Sunday, June 30, 2013



The history of the Dominican Republic includes a hundred years or so of slave labor populated by slaves brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane and other farms in the sweltering heat until they dropped dead in their tracts.  They resided in small communities called Bateys and lived in deplorable conditions. Later in history, heads of the Dominican State paid large sums of money to heads of state of Haiti to bring in poor Haitians to work the land.  Today, the land remains in the hands of a few who work the land using mostly illegal Haitian immigrants and descendants of slaves.   The Bateys remain the poor of the poor, depressed economically, suppressed intellectually and deprived of the most basic of human needs and dignity.  They don’t even have decent community names---just Batey 1, Batey 2 ----etc.  They remain as modern day slave camps where the next generation has little ability to escape.

Our humanitarian mission activities took us to Batey 5 a few kilometers west of Vicente Noble a community about 3 hours west of Santo Domingo where we live.  We are going to finance a water project with the organization World Water Relief.  We will put in a water filtration system, and new plumbing to 3 bathrooms and 2 drinking stations at the school in Batey 5.  Hopefully, the children will be able to improve their studies and learning capabilities if they have clean water to drink and a decent bathroom to use during the day.


As we passed through Vicente Noble we had the opportunity to visit the municipal cemetery.  A man with a machete came out from among the headstones!  He scared us at first, but he turned out to be the caretaker (so he said) and actually told us a little bit about the local customs.  Dead people are put in a concrete vault and just put on to top of the ground.  Family members are stacked on top of each other.  If you are wealthy and ambitious enough, you build a little house for your ancestors.



Whenever we are out and about we always like to shop at the roadside markets.  You can get pretty good deals on auyama (squash), mango, (we had no idea there are so many different kinds of mango), lechosa, zapote, rabano, etc.

Tim and Marsha Walker, missionaries who hail from Mesa, Arizona were with us on this trip.  Elder Walker serves as the mission doctor for the entire Caribbean.


We had fun attending a show put on by CONADIS where handicap people are able to sell their wares.  We bought a wire figure, a pretty pot, a hair thingy, and a hen with eggs.

Movie of deaf man carving wood--click on the arrow


Sunday, June 23, 2013

130623 Doble Proposito

Here is a link to all our pictures this week.  Click HERE

We took another trip to look at chickens this week.  The highlight of our trip was to La Moca, a city about 1.5 hours drive north of Santo Domingo to visit with a fellow who is willing to sell us a “Doble Proposito” chicken for $30 pesos each which is about 75 cents each.  What we like about this chicken is that it is not a hybrid chicken.  It is called a Doble Proposito because you can use the same breed for eggs, meat and to reproduce.  They are a sturdy hen, able to endure harsh conditions and do not require such expert care.  The families will be able to have a rooster and some hens and let nature take care of giving them a perpetual supply of little chicks without depending on world markets or local monopolies.  At least we can now give the members a choice.  We are glad we made extra effort to learn more about chickens.

Leon and Marilyn Button, good friends of ours, and also a senior missionary couple serving as secretary and area historian for the Area Presidency, also from Mesa, Arizona went with us to La Moca.  Leon is the brother to our sister-in-law, Trulee Carpenter.  It was a lot of fun to have them with us making a long trip much more enjoyable. 

Edith, Marilyn and Leon Button

Gabriel Ramos explaining about his chickens

How does this darn thing work anyway?

Wallace is so much into chickens now that he is already planning a coop with chickens, quail and 2 rabbits.

We took advantage of the trip to go see the Salto Jimenoa in Jarabocoa since the Buttons had never been there.  This was our 4th trip to the falls. 

Look at that big one!

Marilyn and Leon Button

Wallace with his Dominican Ichiban

We took the following pictures during our visit to Los Americanos hospital in Los Alcarizzos.  We are working with them to organize a new Vision Project for the La Romana area in the Southeastern area of the county where we have never done a project yet.

Reach for it!

Is this thing real?

What is that in there?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

130616 La Gripe

Well the title of the post pretty much describes our week.  The flu (gripe pronounced greepai) caught up with Edith starting on Monday and it was Thursday morning before she felt like she was coming out of it.  Wallace was still recovering from his bout with the flu from last week.  So the protocol this week was to stay pretty close to the apartment.  No ventures out to expose anyone.   The first day out was Friday afternoon.

Humanitarian work did go forward through emails and phone calls, thanks to modern conveniences. We made headway on 3 major projects (projects which originate from humanitarian headquarters in Salt Lake).  The Neonatal Resuscitation Training project shipped supplies this week.  The training scheduled for Sept 9-13 should be able to proceed as planned.  We also started arranging for another shipment of wheelchairs to the DR.  The Vision Project finally got off dead center because the in-country vision doctor made contact and explained that she has been on medical leave, but is now back and ready to proceed with the project. 

So what do Elder and Sister Haws do when they are tired of working on projects?  GENEALOGY!  Dead people don’t care if you are sick.  Do you know who your ancestors are and where they came from?  It is sure a lot of fun to find out!  This kind of research can really grab you!  Edith helped another missionary get started on her family history this week.  Here is a picture of Edith helping Marsha Walker. 

When Wallace is going crazy locked up indoors, he plays the ukulele.  

Ukulele Wally
We thought these pictures taken by other missionaries would be entertaining to you.  We personally are always watching for the record number of people on a motorcycle.  3 people is nothing.  4 is not too uncommon.  5 is rare.  6 people at a time is a record shot.  It gives new meaning to "family transportation".

Scenes like the following are easy to find.



Sunday, June 9, 2013


This is the week of the Super Chicken!  We finally received approval of our first chicken project and had a meeting to kick off the project with the little branch of the church in Monte Plata.  We encouraged them to get formal quotations for everything needed to build the first coop so we can modify the design and quantity list where needed.  We have a lot of branches we have been putting off waiting for our first project.  Finally we can start!

We didn’t accomplish much else this week because Wallace was taken with la “gripe” (flu).  There is a lot of it going around and we came into contact with it at a couple of meetings and Wallace got nailed.  Somehow Edith remained well as most moms do (meaning she probably didn’t feel well, but carried on while the rest of us groaned and looked for comfort and care).
We were invited to a meeting with the Red Cross in Nizao who said they wanted help to get started collecting genealogical information about the community as well as a community history.  We visited their facility and listened to their plans.  Their plan is an ambitious one with wonderful goals to capture historical information before the older residents pass away and give youth something useful to do during summer.  They hope to collect historical and family information and put it into computers including in Family Search.   They also told us a little about a very poor section of the community where a health concern exists because there are no latrines.   

We were excited about the description of their project and overall plan, but the putting it into effect is where the cow kicks the bucket.
They would like new computers.  Everyone thinks we can solve their problems by throwing money at it.  Computers would be a great thing for the community, not just to accomplish their project, but they would double as a virtual library and a place for students to do research.  On the surface, it seems like a great thing.
Edith inspected their 10 computers.  Only 2 will turn on or communicate with the monitor and one that turns on is loaded with viruses and will turn itself off in just a few minutes after starting. 
The electrical outlets are not protected, there are no surge protectors, the cords that fit into the back of the computers are so rusted you cannot insert them into the computer, the walls and ceiling show water damage and the humidity in the room is pretty heavy.  They want to use the internet, but they have no funds to purchase virus protection, no-one smart enough to set-up or maintain the computers and in a short while the “new” computers would be in no better condition than the existing ones.  Buying computers would not solve anything and be a waste of donated money.  

We counseled together and concluded there may be a great opportunity to teach some correct principals.  We ask them to set up a meeting with the community leaders so we can meet with them.  We hope to inspire them to do their project, but using tools they already have (paper, pencils, notebooks, cameras, etc).  People have collected and preserve historical records and artifacts for centuries without computers.  If they are successful, we can probably find others who already have computers to enter data for them in useful computer programs.  We would also take the opportunity to discuss with them the latrine problems and help them see ways they can solve that problem by themselves as well.  It remains to be seen if they are willing to meet.
They Church has contributed to the purchase of artificial limbs for people here in the DR for a long time.  This week we met with them and a former missionary to the DR to review recent building modifications and to discuss how to proceed forward with future orthopedic projects.  We hope to get the local priesthood members more involved in the project by giving member service to the organization and to the people receiving the artificial limbs.

James DeWees, former FTM in DR




Sunday, June 2, 2013

130602 DEAF

Isaiah 35:3,5 “ Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees------the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped”

Exodus 4:11 “------who maketh the dumb or deaf?-----have not I the Lord?”

If you had to give up one of your 5 senses, what would it be? Smell?  Taste?  Touch?  Perhaps the most difficult challenge to deal with is to be deaf?  Without hearing it is very difficult to communicate and enjoy so many wonderful things in the world.  We don’t know why the Lord gives to some the challenge of deafness, but of one thing we are sure, that the deaf will someday hear perfectly well!

There are actually 2 kinds of deafness.  One the Lord gives you.  The other is by choice—turning a deaf ear to the Lord.

This was a good week highlighted by our visit to the “Escuela Nacional Sordomudos”, a school for deaf children.  Like so many schools, they seem to operate on a shoestring, yet are accomplishing some great things for a very needy group of people.  We will purchase some things the school needs and the local members will paint the inside and outside of the school.

We also said goodbye to Benny Lilly and his wife Denise.  Benny finished a 4 year assignment here as the Area Welfare Manager.  We have worked with him in our assignment and learned a lot from him.