a great vacation, but for senior Matthew Aguirre it was much more than a vacation. This summer Aguirre spent two weeks in the Dominican Republic with BLUE Missions building an aqueduct for the local residents.
His day began at 6:30 a.m. and after going to breakfast with the fellow volunteers they would pray and say what they were thankful for.
Next came a game to break the ice and afterwards Aguirre and the other volunteers were given a task for the day.
The volunteers were broken up into the trenching, gluing, or the tank team. The trenching group dug the trenches; the gluing team would glue the aqueduct pipes together and the tank team worked on the water tanks.
BLUE missions aims to not only solve the water crisis but to leave each city they visit with a stronger sense of community and teach them the values of team work which is why the natives work side by side with the volunteers.
After lunch the workers would take some time to relax and then work would continue from four to six o’clock.
After dinner, the volunteers would dance with the campesinos or just hang out in their rooms and talk. Everything is designed to be a bonding experience.
One of the most powerful aspects of the trip according to Aguirre was a segment of the trip called Impressions which takes place in two parts throughout the trip.
“Impressions were chances for everyone to open up and express their emotions and vent about how they feel about anything. These nights created deep bonds between the volunteers and the campesinos and helped the natives build a stronger bond amongst each other,” Aguirre said.
“There’s First Impression, done the second night and then Last Impression done shortly before our departure back. It was during the Impressions that we reflected on the work we were doing and why we were doing it. We really got to appreciate what we have back home,” Aguirre said.
BLUE Missions is a cause that is close to the Aguirre family, as his older sister is on the BLUE Missions committee.
Aguirre was eager to go on a BLUE missions trip after going on a LIFO mission trip last year (LIFO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of people in the Dominican Republic) and says that his family has been involved with service-based projects for over ten years.
“The experience was definitely life changing. It provided a sort of missing puzzle piece to my life and I feel like the trip allowed me to mature and become a better person. I would highly recommend anybody to go on a BLUE Missions trip. Talking about it doesn’t do the experience justice,” Aguirre said.