Sunday, December 8, 2013

131208 Christopher Columbus

This was a very exciting week for us.  We hope you enjoy our adventure!

We took a little side trip to La Isabela on the very north shore of the island where Columbus docked his ship on his second voyage to the Dominican Republic.  There isn’t much left there today unfortunately.  Our guide explained that Trujillo, the last dictator here in the Dominican Republic out of jealousy, ordered the site “cleaned” in 1942 before ambassadors from Spain visited the site.  The site was cleaned all right.  Everything standing was knocked down and pushed into the ocean!  Just a few mounds of stones as evidence of buildings, grave markers and a few roof tile remain.  A museum has been constructed to give a resting place for other small relics evidence of events over 500 years ago.

Wallace looking at the business end of a 500 year old cannon.

This tree and stone outline mark the location of the first Christian church built in the new world.  Wallace is standing under the tree where it is claimed the first Catholic Mass was conducted.  The following 2 pictures are taken at the site of the residence of Christopher Columbus built right on the edge of the ocean with a beautiful view of the bay.

Wallace showing how the guide showed us they formed clay roof tiles using your thigh

This is supposedly the grave site of a Spaniard.  The Spanish were buried lying down with their arms folded.  The native Taino Indians were buried feet down in a squatting position.

At the museum:  Tim and Marsha Walker and Edith


Our good friends the Walkers from Mesa, Arizona who are also serving as missionaries were with us on this trip.  After visiting La Isabela we toured the beautiful garden grounds of the Teleferico.  We had discovered the back road to drive to the top of the mountain to avoid the trolley car up the side of the mountain and all the tourist traps.  We stayed Monday night at the Barcelo and witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen.

Pozo Prieto is a small community high up in the beautiful hills of Mt. Duarte.  It is the site of one of our water projects being designed and constructed by Peace Corps.  We went to inspect the construction, but didn’t remember the right road to get there and covered some interesting ground we had never seen before we arrived to inspect two water tanks under construction.

We were able to drive across the river shown above on this occasion, but normally we would have had to back track our steps because there would have been no other way to cross except on foot.
Two men riding their “horses”.  Both sitting, both with their hands on the steering wheels, both curious about the other.  One horse is fed hay and grain, the other gas and oil.

After traveling a fair distance we came to a narrow bridge that would barely accommodate our truck.  We thought we might have to go all the way back.  Wallace got out and made a quick inspection of the structural elements, then we proceeded across with our fingers crossed and lifting our feet to make the load lighter.  We breathed a sigh of relief to clear the other side.  We finally arrived to where we were supposed to be and drove across the river. 
The following are pictures of the two water tanks under construction.  Edith did the inspection of the inside of the tank! 
They set up 6x6 welded wire fabric, tie tarp around the outside, then plaster the inside, then the outside after removing the tarp and continue the process until they have about 3 to 4 inches thickness.  Then they will form up and pour a concrete roof in the same manner.

A fun part of these trips is to be able to walk through the woods of some of the most beautiful country God created.
As we were taking a hike up the mountain to look at the 2nd tank we came across some illegal cutting of timber.  Wallace is holding a slab of wood they left behind.  The wood is very pretty and would make excellent furniture.  It has tight interesting grains and is very heavy.

After inspecting the tanks, we visited Simona’s home, the Peace Corps volunteer.  After living with her host family for 5 months, she built her own home with a magnificent view from her front porch.

Simona is really proud of her privy.
View from Simona's front porch.

Simona’s host family prepared us a nice meal of bananas, rice, chicken and cabbage salad to eat before we traveled to Santo Domingo.  The blue barrel is a water sand filter. 
We had the great privilege of being present to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the dedication of the Dominican Republic to the preaching of the gospel by M. Russell Ballard.  Five of the people who were at the original dedication we present and we got to listen to some of the miracles surrounding the events of the planting of the gospel in this land.  One of the first missionaries, Kevin Mortensen, and the first family that was baptized were in attendance and shared their testimonies of events from long ago.  It was marvelous!  Beginning with the first family to be baptized, the Boddens, today there are over 124,000 members, 3 missions and 1 temple.  Taking into consideration that there were only 350 baptisms the first year, that is a baptism rate of 3,650 persons per year ever since! 


Everywhere we go in this country, there always seems to be a yellow dog.  We have almost run over several so Wallace wants to honor the yellow Dominican dog in this blog.
Just another day on the road.

Institute youth and missionaries practicing for a flash sing in a shopping mall next week.


  1. Very nice blog! I had heard about Trujillo's men misinterpreting the clean up message.

  2. Very interesting week. Never a dull moment.