Packing for my ten day long trip to the Dominican Republic the night before our flight(I know), I was trying to mentally prepare for everything I was about to experience. How places will look, what the kids are like, how the med clinics will be set up. As I struggled to compartmentalize all my thoughts about my excursion the next day, I began to get more excited for the adventure. As I reflect back on my time in the Dominican Republic, one thing is certain, nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was going to experience over those 10 days, until I was plopped in La Romana.

As a nursing student, I was thrilled to be a part of the Med Team(Best Team) and help out with the med clinics. Everyday we would pack up all of our supplies and travel to a Bateye or a Barrio and spend the day administering care the people who lived there. The people at the clinics were so thankful that we were there to help them and I loved every minute of the med-clinics, even when I was profusely sweating through my scrubs. However, one little boy who I didn’t happen to meet at the Med-Clinic changed me forever.

Yordany Sambil Yan sat in the middle of a classroom with a bunch of second graders with a grim face and soft eyes. As soon as I saw him I went to sit down next to him and start a conversation. He was so shy and very occupied with his classmates playfulness and all the loud noises that it was hard to have a conversation with him, let alone the language barrier. I noticed the red tag around his neck; Yordany was not sponsored at the school for next year. We left the classroom and began to play catch with a tennis ball and we began to talk. I learned that he has two brothers who go to school as well and that he will be graduating second grade in a few days. I also found out that Yordany doesn’t like to smile with his mouth open because he lost his two front teeth! All day we played together and my mother and I decided we wanted to sponsor him to continue attending school. At the Joe Hartman graduation, we watched Yordany graduate with his gentle demeanor and timidness. He was the sweetest little boy. We were able to meet his mother and let her know that we will be his Madrina’s next year, and she was so thankful. I spent two awesome days with him and the other kids from the school and I knew I was going to miss our time together so much. Towards the end of the day, we sat on the curb with Yordany as he ate his cupcake, and then said our goodbyes and took some pictures to remember him by. As I was walking up to the bus, I started to wonder if Yordany will even miss me or if he even understood that I was his Madrina. With that thought, I heard a little knock on my bus window: There was Yordany looking up at me with his arms stretched out and a small smile. My heart is so full.


-Christina Barbaro

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