Sunday, October 27, 2013


Employment is such a big problem here that it was nice to see a woman who, having taken a simple class on how to create a special putty, has created a thriving cottage business with several employees.  The basic element of the clay she uses is corn starch mixed with dyes and special hardeners.  Once mixed, they have about a day before the putty hardens to a texture and hardness comparable to clay from a kiln.  We ordered several Nativity scenes from her and bought some other things.   It was a fun little trip to San Cristobal.

Using cap from ball point pen to apply small colored circles

On occasion we have the opportunity to meet and socialize with other missionaries.  Here we are at a restaurant in the “Colonial Zone” where some couples performed typical Dominican Dances for us:  bachata, salsa and Marenque.

We accepted an opportunity to help 6 families get food at the bishop’s storehouse.  Then we loaded 4 grown men in the back sit with a pile of food in the back of the truck and drove first to San Pedro de Macoris and then to Consuelo, about a 1.5 hour trip one way where we delivered the food.

If only I had purchased that winning lottery ticket!
The Guerrero family finally constructed a support for the coop water tank.  It isn’t exactly what we would have done, but hopefully it works and the important part is that it is their solution.  The other 4 smaller coops are finished, just waiting for the Guerrero family to finish their project.  We hope they finish soon so the chickens can be purchased.  It is difficult to have patience, but we are letting things move at their pace and trying to let them confront problems by themselves.
The following is a Guagua that has been entirely gutted out and is now in the process of being restored


Sunday, October 20, 2013

131020 Truth or Consequences

It isn’t every week that we have someone checking up on us to see how we are doing, but this week was the test.  About five times a year we have visitors from Salt Lake checking on us to see how project are coming along.  This week we had Kelvyn and Kay Cullimore here to review our Food Projects.  It was great to rub shoulders with them and get their input on the projects.

The Ocoa Garden Project showed some great gardens.  We hope to see more gardening projects in the downtown area next time we go out, the Branch President said they had chosen eight families to start with.  The plots in Parra are in their second production cycle and providing many types of vegetables.


On Wednesday we all piled back in the pickup with a new chicken coop in the back.  This coop was delivered to the Martinez family and then we were off to visit the other four coops that have been built in Monte Plata.  We were hoping to deliver chickens this week, but only one person is ready, so they have to wait until we have at least five families to make the transport cost worth it.


We did learn that it was chiggers that have bitten us the last two times we visited one of the families in Monte Plata.  This time we were prepared with our insect repellent and came home without a single bite!
Thursday we went with the Cullimores to a Wheelchair meeting.  Kelvyn Cullimore was the former Wheelchair specialist and had permission to review policies on next year’s shipment.  In the evening we had a “pow wow” with the Reyes and Crismons; they will provide consistency in the food projects after we leave.



It was a good week, but we realize we only have four months left in our mission, so there will not be any time to start new food projects.  We are grateful that we have been able to start two good food projects and will be supervising these until we return home.
Since arriving Wallace has taken up playing the Ukulele.  We were asked to sing at a farewell devotional Saturday night and we are uploading the video for your enjoyment.



Sunday, October 13, 2013



We responded to a call from a stake to help a clinic in Las Americas, a subdivision of Santo Domingo.  This little clinic services the poorest area of the Dominican Republic that we have seen yet.  The following pictures do not convey the feeling we had as we began to descend steps through a congested neighborhood ever doing down down down.  Think of a natural cave with steps leading down ever getting darker and narrower.  Add filth in the narrow passages, sewer water ditches that over flow whenever it rains, leaking PVC water pipes, smell and disease and you might get an idea of what we experienced this week.  There are 3 neighborhoods called HOYOS (holes) where the poor of the poor somehow survive. 

We were not prepared.  Edith had on a nice dress and blouse.  We both wore our best go to church shoes.  We did not have on proper attire or nose masks to trend through the slim pits that accompany the oppressed of the earth.

Yet, it is unbelievable that we saw smiles on some faces---even cheerfulness on some.  Others were obviously suffering.  The little kids are running around in filthy conditions and the little boys had fungus all over their heads oblivious to what it means to be a Child of God.

Near the bottom a man has a yucca production factory.  Wallace used to like yucca bread—not any more.

The sewer in one of the neighborhoods all drains to a natural cave opening, ponds and soaks into the ground through the many cracks in the earth.  Little houses cling to the rock all around barely distinguishable from the cesspool that is their back yard.

When the sun goes down, delinquency reigns, and people swelter in the heat or freeze in the rain until the daylight comes again.  There is no escape!

We are going to do what we can for the health clinic.  They operate on practically nothing.  No-one pays and the government gives the clinic very little.  All you out there thinking the government knows how to take care of your health care needs to come visit this area with us.

It is depressing to know that all the medicine, nebulizers, vaccines, and bandages and other stuff we can buy in the world for this clinic is not going to solve the black hole these people live in.

Upon returning to our apartment, we washed our clothes and showered and continue to count our many blessings.  We used to complain---we don’t complain about anything now. 

We don’t even complain about the bichos (little bugs) that get on our clothes every time we visit a certain house in Monte Plata.  These little critters have bitten us up pretty good leaving nasty red itchy blotches on our feet and legs.


Leaking PVC water pipe

Sewer ditches in middle of walkway


Another sewer ditch.  This area floods every rainstorm

Someone had chickens.

Little girl didn't like her hair in braids

Little boys with fungus on their head

Yucca press

Yucca man proud of his work

Health Clinic personnel who took us on the tour


We invited a veterinarian to come to Monte Plata to teach the families about chickens.  The meeting was well attended.  Edith brought the refreshments and won new friends.  Several women lined up to take the empty juice cartons home.  Unfortunately, Edith only had two.


We purchased the paint and other materials needed to make some much needed repairs at the building of one of our wheelchair partners.  They served us Sancocho, a popular Dominican stew.

Wallace with his big serving of sancocho (Dominican Stew)
"How many can ride on a moto?  One more"
By Wallace