My Compassion trip to the Dominican Republic

In the mail today was a picture of an 8 year old little boy. I get to meet him in just three weeks, when I go to the Dominican Republic to blog about their work in that country. I am so excited! I leave November 1st.

I have plane tickets. I’ve renewed my passport. I even bought a webcam on the off chance that the internet there will be good enough to skype with my family back at home. Maybe in the hotel in Miami, anyway.

Yes, I have an overnight layover in Miami on the way there. Apparently I am so far west that you can’t get there from here in a day. At least not in time to catch the 5:50 PM flight out of Miami to the Dominican. Also apparently the world shrinks on the way home. Because you CAN get here from there in a day. Lucky me.

Since I’ve resigned myself to the necessity of the overnight in Miami, I’ve actually become rather pleased with the idea. My flight out isn’t until the next evening. I can sleep late, watch TV, write, maybe even order room service.

I’m just starting to think about what to pack. Even on a trip of this nature, my mind fixates on trivia. Do I need a haircut before we leave? And WHAT am I going to wear, people?

I realized I didn’t even know the climate, really. This caused me to go look up a few facts on the Dominican. Just for fun, I’ve come up with a few questions for you, to discover what you already know about the country. We’re doing this on the honor system– write your guesses without employing google, OK? Let’s see who can get the most answers right!

1. What is the main language?

2. Temperatures are usually in the:
a. 50’s-70
b. 70’s-80’s
c. 80’s-100’s

3. What other country shares a border with the Dominican Republic?

4. Which famous explorer visited this island?

5. What is the capitol of the Dominican Republic?

6. Compassion International has worked in the Dominican Republic since:

After you’ve made your guesses, here are the facts.


Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.


  1. Well I went and checked the facts already, because all I knew was that it was on the same island as Haiti but a world removed from it as far as development and corruption went. I also knew they spoke Spanish 🙂 But that was it.
    How exciting for you! I’ll look forward to your blogs on the subject. I hope you can skype with your family. Skyping is great, isn’t it? (When it works that is…we’re having some issues ourselves)

  2. My grade? F-

  3. I didn’t do too bad… that child mortality rate was really sad though…5 times more than ours? Sad, sad, sad.

  4. Hi Mary,
    Have you ever been to a developing country before? I used to work for World Vision and went on trips to view our work with the corporate clients who were sponsoring the projects. As far as the “what to wear” question goes – besides the obvious (dressing culturally sensitive), my colleagues and I used to pack/wear clothes that were old but in good condition, and then we’d leave them behind. We would also barter with them – once-worn sports socks could “buy” you all sorts of goodies in India! Leaving your clothes behind for the locals not only provided them with additional clothing, but also freed up your suitcase space for gifts to bring home. And buying gifts from the locals boosts their local economy.

    I can’t wait to read about your adventures! Compassion does amazing work – my family growing up sponsored kids at all time, and my mom still does.

  5. That’s great! What an eye-opening trip that will be.

    I think Jennifer gave good advice on wearing old-ish clothes. Also, this might sound silly, but take whatever advice they might give you about dressing and take it verryy seriously. When I went to Malawi, they suggested long skirts or shorts, so that we didn’t show our knees. Well, several of us tried to take that seriously so we bought long shorts… but they showed our knees when we walked. And imagine how uncomfortable it is to go to a village community day and have all of the locals staring at your semi-exposed knees!
    Maybe the Dominican Republic isn’t as conservative, but research to see if they have any taboos that we wouldn’t naturally think of!

    Have an awesome time!

  6. If you need help with what to wear, I recommend going to You can call them and they can help you with what kind of clothing and shoes you should take. I have used them before and the quality is first rate. What you are doing, I am admirable of and wish you a great trip.

  7. I would absolutely love to meet the orphan girl we sponsor in Zimbabwe. She’s lost everything, but the photos we have are of the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. I wish I could hug her and spend time being with her. Maybe someday.

  8. Well the only one I knew without cheating was the language they speak.. spanish! I pray your trip is successful.

  9. I look forward to hearing about your trip. Irronically, last week we had a woman speak at our Girl Scout meeting who has worked in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. She was so touched and tourtured by what she experience, she has now opened an orphanage in Haiti and is supporting 13 children.

    I wish you great luck on your trip.

  10. Oh, I forgot to mention. You will probably go down with many clothes and return with none. She says that she ends up giving away most of her wardrobe. In fact, her friends have to remind her to keep at least one pair of long pants for when her plane lands back in New York where it could be very cold.

  11. I got 4 out of 6 correct. I missed the explorer question and the Compassion question. Not too bad?

    I’m excited for you to be able to go on this trip! It will be life-changing, I’m sure!!

  12. I visited there for several months during a college stay. It is a beautiful country with wonderful people. I LOVED the food. 😉 Enjoy the rice/beans and tostones! I agree with Dawn…when I left, I left some clothing/shoes behind, but when I got home I really wished I would have left everything…short of leaving there in my birthday suit. 😉 Be prepared to be whistled at…”Gringa!” Have fun…as I know you will!

  13. BTW, when I was there, one of the biggest thrills for kids was having their picture taken. If you could take some type of instamatic camera and give them photos of themselves, that would be even better.

  14. Spanish is the main language. When we were there Summer ’07, the temperatures were in the 70s – 80s at night and 8os – 90s during the day, I’d say. The capital is Santo Domingo and Christopher Columbus visited there. You can visit his tomb in Santo Domingo. The DR shares the island with Haiti. I have no idea how long Compassion Internati has worked there. You will have an AWESOME time that will break and grip your heart!

  15. Don’t take any knits. Not knit cotton t-shirts or tank tops, nothing. Only clothing that is loose woven cotton that really breathes.

    Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. And take long sleeved versions of the above to protect from the sun as well. And a hat. And loose weave skirts instead off pants. No jeans, linen if you have it is good for a pant.

    Thus concludes carrien’s guide to how to dress for unreasonably hot weather.

  16. I’m so excited to read about your travels…I’ve started reading your blog since Compassion listed you as one of their travelers! None of the children we sponsor are form the DR, but we do correspond with one there.

    Blessings on your trip and your willingness to spread the wonderful work of Compassion!

  17. Hi Mary,

    My sweet friend started a ministry in the DR. It’s called Makarios.
    Anyway, about the Miami airport. Please get to the airport at LEAST 2.5 hours before your flight … even earlier if you can. We tried to fly out of Miami one Friday and it was only by God’s providence that we made the flight.
    Have a super time! We’ll be praying for you.

  18. Denise Broeker says:

    Mary, your mom just wrote me about your website! My sister is in Compassion and just returned on Saturday from The Dominican Republic. She also met her “girl” Breylin, and she said it was a life changing experience.
    Also my daughter has a wonderfrul blog/website,, check it out too. Looking forward to your Christmas photo, Fondly, your old babysitter, Denise

  19. I live in the neighboring country … which means I did quite well … all but how many years Compassion has been in the D.R.

    And, having been here on the more corrupt side of the island of Hispaniola for a few years, I have spent my fair share of time in and out of that dreaded Miami airport … ditto to what Flowerpot said. That place is horrible.

  20. Tara, Yes, that airport is exactly why I opted to stay a night there— the connection otherwise would have been 45 minutes which I hear would have been nearly impossible.