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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MISSION TRIP (JULY 2015)

This year marked our fifth year of going to the Dominican Republic and it was hands down the best experience yet. My dad and I led the trip this year and we partnered with Coach Kevin Farmer of Benedictine here in Savannah. We had a total of 22 people on the trip and most of the boys were from BC. We were also joined by Matt Morefield, who is a Junior at the University of South Carolina and has lived down the street from me for 10 years. It was great to go through this experience with Coach Farmer and the players from BC that I have grown up playing against. This year was the first year that we had the chance to build a house for a family in San Pedro — the Santana family. Calling it a house might be a stretch. It was more like a shed by our American standards. The house is 20′ x 20′ with no bathroom and no running water. It has 3 rooms, a concrete floor, louvered crank-out windows and a tin roof, BUT it is waterproof and will keep the Santana family of 5 dry during the frequent rain storms. It took us 4 days to build the house and I really enjoyed working alongside my dad and the other boys during that time. On the last day of the build the local women made us a traditional lunch of rice, black beans and chicken cooked over an open fire — fueled by much of the small scrap lumber we could not use on the house. It is hard to put into words how building the house made me feel, but I can say that it gives me a good feeling to know that the Santanas have a safe, dry home. We did play baseball again this year, but it was not as much the focus of the trip as it has been in years past. The Dominican teams we played just ran one overpowering pitcher out after another. I had the chance to play against the American team when I was “traded” to the Dominican team along with Chase Marini and some other boys. It is always fun to play baseball with the Dominicans, and I was even able to signal the catcher to throw down behind the runner at second base one time. There are unwritten signals in baseball, and he knew immediately what I was trying to get him to do. Baseball is indeed universal for baseball players! Building the house has given me a greater appreciation for this trip and I am excited to return to the DR next year to build another house in the same community — El Brizal — and to see the Santana family again. I wish I could leave tomorrow.