August 29, 2013

Dominican Republic trip a journey not vacation

Dominican Republic trip a journey not vacation


By ALLAN TINKER
Just a small town athlete, soon headed to college. But it was the trip of a lifetime, not a vacation but a journey, according to Kevin Klemisch, 2013 McClusky High School valedictorian and top basketball player.
The trip was organized by a non-profit group, Score International, which uses sports to teach about Christianity.
Klemisch stated that the trips are funded by donations and personal funds. The basketball camps are used to teach Christianity. They also get donations and camp fees from a variety of denominations.
Klemisch added, “It was non-denominational, just a higher power connection.
His Score journey started simply, leaving Fargo by airplane on Aug 6 and returning on the 13th.
In between these dates came a look into the children’s lives and the people in the Dominican Republic that will forever remain in his heart.
The group of 30 or so athletes, included coaches, arrived in Santa Domingo about 11 pm, into heat and humidity and “a lot of honking horns.”
Klemisch noted that the only rule for driving in the Dominican Republic is “There is no rule for driving.”
They were then transported about one hour away, to a converted old hotel. It was surrounded by guards with shot guns, as are most buildings and property of any value. They received their room assignments and got about two hours of sleep.
On Wed morning they had their first clinic, a mini-basketball camp with 30-40 elementary aged, third to sixth grade boys. At lunch they ate at McDonalds where there is a ‘chicken Mac’ on the menu. Here at this McDonalds, they had busboy service at the tables.
After lunch, they played their first basketball game against the local Junior International Team, and lost. Since it was a real Junior International game, the gym was packed. There were television news people everywhere.
After the game, they returned to SCORE headquarters for a meal of rice and beans. This type of meal is common for supper, with slight variations.
The group he traveled with was co-ed, a girls volleyball team and girls and boys basketball teams. There were about nine to 12 on the teams, enough to make full teams for practice with some replacements.
After supper, they had devotions as a group and then talked for about an hour, played games and watched television. Only the coaches had Wi-Fi privileges but it is available there.
On Thursday morning, they visited a sugar cane village and Klemisch stated this was the hardest part for him. “We saw the houses, tin shacks with dirt floors. The kids there swarmed the bus and claim “their American.”
“I waited until last, and then one little kid, Juan, with our personalities turning out to be so alike, claimed me. He was like a little brother.”


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