March 16, 2011 12:00AM
Like many of their peers, a group of PSU students is looking forward to a break from classes and the warmth of the Caribbean sun. These students won't be relaxing over spring break, however, they'll be working with children at the Hope of a Child Orphanage and at a school in the poor rural city of Monte Cristi.
Patty Magee, an instructor in PSU's Department of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, led a similar trip last spring and spent part of her summer in the Dominican Republic. She said the students will provide much needed services during their stay, but she expects them to gain even more.
The students, Magee said, have already been doing research on the country in advance of the trip. While there, they will be immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture and they will keep journals. When they return, each student will be required to write a paper.
Beyond that, Magee said, she expects the students to grow personally as a result of the experience.
"To see what these people do with so little is amazing," Magee said. "Yet, despite their needs, they are a happy, generous people."
About half of the 10 PSU students signed up to go on the trip are social work majors, Magee said. Others come from a variety of disciplines ranging from nursing to photography. Two additional students are from Washburn University.
When they arrive, the PSU group will be assigned to either health or education teams. Much of the work they will do, Magee said, will focus on health education and teaching English, as well as other duties.
The PSU group, along with groups and individuals from the U.S. and other nations, will stay in bunk-style buildings on the orphanage grounds, but they will work in various locations in the area, Magee said.
The hard work of organizing and planning is almost over, Magee said. The group will board a plane in Tulsa Saturday for the flight to the Dominican Republic and then a different kind of work starts. She and her students are excited to roll up their sleeves and begin.
• Orphanage Outreach was founded in 1995
• More than 10,000 short-term volunteers since that time.
• Monte Christi - about 20,000 population on the northwest coast near the border with Haiti.
• Local economy: Salt, fishing, bananas, melons