Sunday, January 19, 2014


About a year and ½ ago, we purchased a pineapple to eat, twisted the top off and planted it in a pot.  We watered it every once in a while, but basically forgot about it.  It produced a very pretty plant that we have enjoyed.  To our amazement this week we found it is producing a flower---a sign of a future pineapple!  We wonder if we can do this in Mesa, Arizona?

We traveled to Higuey this week to look at two potential humanitarian projects.  One is for an orphanage of Haitian children whose sleeping quarters burned to the ground just last Saturday.  Our hearts went out to the little group of Haitian kids huddled in the corner.  We hope we can do a project for them.

We took advantage of the opportunity while we were in Higuey to visit a famous spot in the Dominican Republic called the “La Basilica de Altagracia”.   January 21 will be the Virgin of Altagracia feast day during which thousands of people pilgrimage to Higuey for the chance to file past the image of the Virgin of Altagracia where they promise to do things in exchange for favors or miraculous intervention by the Virgin.  Many people will crawl long distances to get into the shrine to wait their turn to stand before the image.  Another big day for the Virgin happens during August of each year.  Herds of cattle are driven to the Basilica in honor of the Virgin and again to solicit favors.  The cattle are given to the priests who sell the cattle to pay for basilica upkeep expenses.

The image of the Virgin has been around since the late 1600’s and is said to have miraculously appeared in different locations and performed many miracles.

We took a little break from our mission activities since the whole world seems to be on vacation.  We went with a group of other missionaries to Las Terranes on the North shore of the island.  We spent the night at a little Dominican motel called “Casas de la Mar Neptuna”. The purpose of the trip was to see humpback whales who are supposed to come to the Samana bay as part of their reproductive cycle.  We took a 4 hour trip on a boat out into the bay to keep our end of the bargain, but the whales didn’t get the message we were coming so we didn’t get to see any whales.  We came home and watched some youtube postings of whale sightings instead.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


A street carnival is such a rare sight we thought we would name our weekly blog in honor of it.

The highlight of the week was a tour we organized of the chicken/garden projects in Monte Plata with our supervisors the Crismons and the Area Welfare Manager, Julio Cesar Acosta.  Julio, as part of his duties, has visited numerous chicken projects scattered throughout the Caribbean area.  But he had never visited our project in Monte Plata.  The scope and design of our project is unique among all the Caribbean projects because it incorporates a “kit” idea for 12 hens and a rooster and includes a garden with each family project.  Most people were skeptical of what we were doing, but we are beginning to see results and after this visit we were so pleased to have Julio give his approval and support of what we are doing.  It made us so happy!  We have a sense of great accomplishment and hope the seed of this idea will bear fruit long after we have returned home. The following are pictures taken during the tour.

Video translation:
Haws "What do we have here?"
Julio "This is one of the small coops we are constructing using the excellent design that has been prepared by Elder Haws.  It will be a great blessing to many families!"
Haws "Thank you!"   Julio "Si, Si"

A large iron pot sitting on an open fire is a very common site back yards.  It is used primarily to cook sancocho (Dominican Stew).  (the latrine is in the background—also a common backyard feature.)

We are fortunate to have a patio area that is really nice this time of year where we can study our scriptures or play Dominican Dominoes which we really love to play!

Two Missionary Couples are leaving the DR this month.  Vicki and Chuck Rucker (from Maricopa, Arizona) and Leon and Jane Leavitt had their farewell speeches Monday the 6th of January.  It is hard to say good-bye to those we have associated with for the past twenty-one months.  It was also a birthday celebration for Joy Crismon, our missionary neighbor. (She got to pick out her favorite birthday hat while we sang to her.)  It is hard to believe, but it will be our turn to give our farewell speeches the 1st Monday of February.

Wallace has become quite the chef.  Here is a picture of one of his breakfast creations and a picture of him displaying his favorite Dominican sauce—Ranchero Liquido.


Sunday, January 5, 2014


Christmas is a big deal in the Dominican Republic.  Dominicans start celebrating with songs and decorations in late October and don’t wind down until mid-January.  We learned a Dominican Song named “Con me burrito sabanero voy camino a Belen”.  (With my plainsman burro, I’m on my way to Bethelehem).  Maybe someday we will sing it to you.

 The day most anticipated by children is 3 KINGS DAY, one of the biggest traditions in the Dominican Republic.  This is the day children receive gifts, not Christmas morning.

On January 4, children write letters for the 3 kings informing them of the gifts they want.  The letters go under the tree, on their bed or they give them to their parents.  On January 5th grass and water for the camels and food for the wise men is carefully put under each little bed for these wandering overloaded eastern travelers to eat during their nocturnal visit.

The next morning happy hopeful children are up at the sliver of dawn to discover the gifts left by the 3 wise men.  (no it isn’t gold, frankincense and myrrh).  The grass, water and food have been eaten of course.

As far as we know we haven’t had any camels visit our house this year.  Maybe it is because we didn’t put any grass and water under our bed?  Oh well, there is always next year.

Here are a few things we did do in a not so busy week.
We visited one of our partners ASODIFIMO who was able to remodel their kitchen using Humanitarian Funds.  It should help them do their work benefiting the poor a lot better.
We made the mistake of paying this young man $100 pesos to polish our shoes one time when we were walking the neighborhood.  He now stocks our neighborhood waiting for any opportunity to polish our shoes.  On this particular day he saw us driving in the truck 4 blocks from home and ran down the street following us until we got home.  Well, we got our shoes polished again.  He does do a nice job.
This is Mario one of our guards.  He is a very nice man who usually has a gun and watches out for us the best he can.  In the background is Jose, the neighborhood conundrum.  He hasn’t tried to convince us he is God lately, but he never loses an opportunity to beg for something.  He has a lot of people who stop by (or are stopped by him) who get lectures about life along with predictions and warnings, kind of like a palm reader.  A financial contribution is of course expected.
Here we are at IKEA pricing out things proposed by one of our projects to help a hospital.