Sunday, June 10, 2012


Edith experienced surgery in the Dominican Republic this week!  But we will reserve that report to the end of this week’s report to keep your attention.

We drove to the “Parque Mirador del Sur” to do our morning walk.  It is a long skinny park with running and biking trails that is very popular.  We wanted to visit the park for the fun of it and to test our the GPS unit Wallace is planning to use on the water projects.  Wallace concluded it is find for horizontal, but is way off vertically.

                                                                  Figure 152 Edith at Mirador Park

                                                             Figure 153 Curb and Gutter construction

All you civil engineers out there will be interested in the sub-base used for this curb and gutter construction.

Last Sunday we took the Despain couple with us to visit the wards in Bonao (about a 1.5 hour drive north of Santo Domingo) and then to visit the “Hogar de Ancianos” an old folks home.  Wallace had taken his Ukulele, which Elder Despain played while we sang “Amazing Grace” and “I am a child of God” to the residents.  The Hogar de Ancianos is a home for old people run by 4 little Catholic Nuns.  They are doing a marvelous work.  We provided them with some equipment they needed.

                                                   Figure 154 Despains and Haws' singing with Ukulele

                                                     Figure 155 Edith greeting some of the residents
We had a wonderful visit at the Hogar de Ancianos and once again reminded us of the many people of all faiths who see a need in their community and don’t just talk about it, but do something even without support of the government.  One of the nuns pulled out her guitar and they sang for us before we left the home.  It was a very special occasion that touched our hearts.

We also went to Alcarizzos to visit CONANI.

The following picture is of the ward committee that was organized by the bishop in preparation for our visit.
                                                      Figure 156 Los Alcarrizos ward committee

                                                                              Figure 157 Huelga

We experienced our first “Huelga” on the way to CONANI.  It was a street riot.  We don’t know what they were rioting about, but we were glad we were in our car, even though we were stuck in traffic right in front of them for a little while.

                                                                   Figure 158 CONANI School
CONANI is a school established to take in children who have terrible home situations.  They teach them and feed them and then send them home at night.  They are doing a wonderful work.  The ward committee is putting together a project to include some play equipment for the children and to fix the bathrooms which do not flush.  It was a pretty ugly scene there!

                                                             Figure 159 Street Meat Vendor

                                                         Figure 160 Man sleeping on the sidewalk
It is not uncommon to see homeless men sleeping on the sidewalk.  It really pulls at your heart strings.

                                                          Figure 161 Via Verde Mother
We visited a place called Via Verde this week.  It is by far the poorest all anywhere we have visited so far.  The people mostly live in wooden shacks with tin roofs and dirt floors.  Most do not have any electricity and few have any running water. 
                                                                     Figure 162 Little girl in Via Verde

                                                            Figure 163 Edith, children and Wallace
This is a land of extreme contrasts.  What was our surprise to also see this house under construction in Via Verde!

                                                     Figure 164 Three Story house in Via Verde

                                                          Figure 165 Dominican Scouts Headquarters

                                                                  Figure 166 Guard with chicks
Our guard is taking a phycology class on Saturdays.  During the week he is learning about human nature as he studies his chicks and trying to teach them tricks!

Now we will tell you the story about the surgery!

June 10, 2012:  About two and a half weeks ago Edith noticed a bump on her neck.  At first she thought it was an infected mole, but it was hard and never came to a head.  Also it started growing larger. After consulting the area medical advisor and a dermatologist from the States (over the internet), Edith was off to get it biopsied. Luckily there was a Dermatologist by the name of Jaime Martinez, who had an office within walking distance of our apartment.  His name was listed on the Bluecard Worldwide Medical guide.

  After touring medical facilities in the country, Edith was a little apprehensive at first, but when Dr. Martinez walked in his one room office with a simple ceiling fan overhead, he was very confident and immediately recognized the growth as a “Queratoacantoma” (Keratoacanthoma in English).  This just so happened to be one of the possible diagnosis that the dermatologist in the States had given. Dr. Martinez said the growth had to be biopsied, in fact he said he would remove the whole thing.  Edith was in surgery the next day.  The surgery center was next door to the doctor’s office. 

                                                                 Figure 167 Dr. Martinez and Edith

Surgery is different in the DR than in the USA.  The doctor performs surgeries every day at 3 p.m.  No waiting.  Dr. Martinez was there to personally escort us back to the operating room.  One operating room and one changing room is all there was.  The equipment was adequate and clean.  No recovery room was needed.  When finished the doctor personally escorted us back to his office to pay, then handed us a jar with the growth in it to be taken to the pathologist.  We walked across the street to the pathologist and paid him.  Then walked to the pharmacy to get antibiotic and pain pills, then back to the surgery center to pay our bill.  It was all completed in a little under three hours.  No hassle, just paid in cash.  The pharmacy even hands you back your prescription and sells the pain pills by the pill, you just say what you want, come back if you need more.

The walk to the doctor was easy enough.  A car would have been in the way as it is very difficult to find any parking.  In reality we paid a lot less than this kind of procedure would have cost in the States.  We paid a total of $15,000 Pesos or about $390 US which includes, Doctor, Surgery Center, Pharmacy, Pathologist and follow up visits.

                                                                          Figure 168 Edith's Stitches
The results were received three days after surgery.  It was indeed a Keratoacanthoma, no cancer.  Stitches to be removed ten days later and a follow up visit in a month, are all included in our payment.


  1. Wow what another week! Hope neither of you will need to visit the doctor again for a long while.

  2. I'm glad that the surgery went well. Quite different than in the States!

    By the way, I met Brother (President) Fleming on Saturday. It was good to see him again.

  3. We love the updates. What's your utilization rate these days Wallace? I think you're well above 90%! Thanks for serving and thanks for sharing the experience with all of us.

  4. You can walk into the lab and get a lipid profile any time you want in Santo Domingo. I think it cost me about $8 to do that. No prescription, no appointment. Very efficient.