DEER LAKE Most travellers go to the Caribbean for some fun in the sun. But during a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, two Deer Lake residents discovered there’s more to travelling to a developing nation than visiting the beach.
After winning a corporate sales contest, Gloria White and Sheila LaRoux put out a call for donations of money and used clothing before their employer, the Co-operators, awarded them with the trip.
They collected an estimated 1,000 pounds of clothing to bring to a Dominican orphanage, along with personal items. While bringing it to the children’s facility, White said they learned a thing or two about poverty.
“We don’t know how good we have it,” she said. “We got to see first hand what poverty really is on the drive over — it’s not good.”
She called the orphanage “bare bones,” although she said it was surprisingly very clean. It was locked down and offered the bare minimum for its residents.
White and LaRoux collected donations for children from newborns up to 16 years old in the weeks leading up to the trip at the end of February.
They had 15 suitcases filled with items and while at the orphanage they, along with the rest of their group, also donated cash to help solve a bed shortage.
They loved the kids, and while there, White made a joke that she’d like to take some of them back to Deer Lake with her.
“They were so nice, very appreciative and very patient,” she said. “They were so patient when they were waiting in line to see what we would give them, there was no attitude problem. It was just a great experience.”
Last year White went to Mexico through the company and helped build a dormitory on an orphanage property there. She said that experience was a good one too, but this year’s Dominican activities were more personal, offering a chance to witness how poverty affects people’s lives, as well as the results of offering assistance.
Next year will see White visit Jamaica, and she said she’ll be making a plea for donations then too.