Asuman Pehlivan takes a suitcase to Puerto Plata

” I went to Puerto Plata with two friends and one of their grandchildren. We enjoyed our vacation so much that we plan to come back to the Dominican Republic.

After bargaining with a taxi driver outside of our resort, we were on our way to the neighborhood where the clinic was located, about 15 km away. We had to ask some people for directions, showing them the picture of the clinic we had printed out, asking for Dr. Marian. Everyone was very gracious in helping us find the place. Although it rained the night before, it was sunny when we arrived. Unpaved narrow roads with puddled potholes made for a challenging journey, but we made it.

By the time we reached the clinic, the news had traveled that some Canadians were coming with medical supplies. Angela, the doctor’s assistant, jumped over the puddles to greet us and grab our luggage, which she took into the clean, bright clinic right away. She immediately opened it up on the doctor’s table. This surprised the doctor, but she seemed very grateful and smiled throughout our visit. Even though she didn’t speak a word of English, she showed her appreciation by saying “Gracias” for bringing the medical supplies all the way from Canada.

Unfortunately, we left some toys and clothes at the resort, which would’ve been great for the children at the clinic. We have a habit of bringing extra supplies with us to give to the locals when we go to the Caribbean. Taking the luggage to the clinic was very easy for us, and we feel lucky that as Canadians we can give to those who are in need.

Overall, it was a fulfilling experience to deliver medical supplies with Not Just Tourists, and it was one of our favorite parts of the trip. We hope this story helps future volunteers make the decision to take a suitcase. It was satisfying to see part of the Dominican where the people live, outside of the resorts.” -Asuman Pehlivan

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