Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lamoni's Sheep

There are many Dominicans firm in the opinion that the Dominican Republic is the land of the Nephites and Lamanites.  Wallace used to scoff at the idea, but now Wallace and Edith both believe this is indeed the land of the Nephites and Lamanites!  To us it fits better than any other explanation of Book of Mormon geography.  Someday we will explain that, but this blog is not about that.  It is about Lamoni’s sheep.
We didn’t even believe there were sheep in the DR, but here are pictures of Lamoni’s Sheep.  They may look like goats to you in this picture, but trust us, there is a difference and they are known by all as “sheep” in the DR.

Wallace started talking to them as we watched them graze.  He must have said something very interesting to the sheep because suddenly they reacted as a group.  Unfortunately we were not prepared for this startling reaction from the herd (flock?).  Before our camera was ready and rolling they all came running as a group to the fence.  They acted most pleased to find a human being who could speak their language.   Unfortunately, they soon lost interest in the conversation, ended up ignoring Wallace.  It was probably due to his limited language skills which actually sounded more bovine than sheep- like.  Maybe it was because what Wallace had to say exhibited almost zero knowledge of sheep affairs.  They disdainfully tossed their heads and with nose in the air went on their way ignoring further attempts at communication below their dignity.  Perhaps Wallace needs to develop his sheepish vocabulary?
One of the significant differences in the Dominican Republic is their respect for the Dead.  Back home we dig a hole and bury the deceased with a little marker above ground to mark the spot of the honorable ancestor.  The distinguishing feature of a cemetery is grass, flat markers and or some bigger stone in neat little rows. 
Cemeteries in the Dominican Republic are different.
DR traditions include the fear that if you go to a cemetery when you are ill, you run the risk of dying of that illness.  When you see a funeral pass by, you must cross yourself or you will be possessed of the dead.  When you pass a graveyard, don’t forget to cross yourself for protection and out of respect.
The dead are given homes to live in.  Check some of these out.  They are more solid homes than possessed by many of living!  We suppose they need to be since the dead are going to spend a very long time there, they need to be made comfortable.

We love driving up the windy dirt mountain road to the little town tucked into the mountains overlooking the city of San Jose de Ocoa in the valley below.  The mountain vista and clean air are refreshing and the faith and humble spirit of the wonderful people renews our own.  This week we visited the school to see a couple of water filters in operation and to review Whalicon Mateo’s garden and chicken project he put together without any help from the church.  Our encouragement to have gardens and chickens is paying dividends in a few places.

We visited another hospital this week in planning for another humanitarian project.  It is difficult to explain the inadequate facilities and difficult circumstances endured by doctors, nurses and patients alike.  This hospital serves a very large community and attends to all kinds of emergencies, childhood problems, births and some surgeries----all without the most basic of equipment.  There is so much need.  It pulls at your heart strings to think of the suffering!  Here is a picture of Edith examining their only dilapidated wheel chair sitting in the back of the building. 

Yet what was our astonishment when we were told the government had built a brand new hospital about 5 minutes away which was equipped with modern medical tools, but it has sat with doors shut, idle full of equipment because they can’t afford to pay anyone to work there except the 2 guards who protect the building!  Couldn’t they have thought about that before they spent the money on the building?

Edith looks younger every day.  She taught the branch council this week for about 20 minutes all by herself.  Her Spanish is getting pretty good.  Wallace is very proud of her

President Gvenony Soriano, president of the Monte Plata branch standing in front of his home

A finger exercise device made by Innovacion Orthopedia out of 8” PVC pipe.
Road jam on our way to Parra.


  1. We loved the sheep-talk. Fun. The cemetery was also impressive. I like the idea of having a little house to bury my loved-ones when they die.


  2. Whalicon Mateo buen trabajo con los pollos y jardín! No puedo esperar a hacer lo mismo.

  3. And I remember when you didn't believe me when I told you there were sheep in the DR......

  4. I'm dying to know what the DR did to turn goats into sheep?. Is it a sign on the fence? DNA

  5. Was it a specific amount of sunshine on the goat hair or are they goats in sheep's clothing? Hmmmm a limited vocabulary for cattle? Or did the sheep forget to cross themselves as they passed a cemetery so the got the disease of the dead?

  6. How long have you been on the island now? Maybe it's time for you two to return to civilization. : )

    1. We have been here in the DR 11 months and Elder has has become Dominican in many ways--especially in the driving. I'm afraid he will have a hard adjustment period when we do return home.

  7. Origin and history of the Barbados Blackbelly. It is generally agreed that these hair sheep were introduced into Barbados from West Africa. They have existed in Barbados for well over three hundred years. Ligon in “A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados” (1657) wrote (on p. 59) “We have here, but very few [sheepe]; and these do not like well the pasture, being very unfit for them; a soure tough and saplesse grasse, and some poisonous plant they find, which breeds diseases amongst them, and so they dye away, they never are fat, and we thought a while the reason had been, their too much heate with their wool, and so got them often shorne; but that would not cure them, yet the Ews bear always two Lambs, their flesh when we tried any of them had a very faint taste, so that I do not think they are fit to be bred or kept in that Country: other sheep we have there, which are brought from Guinny and Binny, and those have haire growing on them instead of wool; and are liker Goates than Sheep, yet their flesh is tasted more like mutton than the other”.