Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grandma Injuried Toting Water

This was a very interesting week.  We hope you enjoy our little story and pictures.  Click HERE if you want to just look at the pictures and movies.
We are still trying very hard to develop a major water project.  The ones we have on the books are all on hold for one reason or another, but we started developing a relationship with the Peace Corps this week that may prove fruitful.
We went with Daniel Saboa, a Peace Corps volunteer and Mariela Moronta, a Peace Corps employee to visit one of their water projects located in Las Palmas.
This picture shows Mariela with Daniel’s adoptive family, grand-dad, Augustine; Mother, Tatao; Daniel and his father, Amillio.  Cacao beans are drying on the ground in front of them.  Cacao beans are one of their main cash crops.  Cacao in English is cocoa.   These are the beans that chocolate is made from.
Daniel lived in this little blue house with his host family for the 1st 3 months of his 24 month service to acclimate himself to the country, the community of Las Palmas, the culture and food.  Daniel is a Civil Engineering graduate with his EIT from Colorado.  His 8 months here have been full of exciting adventures. 
Wallace talked to the “grand-dad” a little bit.  He was sitting at the side of the house near the street with a plastic gallon jug of gasoline that he was offering for sale.  He said he was 70 and “pico” years old, meaning he was over 70 but he didn’t really know when he was born or how old exactly he is.  The “dad” pulled out his machete and carved some oranges for us to eat.
After living with his host family, Daniel uses part of his meager income from the Peace Corps to rent this little house near his host family for RD$2,000 per month (about $50 US).  It is simple with no running water, occasional electricity, but has the luxury to have an in-door toilet and shower (primitive though it is).  If your young people are looking for a real adventure---join the Peace Corps!
The purpose of our visit was to review their water project.  One of our first stops was to visit with a woman (the Grandma of this headline) about her experience in life related to water.  Here she is telling her story.
She is 69 years old, has lived in this same house all her life and carried water 6 times a day every day of her life since she was 6 years old until she fell and hurt her shoulders and arms.  One bucket of water weighs about 42 lbs.  Her life has been very difficult, but even though she wasn’t smiling for this picture, she was actually a pretty happy woman ready to share what little she has from her wood burning stove.
We took a walk down the path to trace her steps toting water all these years to see where she gets her water.
These people may be in short supply of water, sanitation, electrical power and the other “necessities” of life, but they live in what has to be God’s most beautiful creations.  Everyone we meet is happy, friendly and willing to help you at all times.  They were so concerned about Edith’s safety and ready to lend her a helping hand at every step down the trail.  They didn’t know that Edith is one hiking dude!
After hiking down the trail for a ways we came to where they get the water out of the stream.  Two little local boys demonstrated how they take water out of a little pocket constructed at the point of a small spring.  This water hole serves approximately 15 families who all share the same water bucket. 

The water hole is a short distance away from a latrine. The house is on the left.  The latrine is the small wooden structure on the right.
Edith, Daniel and Mariela overlooking the village.  The landscape is beautiful.  Wallace has decided to buy a lot, build a little wood house with a latrine and move here!  Wallace just has to convince Edith first.  You will be invited to visit of course. 
The white apparatus in the front of this house is an electric washing machine.  You have to haul water to it and if you happen to have electricity, you don’t have to wash your clothes by hand!
Speaking of electricity, most of the lower voltage wires in this community are unsheathed and spliced by just twisting wire together.  The day after Daniel arrived in the village, he attended a funeral of a man who was electrocuted because he came into contact with one of the low hanging wires while he was riding a horse.
Our last stop was with the “champion” of the project who has been trying to get water to his community for many years.  He told us his story.
Then he showed us some engineering plans prepared by the government to bring water to the community.  A politician came out with the press and made a lot of promises, none of which were fulfilled after he was elected to office.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to working with the Peace Corps to construct this project.
RAYO DEL SOL (School for mentally challenged)
Another highlight of our week was to attend the closing of our humanitarian project benefiting a school for mentally handicapped children.
Wallace is examining an angel they made out of newspaper.
Along with the Ruckers, we were invited to eat at the Marte’s home.

Hermano Almonte invited a group of us senior missionaries to take advantage of the national Dominican Republic Constitution day by visiting him at his home in Jarabacoa.  His home is absolutely beautiful in a gorgeous setting.  We enjoyed the day in company with each other and saw a part of the country we have not seen before.

He has a turtle pond.  Notice the mama turtle with 3 little guys on her back.

Wallace finally learned how to play Dominican dominoes.
They fed us two traditional Dominican meals while there.

He has his own river a short distance away. 
If any of you come to the DR to visit us and want to stay at this home, Juan Almonte is more than happy to accommodate us!

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