Our nation is privileged: We just tend to forget it

What+is+your+favorite+part+of+our+day+at+school%3F+%22Snack+and+tourist+time+is+my+favorite%2C+because+I+get+juice+boxes+and+the+people+on+the+buses+bring+us+candy%22+Mia%2C+a+first+grader+said.++The+school+that+Mia+attended+was+considered+a+rich+school+for+this+area.+Here+they+learn+proficient+English+and+also+are+provided+with+school+supplies%2C+like+pencils+and+new+textbooks%2C+unlike+basic+schooling+here.+%0APhoto+Madie+Gee-Montgomery
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Our nation is privileged: We just tend to forget it

What is your favorite part of our day at school?

What is your favorite part of our day at school? "Snack and tourist time is my favorite, because I get juice boxes and the people on the buses bring us candy" Mia, a first grader said. The school that Mia attended was considered a rich school for this area. Here they learn proficient English and also are provided with school supplies, like pencils and new textbooks, unlike basic schooling here. Photo Madie Gee-Montgomery

What is your favorite part of our day at school? "Snack and tourist time is my favorite, because I get juice boxes and the people on the buses bring us candy" Mia, a first grader said. The school that Mia attended was considered a rich school for this area. Here they learn proficient English and also are provided with school supplies, like pencils and new textbooks, unlike basic schooling here. Photo Madie Gee-Montgomery

What is your favorite part of our day at school? "Snack and tourist time is my favorite, because I get juice boxes and the people on the buses bring us candy" Mia, a first grader said. The school that Mia attended was considered a rich school for this area. Here they learn proficient English and also are provided with school supplies, like pencils and new textbooks, unlike basic schooling here. Photo Madie Gee-Montgomery

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A typical rural house in the Dominican Republic. “Houses that you see on paved roads are usually nicer than the ones back on the dirt roads” Tour guide Yaky said. On the dirt roads it is common for people to not have running water nor a proper bed to sleep on” Yaky continued. Photo Madie Gee-Montgomery

Tour guide Yaky explains a typical shower that a family would have in the Dominican Republic.
” In buckets, they collect fresh rainwater that they use to shower every week. If they wish to have a hot shower, they must take the rainwater and boil it to make it hot. Most people here do not have the luxury of very nice things like that.”
Photo Madie Gee-Montgomery

Many Americans do not have to worry about dropping out of elementary school because they need to work for their family or having to go and buy one banana because they cannot afford a package with six in it. We do not realize that we take many things in life for granted. As we complain about the even littlest of misfortunes that come about in our lives, we need to remember that there are others who have little to nothing.

Even though this nation has its flaws, our situation could be much worse than it is, and as Americans, we have it a lot better than it may seem.

I recently visited the Dominican Republic on a family vacation. Because we were not able to see the rural areas of the country that we usually do on these trips due to staying in an all-inclusive resort, we decided to book a tour that would take us to a local school and a private residence.

The school system in the Dominican Republic and the United States are very different. “Here in the Dominican, you are only required to have an education up to the eighth grade,” Yoky our tour guide told us. “Even then a lot of people do not go. The uniforms are very expensive and you usually have to start working at a very young age. Most jobs do require a high school degree but most do not require a college degree. If you go to college here, you are considered very rich. There is only one public college here, so if you cannot afford it, then you do not go. It is as simple as that.”

The housing in the Dominican is far from anything anyone would see in the U.S. Everywhere you go, there are houses made out of palm tree wood with tin roofs. The average rural house does not have electricity nor running water for showers and sinks. Animals in yards have their ribs showing because the owners cannot afford to buy food for their families, let alone their animals. It would be common to see a kitchen that has a pot over a fire as a stove and a bucket of rainwater to wash dishes.

Even though you or someone you may know does not think that our country is good, just open your eyes and look around to other countries of the world. We Americans are privileged in the aspect of living and working standards and pretty much every other aspect of this country. As I visited the Dominican Republic, it made me feel really guilty for complaining about the smallest inconveniences in my life. We all take for granted the smallest items that you and I are so privileged to have in life.

Walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes really opens your eyes to the little things in life. Even though things may not be going your way, we sure do have it a lot better than it may seem.

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