Trip for Her Dominican Republic Recap {with The Her Initiative + Healing Waters}

My recent trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with The Her Initiative and Healing Waters taught me that the global water crisis has a solution; and I want to be part of that solution now more than ever!  

This trip was made possible by my sponsor Vital Proteins; thank you for letting me share my experience!

Trip for Her Dominican Republic
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

Washing dishing, throwing in a load of laundry, bathing my baby boy…these daily tasks felt different when I first returned from the Dominican Republic less than two weeks ago. I washed dishes with a sense of urgency to save water, I savored the ease of throwing dirty clothes into a machine, and I breathed deep, grateful breathes as I watched my baby boy splash and smile in the tub.

‘We are so lucky to have gallons of clean water flowing all around us every day,’ I would think every time I turned on the faucet. Recalling how carefully I walked with my water pale on the narrow, rocky path. Trying not to spill an ounce {and my bucket was only half full}.

Trip for Her Water Walk
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

I wish I could say these thoughts are still vibrant in my mind. But the truth is, they’ve faded. I’ve been home for less than two weeks and dishes, laundry, and baths have returned to there ordinary checks on my daily-do list.

Wondering if I’ll have water, clean water nonetheless, for these daily tasks is not my reality. But it is reality for the 1.8 billion people drinking dirty water everyday.

That’s an overwhelming number of people without access to safe, clean water. But there is a solution; providing communities in need with clean water systems. And that’s exactly what The Her Initiative and Healing Waters are doing. Infiltrating communities in need and empowering them to take ownership of clean water systems — providing health, hygiene and education to women and children.

Trip for Her Clean Water System
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

I’ve partnered with The Her Initiative for the past two years to raise funds through the annual Fit for Her MPLS event in partnership with The Real Food Dietitians and Fit Foodie Finds. Going on a trip with The Her Initiative has been on my heart since the first Fit for Her MPLS event in early 2016. And as hard as it was to leave my baby boy behind I’m so glad I went.

Seeing the work The Her Initiative is doing first hand has raised the bar for all future Fit for Her MPLS events because I know that the more funds we can raise, the bigger impact we can make! So I’m putting it in writing, Stacie and Jess from The Real Food Dietitians and I have a goal of raising $15K at the 2018 Fit For Her MPLS event to fully fund one clean water site in the Dominican Republic {click here to donate and help us reach this goal}. You can learn more about our goal and the 2018 Fit For Her MPLS event at the bottom of this post. 

Trip for Her Dominican Republic 

Now for the trip recap in beautifully captured pictures and video by Karlee Mikkelson Photography.

Day One: Hoyo Oscuro Water Walk + Camaron + Loma Hermosa

We visited three communities that had recently received clean water systems — Hoyo Oscuro, Camaron and Loma Hermosa. At the first site, Hoyo Oscuro, we walked in ‘her shoes’ by doing the water walk to the area the community was gathering water from prior to their clean water system.

Having access to clean water has been transformative the to the physical, mental and spiritual health of these communities.

I learned that The Her Initiative doesn’t just give these communities clean water, but they empower community leaders {often women} to take ownership of the water systems; creating a profitable business for the community. The Her Initiative does more than just provide clean water. They provide health, hygiene and administrative education to make these water systems sustainable. 

Hoyo Oscuro Water Walk
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day One
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day One
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day One
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

Day Two: San Felipe Parish + Sancocho 

Day two happened to fall on a Sunday so we were able to attend a church service at San Felipe Parish; the future home of a water system that will provide clean water to several communities {who currently struggle to get access to clean water due to poor road conditions}.

And then we learned how to make a traditional Dominican dish, Sancocho, with the San Felipe Parish pastor and community members.

San Felipe Parish

Sancocho
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Sancocho
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Sancocho
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Sancocho
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Sancocho
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

Day Three: El Almendro 

My favorite day spent at El Almendro Pre-School. We learned how the clean water system not only provides daily baths and showers for all students, but also a sustainable co-op so the children can have access to clean water outside the school walls as well.

We danced, we painted, I learned some more Spanish, and we smiled a lot! This school, the children and staff are filled with so much joy. These kids have backgrounds and stories that would break; yet they have so much joy.

Since this day I’ve been asking myself, who has it worse? These beautiful little faces with limited access to daily necessities like clean water, but a content heart filled with so much joy…or this me, with more resources than I’ll ever need, but an often unsatisfied heart searching for more joy?

I don’t know the answer to this question…but I do know I want to be part of spreading more joy by bringing more clean water to women and children in need.

Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography
Trip for Her Day 3 El Almendro
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

It was a short, but incredible trip and I owe a huge thank you to Vital Proteins who sponsored my trip, making this experience possible.

Vital Proteins

Fit for Her MPLS 3rd Annual Event {February 2018}

As I mentioned above, seeing the work The Her Initiative is doing first hand has raised the bar for the 2018 Fit for Her MPLS event. We have a goal of raising $15K to fully fund one clean water site in the Dominican Republic {you can click here to donate and help us reach this goal}.

We are working on the event details and logistics, but tentatively targeting Saturday, February 24th in the Minneapolis area. If you’d like to donate, sponsor, or get involved with the event you can email me directly at [email protected]

Get Fit for Her MPLS event updates by subscribing to my email list and following me on Instagram and Facebook.

The global water crisis has a solution. I want to be part of that solution, will you join me? Click to donate here

The Her Initiative
photo credit: Karlee Mikkelson Photography

 

5 comments
  1. Thanks for sharing your experience! What a heart for others you have. I went on a trip way back in high school to the D.R. to do some similar work with a community. Your reflection brought back some great memories of that experience and the wonderful people I met there. It is good to be aware of how blessed we are to have clean water and how we can help others obtain it too. God bless you!

    • Emma, thanks for sharing; sounds like you had an amazing experience in the DR as well. It really puts all the resources we have in perspective! xo-Lindsey

  2. Sad I couldn’t be with you on this trip, but so proud you are using your channel to support organizations like this one! What an amazing trip you guys had!

    • Yes, we missed you + Lin! It was a great trip, and hopefully you ladies can come on the next one!!! xo-Linds

  3. What an amazing trip you guys had! Sad I couldn’t be there, but so proud that you are using your channel to partner with amazing organizations like this!