Sunday, May 26, 2013


Mosiah 7:18 “-----notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain, yet I thrust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.”

We witnessed a lot of poverty this week and people struggling for survival.  The challenges are almost indescribable, the result of incorrect traditions—the blood of generations, obstacles as high as mountains blocking the path of anyone trying to break away from the mold, and the poor who continue to suffer, often not knowing the depth of their own sufferings!  We do not judge these people because we do not know the depth of the suffering they have endured or the temptations faced.  We wonder what is the best way to help people in poverty?  We often ask ourselves if we are making any difference in this country and when will the poor make an “effectual struggle” to escape their pathetic conditions. 


We loaded up our pickup with clothes the church is recycling from the Emergency Storage bins and visited a Batey with some of the other missionaries.  There are several small homes built around a little school.  An amazing woman tried to teach the children in a school building with nothing and no pay.  There are a few desks and amazingly a few books, a black board and some chalk.  There is no power, no water, no bath rooms, no printers, no computers, no Xerox machine, no playground or anything else.  The people have to go to the main highway to purchase water to drink, use outdoor latrines and carry water to wash and feed a few pigs from a stream about 300 yards downhill from the community.  The water they wash with often creates sores on their bodies. One 15 year old boy is total incompetent and was completely naked when we arrived.  His mother put some breeches on him for our benefit and usually keeps him in a cage at the back of her house because he is unmanageable.  The only employment is the sugar canes fields which draws poverty wages.  The entire community was sitting listlessly under trees to stay out of the heat.  The very atmosphere was depressing.  It is not an easy proposition to know how to help these people.  There are many things that can temporally relieve immediate suffering, but the only effectual struggle is for them to accept the gospel of Christ and begin living in the light of the gospel.



We visited another hospital this week.  They see about 450 people a day, perform surgeries, deliver babies and deal with every other malady known to man.  No one pays to be treated at the hospital.   It is managed and financed by about 100 philanthropists who out of their own goodwill provide for the hospital.  Consequently, the hospital struggles day to day to survive, and everyone waits all day long to be treated with antiquated equipment, inadequate supplies and share a room with numerous other patients.  Yet the hospital is doing an amazing service for the poor. It is very easy for us to create a humanitarian project for a hospital because we have a well-founded organization to work with and can buy equipment that is put to immediate use to relieve suffering on a big scale.  America, do you really want socialized medicine?


It is difficult to even call this a school.  They receive almost no help from the Ministry of Education other than low wages for their teachers and a sugar cookie and a small carton labeled “fresh milk” that is actually “orange drink” for the students.  They have 400 students, many of whom this “meal” may be the only thing they get to eat during the day.  The classrooms are small and crammed with as many as 25 desks, wall to wall, like a can of sardines.  The rooms have large screen monitors donated by some other well-meaning organization, but what good are they if the school has no computers, no power during the day and no running water.  No power means you have no air conditioning, no fans and no lights.  No water means you can’t push a handle and flush the toilet and you can’t go down the hall to get a drink of water.  Books are rare and homework for the children to take home is non-existent.  Yet the principal struggles on and somehow they teach a little bit during the 4 hours the children are in school.  America---quit complaining about your schools!


ADR San Cristobal is an organization we are contemplating helping who manage a school for children with disabilities and also a physical therapy center.


The one bright spot this week was our inspection of the food project is San Jose de Ocoa.  The water system in Parra has been built and some amazing gardens have sprung up around the water supply.  We hope they soon have other gardens in place!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

130519 Wheelchairs

Did you know that a person can die from pressure sores?  That is one item that was taught during our week long wheelchair fitting trainings that were held this week.  Physical therapists Steve Spencer and Dell Felix were in the Dominican Republic teaching the importance of properly fitting a wheelchair.  Ten persons took the review course, and 32 persons took the complete 3-day course.  There were also 31 new chairs fitted to recipients.  Here are some pictures from the event.
Dell Felix, Ann and Steve Spencer ready to start the Wheelchair Trainings.

Steve Spencer, Carlos Zometa, Dell Felix

Student ready in their "chairs".  Wheelchairs were used as the seating for the class to give the uncomfortable feel of a poor fitting chair.

Patient being interviewed prior to the fitting process.  This man, Moises, is from Monte Plata.  We recommended him for a new chair.

getting measured

A happy recipient by the name of Ricki.

2nd Session class 18 May 2013

The balance test
Maybe it got a little boring at times

Sunday, May 12, 2013

130512 Oh My Sore Toe

Well it finally happened! Somehow, someplace Wallace picked up an infection in his big toe.  It was a nasty little germ.  There must have been a point of entry, but we could not see it.  He just woke up with a sore big toe last Monday morning and it started to swell and hurt. Dr. Walker, the mission doctor, started an antibiotic Monday evening, but by Thursday the infection was growing and was still quite painful.  The doctor changed medications and Wallace finally started feeling better on Friday and by today (Sunday) he was able to wear shoes and go to Church.

Here’s Wallace with an onion poultice on his foot.  Something like this certainly makes you appreciate good health!
While this was happening, our Physical Therapist specialist, Steve Spencer, arrived from the US.  Edith made arrangements for transportation to get he and his wife around since Wallace, the official chauffer was unable to walk or drive.  Also a second therapist arrived on Thursday, Dell Felix.  The therapists were here to conduct three wheelchair training sessions. Edith doesn’t drive in the DR and had let her International Driver’s License expire.  Now she is reconsidering renewing her license so she has the ability to drive in an emergency.

The first of the three wheelchair trainings was held last Friday, 10 May.  Eleven therapists received review training on how to properly fit wheelchairs.  Here are a few pictures from the event.
Dell Felix, Ann and Stephen Spencer
New wheelchair brings a smile to Van Troi Perdono pictured  with his therapists Luis Castillo and Juan Carlos Rosario

Moises Figuenoa, a polio victim, received a new standard chair.  He is a member of the Church from Monte Plata

Nine year old Anthony Santos is interviewed by therapists, Yubelys del Villar and D. Almonte

Steve Spencer measures with his hand the proper comfort space for Dioni Lora as his therapists, Zoila and Nelson look on.

Miguel Montaña is measured

Trainer-therapists complete the review course:  Juan José, Ruth, Nelson, Zoila, Yubelys, and Darling Almonte with recipient

Our neighbors, James and Joy Crismon who are also humanitarian missionaries had a terrible thing happen to them today, Sunday.  They were walking toward the subway station when Sister Crismon tripped or slipped on some newly trimmed tree leaves/branches, fell and broke her hip.  Luckily she fell only a few hundred yards from the house.  We were not at home and did not find out any of this until in the afternoon.  She needs hip surgery.  They are trying to figure out how to go to Miami, Florida to receive the operation and then go home for recuperation and therapy.  This is so sad because they were making a major contribution.  We are very sad for them and pray the Lord to bless them.  Joy continues in her cheerful sweet frame of mind in spite of the trial that has come into her life.  She is such an example to the rest of us.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

130505 Never Eat Chicken or Eggs Ever Again

We learned way too much about chickens and eggs this week! 

For all the pictures and movies:  CLICK HERE

In our never ending search for the right solution for a family chicken project, our journey took us to La Vega to visit some real chicken farms.  What an eye opener!
Our first stop to a farm that receives day old chicks destined to become broilers wasn’t too bad.  The pen was large, housing thousands of cute fluffy little chicks, but it was clean, cool and the little chicks at this stage had lots of room to flutter and run about.  Their pen was soft with clean new rice hulls for a bed and the owners were careful to make sure no contamination entered therein.  The water they drink is filtered and chlorinated---probably cleaner than the people themselves drink.

The next stop nearly killed us!  The moment we opened the car door, the stench nearly knocked us flat.  We suffered until the moment we were nothing but taillights; everything made us sick.  The pens were large filthy disease infested putrefied jails with 1000s of sick looking birds.  We wandered around taking a few pictures to learn what we could while the veterinarian we were with walked through the flocks looking for dead chickens.  He found ten, which he proceeded to dissect and diagnose the cause of death.  We were not a bit sorry to leave the place and resolved to never eat a commercial chicken again, even if it is the national dish!

Veterinarian checking for cause of death of chickens.

Our next stop was to a gigantic egg producing machine!   Thousands upon thousands of stressed hens were crammed into pens allowing them about 1.5 to 2 sq ft per bird with long rows of “nests” where they lay their eggs.  Our final revelation of the chicken industry occurred when they allowed us to go into their “modern” egg making machine.  It was a large building with row after row of pens.  Picture in your mind 10 hens all crammed into a 2’x2’ pen called a “cell”.  The hens eat egg stimulating feed and lay eggs that roll out into a tray that automatically carries the eggs to cartons without a human hand touching it.  The space isn’t large enough for any one of the chickens to hardly move.  They are in constant contact with the surrounding hens.  Ten “cells” are stacked on top of each other to form a “column”.  Hundreds of “columns” formed long rows.   There were a lot of rows.   A conveyor belt between each layer of cells takes away the chicken poop.  With the sound of stressed hens all crying for deliverance (which will surely come when they quit laying their quota of eggs!) filling our ears, we left with the resolve to never eat another commercially grown egg the rest of our days!


We helped unload some of the bundles of clothes from the metal storage containers at the Area Office.  We are going to deliver them to random places that we visit.  The idea is that it is time to recycle these clothes intended to be for emergency situations.  Some of the clothes were in very bad condition.

Gertrudy Soriano and Diogenes Leocadio leaders of the Monte Plata Branch receiving 2 bundles of clothes.

Instead of driving to Church, we rode part of the subway line for the first time today with the Crismons and the Wegeners.  It was an interesting experience.  Here are some of the sites on the subway and during our walk to and from.

James and Joy Crismon and Edith waiting outside the subway station for the Wegeners to arrive.

Edith standing near the end of the line.

Lisa Wegener, Wallace, Edith, Joy and James Crismon

Man saleing fish taken from the Ozama River
1 Peter 3:4  ------ ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit in the sight of God is of great price.