September 16, 2012. This past week was spent with Dr. David Jacobs and his wife Jenny. Dr. Jacobs provides medical and surgical retina care for the North Dakota area served by Trinity Health. As a Clinical Assistant Professor for the University Of North Dakota School Of Medicine he teaches residents and medical students concerning the management of ophthalmic disease. He came to the Dominican Republic to do lectures and perform retinal surgeries at the Instituto Nacional De Diabetes Endocrinologia Y Nutricion (INDEN). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated a $60,000 Constellation Vision System to the hospital. He performed 6 surgeries using this new piece of equipment and advised us as humanitarian missionaries for the Church if the equipment functioned correctly and if the hospital had what they needed to perform retinal surgeries.
Tuesday we toured a local public hospital and school, visited the cave “Tres Ojos” and visited the “Faro de Colon” (Columbus Lighthouse). True to Dominican luck we arrived at the Faro when the electricity was off and were unable to go inside. Someday when we are able to go inside we are going to give a full interesting report of the Faro de Colon.
The most meaningful sight-seeing trip that we have experienced so far happened on Wednesday when we, along with Jenny and our neighbors, the Hammons, drove two and a half hours to an area close to Salcedo. Here we visited the house where the Mirabal sisters lived that is now a museum. For those of you who do not know who the Mirabal sisters are, they are depicted in the movie “In the Time of the Butterflies”, based on the novel by the same name written by Julia Alvarez. These women showed great fortitude and courage as they took a stand against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, three of the sisters dying as martyrs in 1960. They have one sister that remains alive today and is in her 87th year. Dedé Mirabal lives about 2 miles from the museum, where she resides in her childhood home and oversees the beautiful flower gardens. The Ecoparque de la Paz is a beautiful park a short walking distance away. As we approached Dedé’s home we noticed a guard entering the gate and asked about an interview with Dedé, which we had learned that she does on occasion. We were invited to visit the Ecoparque after which Dedé would receive us.