In our time down here we have learned the importance of ingenuity. We chose this definition of ingenuity as it best related to our experiences here.
i. “Jesuit ingenuity is the ability to innovate, to absorb new perspectives, to respond quickly to opportunities or threats, and to let go of strategies that no longer work in order to embrace new ones. As Loyola put it, ingenuity is being comfortable traveling through the various regions of the world and using all the means you can to reach your goals.
When you as a middle-class American have to come down here and live in a new world, you have your methods of solving your problems. Your routine has worked for you in the past so you naturally will stick to it. However, the DR isn't the U.S. You will be given a fresh perspective on life, on language and relationships. Say you are at the grocery store and you have to look for and buy something. You have to ask in another language that you hope you get right on your first try. You use different money and have to convert every item into currency you understand. You have to discern the labels and different brands. Suddenly, something as simple as shopping has turned into a difficult task.
In this grocery store, you'll have to figure out new strategies to overcome your barriers. Suddenly, you're forced to speak Spanish in a situation and you'll regret not learning what the word for "soap" was in Spanish class. You'll have to work with what you got, your limited Spanish vocabulary. You don't have your handy smartphone with you to translate every bit of Spanish around you and there won't be 3G to give you directions to the street vendor. You will have to rely on your ingenuity.
This won't just happen in the grocery store, you will face this in campo, talking to your service site director, and traveling around this country. This experience will force you to rely on yourself and help you to problem solve. You'll have to adapt to new situations, solve problems you've previously never encountered, and all in a foreign country/language. You will have resources at your disposal but don't just rely on them. But believe in yourself, your capability to think outside the box, and in your ingenuity.
Elizabeth y Evan