Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hogar Mercedes

It is hard to believe that we are in our 7th week.  So much has transpired and every day is still an adventure.  Wallace’s ear infection is better, but he still has trouble hearing in his right ear and his equilibrium is still off but things are progressing in the right direction.

Tuesday we arranged a meeting between ADR (Associacion Dominican de Reabilitacion) and the LDS Church employment and PEF (Perpetual Education Fund) directors.  ADR, one of our partner organizations would like to hire about 45 LDS youth/returned missionaries that are interested in pursuing a career in teaching the handicapped, Physical Therapy and Special Education.  They are impressed with the LDS and are looking for good honest people to hire to further their rehabilitation efforts with the physically and mentally handicapped.  They will guarantee employment while going to school and a job after graduation to the right youth.   This is a great opportunity for the youth who are interested in this type career.  Using PEF funds, the youth go to school, graduate and have some wonderful opportunities.  They are obligated to pay a good share of the funds back to PEF.  ADR has about 26 offices around the DR.  The directors of ADR are not LDS but have received humanitarian help from the LDS to provide wheelchairs to the poor.

We thought you surveyors out there would enjoy this picture of a surveyor who chanced to come to the survey monument we told you about last week to get a shot.  A surveyor here is called a “Agrimensor”.

After the meeting with ADR we went to the “Colonial Zone” to purchase a topographic map for one of the areas we have a water project in.  It was an interesting experience locating and purchasing a digital copy of the map we needed.
                                                         Figure 129 Getting a Digital Topo Map

Afterward, we took time to do a little sight seeing in the Colonial Zone.  The Colonial Zone is a part of the city that has many old structures built back in Columbus’ day. 

                                      Figure 130 Church next door to last known residence of Columbus in Santo Domingo
                                                                    Figure 131 Edith in Colonia Zone

                     Figure 132 Edith on steps at Colonial Zone
                                                                Figure 133 Wallace at Colonial Zone

Contrary to the impression often given in our schools in the USA, Christopher Columbus did not land on USA soil.  We researched it a little bit and it doesn’t appear he ever set foot on what is USA soil.  Rather he landed on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas and on his second voyage he claimed the land for Spain all the land occupied today by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  He died in Spain, but his remains were moved several times.  The Dominicans claim he is buried at the “Columbus Lighthouse” here in Santo Domingo.
                                                                Hogar Mercedes

On Wednesday (23 May 26, 2012)  we visited Hogar Mercedes, the highlight for the week.  Hogar Mercedes is a home run by a few nuns for the benefit of  23 orphans and a school for the orphans and children from the neighborhood. 

We found the children very well disciplined as Sister Livia Campoverde Encalada, the Catholic Nun who manages the school gave us a tour.  She and the three other Nuns who live with her at the school provide everything for their needs: food, housing, medical and religious and scholarly education.  They are an excellent example of people who have dedicated their lives to a marvelous work and a wonder, creating miracles in the lives of a few of God’s children, following the example of Christ and doing it with nothing but the power of faith.  We were very impressed with their example and how God is working through people of all faiths to watch after and care for his children.  It touched our hearts and lifted our spirits and at the same time condemned us for our many acts of selfishness throughout our lives.

The two year old standing in front of the statue of Christ in the following picture was brought to the school as an infant when her mother had abandoned her.  She is a happy intelligent child today.  What do you think, is the sacrifice of Sister Encalada worth it?  We think so.
                                                    Figure 135 Wallace, Sister Encalada, child, Edith

Last week a young man walked into the engineering office of our son Nathan to apply for a job.  Because of this interview, Nathan called Jim Nelson, a professor at BYU and discovered that he had a contact in the DR.  This contact is Fidel Perez, a high level person in INDRHI  (Instituto Nacional Dominicano Recursos Hidrolocos) here in Santo Domingo.  Jim introduced us to Fidel via email and we visited with Fidel this week.  It was a great meeting and we feel this contact will be a key contact for the water projects we are doing here.  We do not feel this was a coincidence. The Lord created this circle to put us in connection with Fidel.  He has offered all the help he can, particularly if there are people or organizations who may need a little prodding to get things done.  They also have ground water and hydrologic and flood data that will be very important.  He will also help us to understand the processes and how to get things done.  INDRHI also has some smaller water projects they cannot get to that maybe we can pursue.  You are going to hear more about this in the weeks to come! 
                                                     Figure 136 Drill rig promised by Fidel for our use
Finally after 7 weeks of working hard, we took a little time off to relax.  We went with 3 other adult missionary couples to Playa Juan Dolio about a 45 minute drive from Santo Domingo.  The following are a few pictures of our outing.  The beach was beautiful though the snorkeling wasn’t very good.  It was fun to get away.
                                                                  Figure 137 Playa Juan Dolio

We tried a little snorkeling, but the water was pretty murky and we only saw a few fish.

We did find a shell occupied with a hermit crab about the size of your fist.  It was fun to watch him carefully extend one claw, dig it into the sand and flip himself over.  The fun ended when a native came along, waited for the crab to stick his claw out, then the native took out his machete and cut the claw off.  He said he was going to eat the claw.
                                                      Figure 138 Wallace and Edith at the beach

Well that’s the end of another great adventure.  It was a great week.  The Lord continues to bless us with many growing experiences in a beautiful land full of beautiful people who look to God every day for their daily bread and are content with what the Lord has seen fit in his wisdom to grant to them.


  1. I hope I am doing this the right way. This is my first comment. I have enjoyed you blog. What a great way to keep everyone updated on your mission. The Lazona Ward misses you, but we are glad the Lord is putting you both to good use.