The above map shows where we traveled just this week. Tuesday we were in Constanza for a closing of the first project we started in the country back in April. Wednesday we were in La Romana to discuss humanitarian projects with the Stake President. We stayed in a resort in Bayhibe about ½ hour east of La Romana in celebration of our 41st wedding anniversary. Thursday we traveled to Punta Cana and visited with Ken Kartchner a Peace Corps volunteer and Church Short Term Water Specialist. Friday we traveled to San Cristobal to visit with a Catholic order of priests and brothers who run a home and school for male youth in trouble with the law or who were abandoned. We were very tired by the end of the week, but felt it was a fruitful week and as always full of adventure! If only you could tag along!
We started the week celebrating Thanksgiving with the other missionaries. As usual Edith was in the middle of things. She was co-chairman of the event. Elder Anderson, President of the Area Presidency told about his recent visit to Cuba to visit a little branch of the church there. He told of their struggles living under a dictatorship whose economic system has failed the people. He told of the simple things they are so grateful for and the simple things they hope for that we take for granted. Things we have because we are a free people.
CONSTANZACruz Rivera, Americo Garcia (Pres. of Constanza branch), Lucas Quezada (Hospital Director), Wallace, Edith
We traveled to Constanza, about 2.5 hours from Santo Domingo up a steep winding road to a community built high up on the slopes of Mt. Duarte in a very fertile little valley. The purpose of our visit was to attend the closing ceremony of the first project we started when we came to the DR. The Church purchased some much needed medical equipment including this surgical lamp.
Here we sitting at the head table during the closing ceremony during which Wallace was surprised with the invitation to speak.
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: 41ST ANNIVERSARY
On our way to Punta Cana we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary at the Cadaques Resort hotel in Bayhibe. We were almost the only ones in the resort. It is beautiful. If any of the family come to visit we know at least one nice place to stay and have fun.
We went to Punta Cana to visit with Ken Kartchner, a Peace Corps volunteer who also serves as a Short Term Water Specialist for the Church. We really enjoyed our visit and felt encouraged in our efforts and struggles we have been having with water projects. Ken and his wife joined the Peace Corps after their kids were raised. His wife is now in Bolivia helping in a school program while Ken is assigned with the Peace Corps in the Punta Cana area to work on a water and sanitation project. While there Ken went with us to tour the Ecological reserves and gardens as well as one of the big resorts. We do not recommend staying in these resorts.
Glass beehive demonstration box.
Fresh Water pool in the presearve
Punta Cana Resort
Beautiful new highway to Punta Cana
Amazing bridge just beyond San Pedro de Macoris
INSTITUTO PREPARATORIO DE MENORES DE SAN CRISTOBALWe finished up the week responding to a request from the Stake President in San Cristobal to consider a humanitarian project to benefit the Instituto Preparatorio de Menores de San Cristobal. It is a school started and run by 5 Catholic priests, members of a Catholic community, whose mission and purpose is to rescue young male deliquents. Young men who have been found guilty of crimes are given the option to live in the home as an opportunity to reform. We were very impressed with their organization, level of commitment and success record. They also take into their basic school, 400 students from the surrounding community who have either been rejected by the public school system because of discipline problems or young men and boys who have been abandoned or abused. We were impressed with their vision, purpose and spirit.
They also have a very large garden and raise pigs to provide a major part of their own food. We found them to be creative, energetic, committed and worthy of emulation. The following picture is of the momma pig who gives a steady stream of little piglets for the table. Isn't she cute!
Edith Trying her hand at stirring the pot in the kitchen.
Wallace explaining the process and parameters for a church humanitarian project to Father Francisco Corrales and an assistant priest and Louisa the Stake Public Affairs assistant.
This is just one of many open air meat markets that we see along the side of the road. These are goats. Meat anyone?