Our second Christmas in the Dominican Republic was an interesting and fun time. This year we participated in several activities that show the importance of Christmas to the Dominicans.Monday, 23rd of December we took a 45 minute drive to a Batey. (A Batey is where the poorest of the poor live. They are of Haitian decent and not recognized as citizens here because the government does not allow them Birth Certificates or other ID papers that would qualify them for medical, educational or other government services. They are allowed to live in Bateys to work the sugar cane fields or sell or beg on the streets.) This community was expecting us. We went to take Christmas gifts of toys, school kits and food that were collected through a service idea conceived by the Crismons and Wegeners who had some of their family here to help with the project. Several Missionary couples went along to help. Thanks to a volunteer school teacher and a member of the Red Cross, the community was organized to receive the items.
Wallace accompanied some Christmas carols with his Ukulele and then one of the youth of the community surprised us by sharing a song he had written.
Wednesday 25th of December started early. We were at the “Casa” at 7:30 am to prepare goodie plates for all the MTC missionaries---a total of 45. Wallace helped as the ribbon holder while the ladies wrapped the plates and then we took them to the dining area and surprised the Elders with their gifts and with Christmas Carols.
At 9 a.m we visited “Maternidad Nuestra Sra de la Altagracia” a maternity hospital where we delivered 100 new born kits to the new mothers. Unfortunately there were more than 100 new mothers there, but we left our good cheer and sang was we walked the halls. Dr Reynaldo Jimenez showed us the path and helped us with the singing. It was a fun Christmas morning activity
In the afternoon we enjoyed the company of a few missionary couples for a Christmas Day meal at the Almacen de Obispo where we live.The National Choir and Orchestra performed at the 1st Catolic Church built in Santo Domingo (abt 500 years old) in the evening and we were able to enjoy an outstanding program Christmas Night. It was a full and wonderful day.
We revisited the 5 families in Monte Plata who built chicken coops and have chickens growing. They also have started their gardens! So far our little food project is having success
Wallace changed the coop design to use 1"x12" wood planks instead of plywood to improve durability. We helped the branch construct the first of the next 10 coops.