The wheelchair shipment has arrived! This arrival was much anticipated by our three wheelchair partners: Consejo Nacional Sobre Discapacidad (CONADIS), Asociación de Personas con Discapacidad Físico-Motora (ASODIFIMO) and Asociación Dominica de Rehabilitación (ADR). All three organizations were out of wheelchairs in June 2012 when this project was initiated with specialist Kelvin Cullimore. The project was approved August 9, 2012 and the shipment was sent on December 22nd. The list of those needing the chairs has been growing longer as time passed and finally the shipment arrived on February 4, 2013. It took two weeks to get the shipment out of customs. Tuesday, February 19th a big delivery/ distribution ceremony was held. Wallace was asked to sit at the head table and give a speech. He was also interviewed to appear on the evening news!
Margaret Rodriguez, Directora Relacions Públicas, ADR conducts. Seated at the head table are: Wallace Haws, LDS; Arturo Perez, ADR; Mary Perez Marranzini, ADR; Magino Corporan, CONADIS; Miguel Garcia, ASODIFIMO
Items donated by the Church included 1,100 Wheelchairs, 250 walkers, 250 canes, 240 crutches, 90 canes for the blind, 160 pressure relief cushions and 4 parts repair kits. As part of this project the Church also purchased 200 Rough Rider Wheelchairs that were constructed in the country at the ADR facility.AZUA WATER
Our second meeting with INAPA and the Azua Water Committee took place this week. INAPA is the government agency in charge of municipal water systems here in the DR. The committee has to travel two hours by taxi to Santo Domingo. This is a big sacrifice for them, because they are all poor, but they are motivated to make this project happen and INAPA is listening. INAPA has already been to Azua to study the place to drill a well and to test the water. The results are still pending. We ask ourselves why is INAPA cooperating so well? Another question comes to our minds, “What is the influence of two North Americans sitting in a conference room?” Humanitarian Missionaries walk a fine line between helping and ending up funding the total bill. There are limits to what will be approved in funding, so we have to be careful. The good thing is that there are many organizations that are helping in the DR and we hope with the right contacts, we can get this community of 9,000 people some water close to their homes.
We met with the San Geronimo Ward to help with a quilt project. Keeli Billings is here from the States while her husband works at the US Embassy. The women of the Ward were so excited when Keeli arranged to get some quilt material donated from people she knew in the states. No one had ever quilted or embroidered before. She needed help showing them how to do the work. We came to help and found that the ladies are fast learners and excited to meet every Thursday evening until the projects are complete. One of the ladies asked, “How do you get packages?” She explained that there was mail service through the US Embassy. While there are delivery services here, they are not always trustworthy and there is no regular mail delivery system. Can you imagine not being able to order anything over the internet? No amazon.com or eBay for the natives here.