Sunday, September 30, 2012


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We worked really hard this week on the Food Project in San Jose de Ocoa and preparing for the visit by the NRT doctors. 
We are working with the Branch President Whalincon Mateo in San Jose de Ocoa to come up with a garden design that is practical for his people and to identify a water source solution for about 7 different families in Parra, a small community close to San Jose de Ocoa.  Our challenge is to develop a meaningful process for small garden projects that keeps ownership of the project in the hands of the participants. They are the authors of their own design and financial and construction management.  It isn’t easy putting something in place where we don’t end up buying everything, hauling everything and organizing work projects.  The less we are involved in the dirty work the better not because we don’t like to work in gardens because we do, but the reason is so the project doesn’t collapse the day we leave the mission field.  We are looking for a process that keeps on rolling without us.

During our visit with San Jose de Ocoa we were invited to eat lunch with a family.  It makes us nervous to eat in the homes of the native people because they simply do not have the same standards of cleanliness that we have, but it is a very rude thing to refuse.  So we eat and pray to stay well. They are such good people and consider it a great honor to have us dine with them.  They love us and we love them, so we cannot do any less.  The meal is almost always the same: a lot of rice, habichuelas (beans) and chicken.  It really is a good meal and we love the flavor of the food.

We did take a break to go with several of the other missionary couples to visit two waterfall locations near Jarabacoa (about 2 hours from Santo Domingo). The first waterfall we visited was an easy walk over suspension bridges past a small hydroelectric plant to a deck in front of the 40 foot falling water at Salto de Jimenoa Dos. It was a beautiful sight.  We enjoyed the 15 minute walk with fellow missionaries from our Spanish class, which is taught by Elder Darrell Hammon.
 The second waterfall proved at lot more difficult to get to.  The hike down the mountainside on switchback and very steep trails was a challenge.  Three of our group choose not to go all the way, but for those of us that made it down the slope to Salto de Jimenoa Uno it proved to be worth the effort.  There were no big crowds here.  We saw firsthand a scene out of Jurassic Park, because this was where one of the scenes of the movie was filmed.

On the way home from the falls, we stopped at a roadside restaurant.  We took the opportunity to go back into the kitchen and take some pictures.  The kitchen was interesting to say the least.
We ended the week with helping the visiting doctors in their first session training other doctors on latest practices in Neonatal Resuscitation.
We are standing in front of the NRT training chart that our son Ben had drafted in his Washington engineering office.  This coming week will be totally occupied with 2 days of training in Santo Domingo, 1 day of travel to Santiago, and 2 days of training in Santiago.
We end with a picture of one of the guards who watches over our property.  He is holding a shotgun pistol of sorts.  We doubt it actually works.  We have a guard 24 hours a day, 4 locked doors with bars and bars on every window in the place.


  1. Your previous girls' camp experiences with 4th year helped to prepare you for this last week of missionary service- food projects, eating in less than sanitary conditions and extreme hikes, all with people you love. Thank you for what you have done in the past and the excitement that you share as you serve the people of DR. We think of you often. Glad you are protected too. ~Elise & Mel

  2. What an adventure! And the adventure rolls on! Thanks for sharing.
    - Jeff and Dorcie