The Dominican Republic: Poor in Money, Rich in Spirits

This summer, my family and I went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic with some friends for a wedding. Our resort, the Riu Palace, was luxurious with crystal chandeliers and golden ceilings. However, as I went on an excursion and was able to tour the country, I noticed that the resort was not like the average living conditions in the country at all. While I was on a tour, my guide presented a few facts to my fellow tourists and I.

The average family in the Dominican Republic has an income of about 300 American dollars per month. For $50 a month, Dominican Republican citizens can rent a house the size of a shed. If you are a student in the Dominican Republic and in the first through eighth grade, you all share one classroom. Doctors in this country are only available on weekdays, so you better hope you do not get sick or injured! Regardless of these people clearly living in poverty, the people of the Dominican Republic were some of the happiest and nicest people I have ever met.

Some of the people talked about how much fun kids would have playing baseball in a lawn that was not much longer than 20 yards. The kids did not care that there was not a baseball field available. The main language at the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but almost every resident knows at least three languages to accommodate the tourists.

As an American, I did not realize and was not grateful enough for the luxuries and advantages that are accessible in my country.  I was not grateful enough to have a medical center open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I was not grateful enough to live in a home with air conditioning when it gets hot and heat when it gets cold. I was not grateful enough for the things I have, and I did not realize that until I met the most grateful people with the least of things.

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