Traveling to the Dominican Republic – Evan Lory

June 21, 2023

I traveled to the Dominican Republic in March as a representative of Wisconsin Microfinance. It was my first trip to a developing country. Upon arrival, I quickly realized how much I take for granted, where necessities like clean water, electricity, education, and healthcare seem so commonplace. At the same time, I realized how much the same we all are. Kids play many of the same games in La Piedra as they do in Waunakee and meals are opportunities to share food and stories (and to laugh!).

The language barrier was one of the biggest challenges I faced during the trip. While many of the people we met spoke only Spanish, we did have a translator to help us. But, I was amazed at how much we could still connect through non-verbal communication and gestures.

I brought new funding for loans for business-women in La Piedra, a community about 30 miles north of the capitol. Thanks to so many incredible donors, I was able to deliver enough funding for 15 new loans. Without the funding being provided by Wisconsin Microfinance, the people there would not be able to pursue their dreams. It was truly a humbling experience to see how such a small loan by US standards could make a difference in the lives of so many families.

Overall, my experience in the Dominican Republic was both eye-opening and inspiring. It reminded me of the power of community, resilience, and human connection. I returned home with a newfound appreciation for the things I had taken for granted and a desire to continue making a difference in the lives of others. I fully expected to learn all about the devastating effects poverty. But what I wasn’t expecting to learn was their resolve to be, for the most part, happy; they were grounded in a simple way of life, void of all the hustle where the word “recession” and all the negatives worries and fears associated with it, are not even in their vocabulary.