My 2023 trip to the Dominican Republic with FNEI (Kelly)

Hey, my name is Kelly Williams, and I want to share my experience of traveling to the Dominican Republic on a service trip with FNE International to help a school construct a new floor.

I traveled with FNE four years ago as a first year student in high school to build a home in Nicargua. Although that trip changed my life over the week spent in Chacraseca, La Romana changed it again within moments of being there this past April.

Coming from a small town in New Hampshire, USA, I’ve always had everything I’ve needed. Even as a poor child of the US, I still had everything I needed. The kids of La Romana FUCPE school don’t have everything they need because their home is much further behind in development than mine is. When we arrived at the school first day, I was sitting in the center of a large group of younger students. They had many questions about my home and the nice things that I must have there. I stopped them and started asking questions about their home because I wanted to know too. One little boy asked me if I liked the Dominican and I explained that I liked their home more than mine. At first they couldn’t believe me but continued to say their home was beautiful and I never wanted to leave. They started to cheer and shout thank you.

So, the way I see it, is the students of FUCPE are no different than I, we are exactly the same. We all have dreams, aspirations, and goals for our futures, our circumstances are just unfortunately different. After my time in the Dominican Republic, it’s been hard to come back and live the way I live here, with opportunities and access to unlimited resources. It’s an experience you don’t just forget when you step off the plane, arrive home. It stays with you everyday. I no longer waste food, complain about dumb luxuries I’m so blessed to have, or take the small things like having my own space in my home for granted. It can’t just stop there either. I now have 300 kids who are forever a part of my heart that I want to help change the world for.

FNE International didn’t just take me on a trip to a new place - I was shown that the world is so much bigger than New Hampshire, with so many problems and so many people who deserve better lives. If everyone gave just a week of their time, or a dollar that they probably forgot about in the wash, or even just opened their hearts and minds to the outside world that is calling for change, we could change the world.