A Trip of a Lifetime: Cavaliers Take on Blue Missions


Courtesy of Ariadna Torres and Jana Faour

Ariadna Torres (top) and Jana Faour (bottom) enjoy their time with Blue Missions by giving back to the community in the Dominican Republic.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira, OverFlow Editor

International trips are not only for vacation– BLUE Missions Group has created a unique service experience for high school volunteers to partake in. This nonprofit organization kickstarted a program where over the course of eight days, volunteers aid in the creation of a water or sanitation project that would provide the community there with easy access to either service.

Clean water and restrooms are often easily accessible in developed countries. However, the global reality is that 785 million people in the world lack access to clean water and 2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. These staggering statistics are why an organization like BLUE missions has taken on the feat of providing for those in need.

The program offers students the ability to reside within the community and spend time with local families as well as learn how to use various tools to dig trenches, lay pipe or work on constructing water tanks. Not only do volunteers get a chance to help the community, but they learn about Dominican culture and eat local dishes. After spending over a year in quarantine, the summer of 2021 allowed Gables volunteers to fully immerse themselves into the lives of the people they were aiding.

Ariadna Torres is one of the Gables students who decided to participate in a project Blue Missions did over the summer. She recounts a heartfelt experience leaving her wanting to work with Blue Missions again in the summer of her senior year.

Seeing how people in a small town within the Dominican Republic lived managed to find joy in everyday life touched Torres personally during the time she was on the island. She attended a sanitation project, which centered around building latrines for the community. The group of volunteers slept in the town’s school and during the day they worked hard at their projects.

Whether it was constructing the floors, doors or walls, the volunteers all worked together for the purpose of providing every family in the town with basic sanitary needs. Having been born in the Dominican Republic, Torres felt compelled to go on this trip as it helped form new friendships and reconnect her with her culture.

“I loved how easy and simple life was there even if they didn’t have everything they needed they were happy and I think that’s what impacted me the most,” junior Ariadna Torres said.

Gables senior Jana Faour decided to attend the project in order to provide clean water in Caño Dulce, a small village on the island nation.

“My week in Caño Dulce was the best week of my life. Going and meeting all the Dominicans was amazing and seeing the water rush out at the end of the week when we finished our project was the most rewarding feeling ever. I would do it 100 times over and highly recommend it to everyone,” senior Jana Faour said.

It takes a lot of hard work trekking through the mountains and digging trenches to help build and connect the main tank of the gravity-driven system to the community, but the relationships Faour built by working together with other volunteers made it all worth it.

“We had a very special bond with the whole group itself and I even made a friend group out of it…after I was back in Miami I just wanted to be back in the little dining room eating rice and [beans],” junior Ariadna Torres said.

Our Cavaliers that volunteered for BLUE Missions took part in an eye-opening experience that gave the perspective on how they can be change makers and inspire each community they visit. From now on, they hope to infuse some of the “campo” mindset into their everyday lifestyle, and bring the lessons they learned back to their peers at Gables.