When Holy Child Volunteers arrive in the Dominican Republic, they often go through a period of adjustment, the length of which varies from person to person. We encourage you to be patient with yourself and not waste time worrying about how things will be. The Sisters of the Holy Child are here to help you with all that is new and unfamiliar, and you’ll learn by doing – one day at a time!
We’ve learned to adapt quite well to the challenges we face and we support one another every step of the way. We often get asked what types of challenges new Holy Child Volunteers face. Here are a few:
- We do not have dependable electricity. In recent years, however, while there have been huge improvements there are still power outages. Flashlights and headlamps are a necessity.
- Water comes into the street twice a week, and we keep a supply in a huge underground cistern so that water can be pumped up to tanks on the roof. In this way we can have running water. We have a twin tub washing machine and space outside in the garden to dry clothes in the sun.
- Every Dominican home, including ours, is host to flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders, toads, lizards (and, once in a great while, tarantulas!)—and others of God’s creatures!
- The noise level is often quite high, with music blaring simultaneously from various houses, loud greetings or conversations.
- The weather is mostly warm and almost always sunny, although the rains at times can be torrential. Temperatures range between 72 and 85 degrees. From June through September, the temperature can be much hotter and the heat can be very tropical. We have found it often saps one’s energy.
This can be a demanding experience, but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change your life forever. The rewards can be numerous!