The MonumentWe finally went to visit a monument that has been calling to us since we arrived in the DR. This Monument was built in honor of Anton De Montesinos, Friar from Spain, who first arrived on the Island of Hispaniola in 1510 and gave a never to be forgotten sermon on the 21st of December, 1511, criticizing the practices of the Spanish colonial slavery and harsh treatment of the Taíno Indian people. His words are engraved in stone at the base of the monument, "Tell me by what right of justice do you hold these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against these people who dealt quietly and peacefully on their own lands? Wars in which you have destroyed such an infinite number of them by homicides and slaughters never heard of before. Why do you keep them so oppressed and exhausted, without giving them enough to eat or curing them of the sicknesses they incur from the excessive labor you give them, and they die, or rather you kill them, in order to extract and acquire gold every day."
This statue faces the Caribbean sea at the seafront of Santo Domingo, not far from our apartment, but along the very busy street of George Washington that winds itself around the Mar (Ocean). Wallace claims the statues is warning all on comers to, ”Go Home! Go Home while you still can!”FOOD PROJECT IN SAN JOSE DE OCOA
The Food Project was our main focus this week. We traveled to San Jose de Ocoa to interview some technicians, who will give training to the people on how to grow a garden. The department of Agriculture here in the DR offers free classes and support. Their purposes and ours go hand in hand. We then returned today to receive surveys from each family interested in participating in the “Projecto de Alimentario”. The purpose of the project is to lift the people by providing the means for them to grow a vegetable garden in or near their homes and to teach principals of self-sufficiency and home storage of food. 70% of the people in this area are unemployed. There is no public welfare. People here are much better at helping their neighbor than many are in the US. But it still means that beans and rice are the main diet. Vegetables will improve the nutrition of the people. We are very excited to get this project started.ARMED HOLD UP!
Wallace had a wakeup call on how dangerous the roads are at night. Our neighbor, Joanne Hammon, had a late night flight to catch, so Wallace and Darrell Hammon took her to the airport. As they crossed the “floating bridge” and rounded a corner, they were suddenly stopped by a group of men with guns. The men were dressed in military attire, but they may or may not have been in the military. All of a sudden everyone in the car ‘forgot how to speak Spanish’. In fact Elder Hammon was so nervous that he said in English, “We don’t speak English, We don’t speak English!”. One of the men asked for documents, where we were going, who were we and finally money for his supper. All they got was “We don’t speak English!” and they finally waved them on. We are very grateful that they were able to proceed to the airport. We know the Lord protects us, but we will use a different route to the airport at night, after this experience.