Athletics News

Monday Recap for DePaul's Service Immersion Trip
July 10, 2018

SAN PEDRO de MACORIS, D.R – DePaul track and field's Evan Lowry and Laura Edwards write about their experiences from Monday of DePaul Athletics Service Immersion Trip to the Dominican Republic. The team was able to visit with an organization that focused on immigration and documentation issues followed by a family lunch in the park back at NPH. After more excavation, the DePaul student-athletes and staff put on a sports camp for the residents of the home. Tuesday's schedule features shopping for food for all the residents in a local market, a World Cup viewing party and hopefully more sports.

Laura Edwards - Track and Field
Yesterday we were given the opportunity to have lunch with the children of NPH. I could feel their warmth and love for each other as we enjoyed food in a family style picnic. Even without being related, the older children would help the younger children and the children with disabilities. It was a family, and the welcoming sprits made me feel part of it.

After lunch, this connection to the home was heighted when our group started moving piles of dirt with shovels and buckets from the front of one of the houses for children with disabilities into the back yard in hopes of creating a more level and accessible space for the residents of the home. Because we did not have machines or any tools beyond shovels, buckets and one wheelbarrow, this work was extremely hard in the hot sun. I couldn’t image doing this type of work every day, and I gained so much respect for those living here and this was just one of many difficult tasks that they take on daily.

During our time here so far, I have seen a great amount of passion for sports in the people in NPH. Many activities that we take for granted like simply practicing our sport are not available to many people here in the Dominican Republic. The reasons that there are limitations can include poverty, lack of community organization, and even racism that does not allow some of those who live here the same opportunities as others. Late in the afternoon, we were able to design a sports camp with a variety of sports for the NPH kids and staff. I could see everyone’s joy and happiness when playing their sports, and it was such a beautiful experience. However, when I go home, I know I’ll have access to a track, and be able to practice and compete with a team. Knowing that many of these children don’t have this same opportunity is very unsettling, but I am glad to have had the chance to show them what I could to maybe inspire them to find a way to use sport like I have.

Evan Lowry - Track and Field
For me, this trip to the Dominican Republic has revealed just how parallel the social, political, and historical realities of the DR run with those of the United States. We share commonalities and differences in the ways we experience political issues (race, immigration, classism) and how these pervasive issues define our everyday lives.

Today we met with nuns from ASCALA (Asociacion Scalabriniana Al Servicio De La Movilidad Humana) who revealed the realities of Haitian immigration and the historical denaturalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent that is happening here in the DR. The nuns shared that legislation passed in 2013 has worked to strip Haitian migrant families and Dominican born Haitians access to identification papers. This specifically has limited communities of sugarcane workers’, called Batays, ability to pursue upward economic mobility, access to healthcare, and political enfranchisement.

We learned that this type of legislation and practice is in line with a long legacy of racialized politics that holds root in the colonial enslavement of Africans on the island and the practice of racialized genocide of the Trujillo Regime, a Dominican dictator from the 20th century. In our daily group debrief, we discussed how we’ve encountered institutionalized racism and colorism back home and compared those encounters to those that the nuns described as happening frequently here in the Dominican Republic. We ended the day more pensive about how we can use this opportunity to learn more about our own political climate and social privileges.



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