On the evening of May 10th, a large group of community members gathered at the Radville Regional High School gym to hear a presentation by student Gage Wudrick on his recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Gage spoke of his experiences while showing the audience some of the pictures he had taken.
Gage was one of several young adults in the Dominican as part of a Christian Ethics class led by Therese Durston. Before leaving for his trip Gage collected fifty pounds of donations from the community that he distributed when he arrived.
During the one hour presentation, Wudrick described the culture shock he felt when stepping off the plane in the Dominican Republic. “It was very different.” He described how there was razor wire everywhere that seeing the amount of garbage was “a devastating experience.”
While in the Dominican Republic they spent days working in villages helping to improve living conditions and playing with the children.
They visited a day care centre, and worked in a sugar cane field. While there he was surprised to learn that the workers were still slaves. They toured the plant where the sugar was processed and was appalled by the working conditions. “It was a mess but it was all that they knew.”
Wudrick also toured a sweat shop with his group and though the conditions were better than those faced by the workers in the fields, it was still something he will never forget. The group also toured some of the slums in the Dominican Republic and were witness to what the locals call the “River of Garbage”.
ou cannot take a trip like this and not be changed by what you see. - Gage Wudrick, student
Though Gage spoke of the distressing things he saw he also spoke of some of the more light hearted things he witnessed. He spoke of the lizards that were everywhere and that they made friends with them knowing they would help with the bugs and how the term “Maximum Capacity”, is not a warning it is a challenge to the people of the Dominican Republic. He showed pictures of a small motorbike with an entire family perched upon it!
The evening was very informative and as Gage said “You cannot take a trip like this and not be changed by what you see.” There were many in the audience who were deeply moved by what they were told and saw.