Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We traveled to Batey 8 near Vicente Noble, 3 hours from Santo Domingo on Wednesday to attend a closing ceremony for a water purification system installed by World Water Relief in the community school and financed by the Church.  A Batey is a sugar cane plantation supported by cheap labor, usually Haitians, who typically live in a small very poor community next to the field.  Most have lived there for generations---stuck in the grip of poverty from one generation to the next. 

The water purification project was a success and did much good for the school by giving them good clean water to drink as well as repaired the bathrooms.  Can you imagine sending your little school kids to a school with no bathrooms and no water and no air-conditioning in the middle of July in Arizona?  That is what is like to go to school in a Batey.

The closing ceremony was a lot of fun.  Wallace took his ukulele.  Nobody here in the DR ever knows what a ukulele is.  They think it is some kind of weird guitar.  Wallace has fun with that commenting he is feeding the little guy a lot of habichuelas and rice so it can grow up to be a guitar.  Wallace called a little boy out of the crowd and let him hold the ukulele and strum it.  The shy little boy was scared to death, but he was a big hit with his class mates. 
Standing on top of the water cisterned repaired by the project
As we were driving back from the closing ceremony, Pres. Figuereo asked us if we could get a new wheelchair for a homeless man they call Balechucho who lives in Vicente Noble.  Here is a picture of Balechucho.
Balechucho is mentally crazy as a result of an accident according to Pres Figuereo.  Balechucho was abandoned by his family and now wanders the streets (usually in the middle of the street where traffic has to dodge around him) begging food.  Every once in a while the members of the church take him to the church where they bath him and give him a new change of clothes.  This is a picture we took of him.  He is smoking a cigarette or at least he has a cigarette which he uses to burn the Styrofoam cup he wears on his head.  The wheel chair has no foot rests so his feet are pretty scarred from dragging on the asphalt and one of the front wheels is missing.  He couldn’t carry on an intelligent conversation.  We are going to get him a new Rough Rider all-terrain wheel chair to make his life just a little bit easier.
CONFIA EN DIOS (Trust in God)
It never ceases to amaze us how Dominicans are able to keep cars and motos running.  We see thousands of cars like this taxi every day.  The tires are bare, the motor leaks oil like a sieve, and yet with “Trust in God (Confia en Dios)” they just keeping running and running and running.  These little cockroach stinkers (chatarra=junk metal) pretty much claim the right of way because they have nothing to lose in a fender bender
Wallace is still trying to make a go of gardening at the Bishop’s Storehouse.  He took his truck around the corner and picked up leaves, brought it home to mix with sand, rice hulls and a little of the native dirt.

(sorry Elder Hammon, your tomatoes had to be sacrificed in the name of scientific progress.)
We ended the week by traveling to the Mesopotamia branch to work out some kinks in the food project in that branch.  The following picture is of the Elder’s Quorum president who started his own beautiful garden without any help from the Church!  That is the best way.  Maybe our visits are paying off a little bit.  He has tomatoes, peppers and potatoes in great abundance.  He is really proud of his work and so are we.  He has no more money than anyone else, but somehow found a way to get free seeds, some soil amendments, the tools, etc and has a beautiful garden.  He is a great example for the rest.


  1. Sounds like a good week. Wallace the famous DR Ukilele player.

  2. My tears are streaming down my cheeks,
    stopping only to sigh and breathe:
    Oh, little tomatoes, how I nurtured you,
    dug around your roots, took out the weeds,
    watered you, spoke soft Spanish to you.
    Oh, may you grow under the hand
    the real gardener, yea, even Elder Haws
    from Mesa Arizona that hot place south.
    May the strumming from his ukelele,
    soothe your aching roots, cause you to grow
    strong and pure and actually produce fruta.
    Lead on, Elder Haws, lead on.
    Show us the way.....