Beach Bum Cares Donation Trip- Punta Cana
Two weeks ago, I went on vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with my cousin, Lisa Zwissler, and the company she works for Beach Bum Vacation. It was an incredible trip! I had soo much fun and met many new friends. Also, it was my first time at an all-inclusive resort, which was pretty awesome.
While everything we did was amazing, I have to say my favorite part was going on a Beach Bum CARES donation trip to two schools in the local Punta Cana community. Beach Bum Vacation set up the non-profit, Beach Bum CARES, to give back to the local communities of the destinations they work with. On this trip we donated over 100 lbs in school supplies to the two schools. It was a very moving experience and I am so thankful I got to be a part of it.
The Beach Bum CARES trip really stood out to me, because as a Tourism Management major at IU, this trip was a great example of responsible tourism– meaning it was a great experience for the tourist (me), while enhancing the lives of the local people. Also, it was nice to be able to help others who are less fortunate than me. It definitely keeps things in perspective.
After we left the schools and got back on the bus, I used the notepad function on my phone to write about what I thought of the trip. Here is what I wrote:
We just went to two schools in Punta Cana to deliver supplies to kids on a Beach Bum CARES trip. It melted me heart. As soon as we walked into the first school, I started crying (imagine that haha). It is amazing to walk into a school, in a different country, and see all these small children smile because they are so excited to see you. It’s funny how a smile is so universal. Even though you don’t speak the same language, a smile means the same thing no matter where you are.
At the second school we handed out sunglasses (thank you Fuzzy Zoeller Productions) along with other supplies. It was incredible the amount of items that we donated, however it kind of made me sad because we only had a select number of sunglasses and not every child got a pair. We told them to share, but it was still sad to see the kids faces you didn’t get the initial pair. However, all the kids got a something individual, on top of all the school supplies. The teachers and students we all so genuinely thankful for the supplies and our time.
Nanda, one of the Beach Bums, can speak Spanish and it was so neat to see her be able to converse with the children. I tried to pull out some of my choppy high school basic Spanish words, like hola, bueno, gracis, etc. but I wish I would have known more to able to speak to these sweet kids. Seeing Nanda speaking to them and making them laugh in another language was very cool. She has a wonderful heart and is a very inspiring person.
As we were leaving, I heard Carlos (the island contact for Beach Bum CARES trips) telling Lisa the children could also use medicine (like liquid Tylenol, etc) for future trips. He said medicine is very expensive and when their children have fever they have just have to keep wiping them down with cold water. This was really sad to hear.
This trip was yet another reminder of how blessed and fortunate I am. Also, I have be given a lot and not to forget I have the opportunity to give back and help others, too. I am so thankful to have been a part of this trip and Beach Bum CARES/Beach Bum Vacation truly does wonderful things. They go beyond the call of a travel agency.
If you ever travel out of the country for vacation, I highly recommend contacting Beach Bum Cares about setting up a donation trip while you are going to be there. It’s a very moving experience and it feels great to be able to help others.