Lucia is a junior at Spring Hill College majoring in Business. She joined the BLUE Missions family in 2015 and has served with them to help bring water and sanitation to rural communities in the Dominican Republic since.
Why did you choose this program?
The BLUE in BLUE Missions stands for building love and uniting everyone. I loved this program and BLUE because it was obvious the BLUE team and their programs reflect this message. They empowered me from the second I signed up to do something bigger than me, no matter how young or inexperienced I was.
I was able to fundraise for my first trip easily thanks to them. They were intentional about preparing me for the process and I learned about my role in the “cycle of service”. It made me realize that a service immersion non profit like BLUE was the only way I would feel empowered to do Pico Duarte. It was the program for me that would challenge me to do something I never had thought of before.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
BLUE Missions was very hands-on, I did little to no organizing. They help you out with a fundraising kit, schedule your flight and hold prep meetings (they can Skype or FaceTime you in if you can’t make them). They sent over a packing list, had and updates on where I should be training wise via email. They are easily accessible and answered any questions I needed.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I highly recommend sticking to the training schedule they provide; it will be tough, but worth it! I trained minimally but focused a lot on cardio and I was okay. Don’t be afraid! It doesn’t matter if you run marathons every weekend or are a beginner like me: the beauty of the hike is that you can go at your own pace. Feel the fear and do it anyways!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
It depends on what part of the hike you’re on, but BLUE gives you a detailed outline on their site. During the hike, we would have an early start, hike throughout the trail with a local guide and your group, see the most breath taking views, pause for light lunch or snack, and end at a camp site where you can reflect, eat, and prepare for the next day to come.
We were encouraged to reflect during the hike, which enhanced the journey for me tremendously, and you have ample opportunity throughout the day. You also get to visit a community BLUE has brought clean water and/or sanitation to, so you can see how your contribution has come to life in a community. It’s incredible and by far one of my favorite days on the trip because I was able to meet community members and immerse myself in their lives, their culture.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear going on Pico Duarte was the physical demand of the trip as well as the fundraising component. BLUE Missions has the most dedicated team that squashed those fears for me with their support and reassurance. I had never done a hike of this caliber or thought I’d ever be able to do one. With their training guide, as well as awesome leaders who motivated me, I was able to go on an incredible hike with an amazing group of women.
Why BLUE Missions and not another hike?
This programm opened my mind to the possibilities we have to serve others. I never thought something as simple as a hike could provide families with clean water and sanitation. If you love adventure and would seek out a trip like this anyways, I think it’s an incredible exercise in understanding what the walk for water looks like for so many people.
If you never thought you could do something like this, look into this hike. If I could do it so can you. It challenged me to think bigger than me and when I came back from the trip, I was motivated to see how other facets of my life could be fused with service and I obtained an service internship in Bologna Italy, where I studied abroad this past semester. Grab a friend and sign up; you won’t regret it.