By JAMES ALLAN
GAUTIER, D.R. — To say Monday’s visit to Gautier was eye-opening is a vast understatement.
The University of Iowa baseball team visited the community — a 10-minute drive from its resort in Boca Chica — to partake in a community service project. The Hawkeyes and the players’ families that made the trip to the Dominican Republic painted three houses in the poverty-stricken community — a small feat, but one that left a lasting impression.
“It’s hard to explain, once you see it in person, it changes your perspective,” said sophomore Cole McDonald, a New Hampton, Iowa native. “The people really do need all the extra things like shoes and clothes. It was nice to give back to the people here because we take so much for granted.”
It was a surreal experience for junior Tyler Cropley.
“Walking through the community and seeing the houses they were in was surreal,” said Cropley. “I was taken aback in seeing that they can survive with what they have.”
It was just two hours out of the team’s day, but it truly was an eye-opening experience.
“It’s something that makes you want to give back more when we get back to the United States,” said McDonald. “Charities are something I will want to be part of going forward.”
Cropley believes the experience can give the Hawkeyes a better perspective.
“It meant a lot to give back to a community like this,” he said. “We’re going to be going back home in a few days and I think it will really help us appreciate everything a lot more.”
Iowa (1-1) returns to action Tuesday, facing Escogido in Quisqueya Stadium beginning at 8:30 a.m. (CT).