March 6th, 2019
Puerto Plata is a beautiful city located in The Dominican Republic and I feel extremely blessed to have experienced the gems throughout this city and the lovely people that live there. My stay at the Tubagua Ecolodge was truly a challenge for me but I’m so glad I pushed past my fears and made the best of it. I am not an outdoorsy type of lady and I have a serious fear of bugs but I didn’t want that to stop me from all that was ahead of me for the next 6 days. I got to experience hiking to “God’s swimming pool” a beautiful waterfall located 40 mins away from the lodge and it was AMAZING! Walking through the hills and valleys was exhilarating and it made me feel like I could conquer the world! I and the FLIP team alongside our wonderful tour guide encouraged each other, shared stories about challenges we faced and overcame and we kept each other smiling with our corny jokes. Many of us haven’t walked that long and far in a very long time, but we just kept going! I saw all my classmates and instructors in a whole new light and I felt so empowered by each of them whenever I would feel like it was getting tough. I compared that whole hiking experience to life, we go through ups and downs, we struggle, it gets tough but we just gotta persevere. Then when you get to the finish line you realize it was all worth it in the end and the challenges you faced weren’t so bad after all. Even leaning on a friend for support is necessary at times too, because we all face similar challenges.
All of the excursions really impressed me, I felt like our days were planned out well and taught us so much about community development and how successful organizations and projects can be if we use the tools we have learned and applied them. I assumed we would be doing a lot of work in the underserved communities so I was ready to get to work! but instead, we heard very heartfelt stories, we learned about the failures and successes and we took a tour throughout the area and got a clear picture of what an underserved community in another country looks like.
This experience has taught me to push past any fears I have and to never assume nor have any expectations. I learned to just go for it, face everything head-on, to never be afraid to ask for help or to ask a question and use every experience to help you be a better person. I plan to use all the tools I learned from being apart of a team with individuals who share the same passions and vision but have unique personalities, in my own projects and at work so we can be successful when trying to create an effective community-based program etc.
You just gotta F-L-I-P!! (Forget Limitations & Instill Positivity)