Making the World a Better Place
A few weeks ago I had a great meal in Pittsburgh at the Cadillac Ranch (great place, you should try it!). We normally try to get to know our waiter or waitress a bit – it always seems to make a more enjoyable time.
This experience was totally different from any time I have asked our waiter “what do you do for fun?”.
Meet Dakota Carpin, a nursing student at nearby Robert Morris University. Dakota wins the best response ever for this question. I normally find out that most waiters and waitresses like to hang out with their friends, talk about their spring break trip, or about their kids. Dakota’s response? “I’m trying to save up to go back to Nicaragua to help people in need.”
I’ve heard a few people mention that they will go on mission trips with their church or schools, but this was different. Dakota was basically working to save enough money to personally fund his trip to help others – talking about someone who is unselfish!!
He showed me some pictures of a family that he told me was now part of HIS family. How they live in a shack the size of what we would consider a small storage space. It leaked, was about to collapse, and everyone sleeps on the ground. On his last trip, he personally funded supplies and all his expenses so he could rebuild their shelter. I was touched and forgot about all of my problems for a few days after our run-in with Dakota.
I asked Dakota if he would write about his trip so that I could share with Steeler Nation – and the rest of the world. Dakota needs some financial help and I told him I would see what I could do to help him out. It is important to note that this was not Dakota’s idea, he’s much too humble and a little shy to ask for that. But ….. after reading his story below, please consider helping him out with whatever you can spare – every dollar counts for his trip. Also – please share this article with others – I think this is a great story of how not just Steeler fans give back, but how we should all learn a little from Dakota’s example.
Dakota has put together a site for donations and there is a video that shows his last trip – you won’t want to miss it. DONATE TODAY - You’ll feel good about helping his cause!
Here is the information that I asked Dakota to share:
Robert Morris University Transcultural Medical Mission Trip to Nicaragua
I believe that everyone was placed on this earth for a specific reason, whether we realize it or not. It wasn’t until November 2013, when I took my first trip to Nicaragua, that I realized the purpose and true meaning of my life. This experience completely touched me and changed my whole outlook on life. Nicaragua taught me materials don’t create happiness; it’s about the experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
I had never been to a third world country before, nor had I realized what it was truly like to live under such harsh circumstances. Pictures and videos don’t give justice to the conditions that these people encounter everyday. People in Nicaragua don’t have anything compared to us in the United States, but the sad part about it is that they’re happier than anyone I’ve ever met. People here are happy for the wrong reasons; it shouldn’t be about materialistic items you possess, but the family that you have and who will always be there for you.
The family that I took care of while in Nicaragua made me feel like I was apart of their family, and I now look at them as if they are my family. It’s sad to see such wonderful kids with so much potential being stuck and never being able to progress in life because of their financial situation. For example, the mother in my family made two dollars a day to support her and her three kids. This just shows how far a little bit of money can go to help these families. Most of the families in Nicaragua live in a house no bigger than most American’s living rooms, and they are forced to sleep on the dirt because they can’t afford anything more.
This family’s house is almost ready to collapse on the mother and her three children. The support beams are rotting and twisting. There are holes in every tin wall and the roof is no better. This inspired me to take out a loan to pay to rebuild this family’s home. Especially after the response we got when we explained to our family that we had some extra money to help buy them some supplies and asked them what they needed. The mother told us that we have given her everything by showing her that there is someone out there who truly cares about them. This statement is something I will never forget.
During these trips we set up a clinic to perform health assessments, provide medications, and educate the financially and economically disadvantaged families in the barrio. Most people here have never seen a doctor before and don’t even know about half of their medical problems. Nursing students, as myself, work along side Doctor Ross to help assess and diagnose any medical problems, as well as helping to teach the community treatment and exercise options. Even though we may help them tremendously, I feel that what I’ve taken out of this experience is greater than anything we could possibly do for them.
Since before I started attending college, I had my mind set on becoming a Nurse Anesthetist; but after I sat down with Doctor Ross in Nicaragua and talked about my love for helping people, I realized why I wanted to pursue this career, money. Money isn’t what life is all about nor is it what makes you happy, and Nicaragua taught me that. It’s the experiences that you’ll remember forever and the accomplishments that you make on the way. This is why I now want to become a Nurse Practitioner; therefore I can continue going back to Nicaragua three times a year with Doctor Ross from my school to continue helping the people who truly need it.
This is why I am writing this article for everyone. I’m trying to raise money to assist me in returning to Nicaragua and pursuing this dream. Each trip costs $2500 to go on and I have to pay this each trip out of pocket. I don’t have the money to keep attending these trips and helping but with your support it’s possible. Any extra money being donated will go towards medications, beds, stoves, plates, water storage systems, tarps for roofs, clothing, and food for the poor families in need. Any support is greatly appreciated!
Dakota Carpin, RMU Nursing Student
Dakota Carpin with a Ukulele from Nicaragua