My trip to the Dominican Republic


Oliver Stutzman

Jose, Maggie, Anderson, Emma, Alex, Dr. Julie, and Wilson pose after a long day of seeing patients.

Oliver Stutzman, Staff Reporter

Towards the beginning of October, I found out that I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Haiti for a medical missions trip. The group that I was going with met a couple of times, I purchased medicine for malaria and typhoid and started paying for a ticket.

Before everything was set in stone, my family got a text saying that the trip to Haiti was canceled due to unrest in the country; however, the Dominican Republic would be a great alternative.

From March 16-22,  I worked in the Dominican Republic with a medical team. We set up clinics inside of churches and saw patients throughout the day. Because I don’t have a license to practice medicine, my job was limited to taking vitals and handing out medications.

Going into the DR, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I was expecting Spanish, Creole, foreign illnesses and the lack on sanitation. Many situations were challenging, but overall I had a great team of translators, medical personnel and Purell hand sanitizer.

The Mission of Hope team had a “campus” in Sosúa, Dominican Republic. They had rented out a hotel that was about a two-minute walk from the beach in an area with resorts and tourists galore.

Despite being in a safe and more populated location, I witnessed the hardships of poverty. During the day, women walked around with baskets of fruit balanced on their head, selling fresh pineapple, avocados or bananas. Men typically ran small souvenir shops, not bringing in much income, but enough to get by.

As the trip got close to an end, I dreaded going back home to the dreary and unpredictable weather of Kansas. The experience I had of working hands-on in the medical field could never be recreated by working in hospitals or clinics in the midwest.

Our small team of four woke up early on March 22 and boarded a small plane in Puerto Plata. First to Miami, then to Dallas and finally landing in Kansas City. The ride home was filled with time for me to reflect on the trip.

In the end, I miss my team in the DR. It was such a eye-opening and educational experience that I won’t forget. Seeing a servant-like attitude of impoverished people inspired me to be more grateful for what I have.