Hospicio was my service site this semester. Hospicio is a home for old people who do not have the money or abilities to live at home. These residents pay nothing at all or just a little bit if they are able. A lot of Hospicio relies on donations, and therefore they don’t often have a lot of money to do activities with the residents. Shelby and I, therefore, were there to find things to do with the residents. We talked, colored pictures, played dominoes and sometimes we got to do therapy exercises with them too! My favorite part about Hospicio was getting to know the residents. Everyone has a story and everyone has different talents. I loved listening to these stories and finding unique aspects of each person there. There are a lot of people who have really made this experience an amazing one..
Pepe- Pepe is one of the main men at Hospicio. Pepe works every day all day out in front of Hospicio picking up leaves and trash, keeping everything “Linda” (beautiful. Pepe loves telling us about his life. He will tell you he is 115 years old, but he is really only in his 80’s. Pepe lived in New York for some time, and he finds it really interesting to hear our experiences too. Pepe was the first one I really connected with this semester because his Spanish is most easily understood, and I could have some really good conversations with him.
Juanita- What is awesome about Juanita is that I can rarely understand a word she says. That, however, is what makes her awesome. Juanita gives the best hugs and loves doing whatever we do. She has drawn pictures with us, danced and sang for us on her walker, and has taken us to church. Juanita makes my day with her hugs!
Aridia- I won’t ever forget Aridia’s voice saying, “BA BA BAH, vamos a bailar.” Translation- ba ba bah, we are going to dance. I love seeing her lean up on her walker and shake her little hips. Aridia makes every activity fun. She is super sassy and makes sure everyone knows that she wants to rule the roost. She reminds me of the popular girl in high school that everyone knows about.
Sarah- Sarah is an amazing artist. You say the word “pintar” (color) and she is there in a flash. She loves spending time with us, coloring her pictures and then writes her name each one and asks us how she did. She is so talented!
Our Haitian friend- I don’t really know his name, but I will never forget the first day I talked to him, in Spanish of course, for an hour straight. He was born in the capital of Haiti, but moved to the Dominican Republic early to work. He had been here since and very rarely got to visit his family at home. It was amazing to know he can speak Kreyol and Spanish! I learned a lot from our friend as he explained his assimilation coming from Haiti and to hear that he has been treated well at Hospicio given that the Haitian-Dominican relations are not the best.
Obviously this is just a short list of the long amazing people Shelby and I have met this semester. Everyone has taught us so much and we hope we have brought them some joy too. We will miss them so much and hope we can return to visit soon!