School of Communication Sciences and Disorders
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Dominican Republic Study Abroad Trip - Spring 2011

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March 11 (Day 6): Returning to Memphis

This morning we woke up in our hotel in the Dominican Republic and as I reflect back on the day, I am back in my home in Memphis. While it is wonderful being home and seeing our friends and families, I can't help but miss the DR and the friends we made there.

We began the morning by having a meeting with the students and faculty from AuSP. We spent time thinking back through the week. It was a great time for sharing with each other and making plans for the future. We will all remember this week as a special time together. It is hard to explain all the feelings and emotions that you go through during an experience such as this one. All I can say is that all of us have been changed.

Getting to the airport was easy; however, getting through the check-in line and to the gate proved very difficult. It really made all of us appreciate the self check-in lines we have here in the States and the efficiency at which airport personnel move you through the lines. It took close to two and a half hours to get all of the Nursing and AuSP group through check-in and to the gate. Landing in Atlanta and going through customs was a snap and we all got to have a great dinner at the Atlanta airport. When we did get to Memphis it was nice to see some familiar faces welcoming us all back.

Please continue to keep checking the blog as we will be posting pictures and sharing more information in the coming weeks!

March 10 (Day 5):

This morning we went to House of Light, a home for children with developmental delays.  Upon our arrival we were welcomed by Lydia, a small child with down syndrome.  She came out and waved everyone to come in and gave some of us hugs. Immediately the students jumped right in assisting the staff with feeding the children in the home.  For some the morning was very emotional and life changing. We were all impressed with the great care the workers gave to all the children in the home especially upon learning that they have not been paid for three months. We spent time playing with all the children in the park next to the home. I should mention that the home is an orphanage for these children. Many were abandoned because of the problems they have and due to the care they need.

In the afternoon we headed to a small community in Boca Chica to assist the nurses. They had many more families than they had planned on seeing. We gathered the medical and hygiene kits. Some of us even performed otoscopy on those who complained of ear problems. It was a unique experience.

This is officially our last night. In some ways we are all happy to return home and in others I think a piece of our hearts will remain behind until we can return. Please be thinking of all of us during our travels tomorrow.

March 9 (Day 4):

Beginning with the evening of day 3 we had some excitement. While eating dinner the electricity went out. Now this would not have been a big deal, but some of the students were stuck in the bathroom with no lights and windows. Thankfully one of the students had a camera and could use her light to help them make it back into the restaurant. The lights did make it back on and we were able to enjoy a great dinner with lots of laughter.

Today was cultural day. After a fabulous breakfast at the hotel, we all loaded onto the bus and van and went to a public hospital. The physicians and nurses there are doing the best they can with the limited resources available to them. However, it made all of us appreciate our healthcare in the USA. Following the tour of the hospital we went to have lunch in the Old City district. While there we got to walk in and see the oldest cathedral in the New World. It was really a beautiful place with a lot of history. Following this we went to a local mercado (shopping area). Many enjoyed bartering for items to bring home. Some of us went and bought local coffee and vanilla for the whole group. After this we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for tomorrow's final clinic day. We re-packed our supplies because tomorrow we will be heading to the House of Light, a home for developmentally delayed children.

March 8 (Day 3):

We went back to CAES School for the Deaf today. One thing Dr. Axley tells us to bring to the Dominican Republic is FLEXIBILITY and boy did we need it today! When we arrived we unexpectedly found out that some of the community had been invited in for hearing tests. We originally planned to go help nursing in the afternoon, but decided we needed to stay at CAES. It was very busy.

In the morning we fit 8 hearing aids and began testing children and adults.  We saw over 50 people for hearing tests. Speech once again went into the classrooms and assisted teachers and worked with the children. One of our interpreters did not show so we depended on the students' Spanish skills and one of the medical students from the university. In the afternoon they were a huge help in audiology. They organized the line of people to be seen, helped assist during audiometry and did paperwork. It was a very rewarding day. We actually had to take shifts eating lunch since there were so many people! Tonight we hope to have a nice meal together at the hotel and relax! Tomorrow is cultural day and we cant wait to see what kinds of experiences we will have. Signing off for the day! I am tired!!

March 7 (Day 2):

Today AuSP students and faculty went to CAES School for the Deaf with a nursing student. We were once again welcomed with open arms by the teachers and volunteers there. Audiology saw several children and their families and fit 6 hearing aids today. During this time we also tested hearing, cleaned and checked hearing aids and taught some volunteers basic troubleshooting for hearing aids. Speech went to the classrooms and worked with the children and their teachers on building literacy skills and listening activities. In the afternoon all the Audiology and SLP students and faculty did a workshop for the teachers on various items including music activities they could do with the kids, story telling and incorporation of sounds. We also gave them two pocket talkers and demonstrated how to use them. This evening we met as a large group with Nursing and discussed how we might work together on Tuesday afternoon when we will be together. So far it has been a wonderful experience for all. We are very welcomed here and are enjoying spending time together whether it is on a bumpy bus ride through the streets, working together or having meals.

March 6 (Day 1):

10 students & 3 faculty from AuSP traveled to Santo Domingo  with faculty and students from the Loewenberg School of Nursing.  Everyone arrived at the Memphis airport at 4:30 am to get on a plane to Atlanta and then to travel to the DR from there. Most slept on the plane, some read or watched the movie. Everyone was slightly nervous and excited not sure what the days ahead would hold. Nursing and AuSP students were seated together and beginning friendships between the two groups began to form. Tomorrow we travel to CAES School for the Deaf. We will work with children in the morning and with the teachers in the afternoon.

Related News

AUSPU of M Students Return to the Dominican Republic - article about 2011 trip on taaslp.org
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AUSPMay 10, 2010 -  AuSP lends helping hand to needy, hearing- impaired kids.
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AUSPMarch 10, 2010 - AuSP joins Nursing School on mission trip to Caribbean.
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