Friday, March 28, 2014

5th and Final Work Day

From Tom on the Water and Medical Teams:

Today was our last full day in the DR.  Bittersweet, because we’ve packed so many memories into just one week, but I think that all of us are also anxious to get back to our homes and families.

Several of us made a quick run out to Batey Brador to install the last three home water systems.  These very simple yet amazing systems will be the first source of readily available free sanitary water that they’ve ever known.  The people of the Batey have so very little, essentially living worse than slaves, that it feels good to give them something that may at least lead to better health.  We also made a quick drive through of Batey 106, which is where we built two latrine buildings two years ago.  Due to some recent violence there we weren’t allowed out of our vehicle, but we could see that other mission groups had followed ours and made great progress. That felt really good.

Then we all joined up at the school construction site in La Lechosa, as the medical clinic was held in the church (that Trinity helped to build last year) right across the street.  We saw 111 patients, using local doctors and one dentist.  The treatments are basic, the “prescriptions” mainly limited amounts of over the counter medicines, pulling bad teeth, and handing out reading glasses, but again, it was a huge event in the lives of these people, as we tried to follow the words of Jesus to do what we can do in His name for the least of His people.

Julie as Dental Assistant

Cassie and Marianne Taking Blood Pressure

Rich and Mike Removing Forms
From Jennifer on the Construction Team:

Today was our final day in the Dominican Republic and at the same time that I am excited to be going home I am concerned about who we are leaving behind. While we were here, we managed to provide 75 families with water filters, we provided anti-parasitics, medical care, and dental care to hundreds in need, and made good progress on the school being built for children who do not have the means to go to school anywhere else. Today I worked construction and was moved by the incredible effort made by the children in the community who jumped right in to help us so enthusiastically. The people of this community have very little and still they want to give to us and that is something I would like to take back with me when I leave. This trip has been an incredible experience that we will never forget.

Carolyn and a Friend

Glenn and Pastor Ramone (with his TBC Shirt On)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Work Day 4

Ladies at Mission House Cooked Breakfast by Flashlight This Morning After Power Outage
From Marianne on the Construction Team:

Today was my third day on construction. The past two days Mrs. Laresa, Ms. Helen, Emily and I have been doing activities such as coloring, games, painting nails, and playing volleyball (with a soccer ball) with the children of the La Lechosa barrio. Today when we arrived, we all put on our hard hats and vests and we were ready to work. We started on the rock pile. We would throw rocks into a wheel barrow and then push the wheel barrow up a ramp to dump the rocks in the bottom of the future school floor. A couple of the kids came and helped me push rocks from the top of the pile to the bottom to put in the wheel barrow. Then Ms. Carolyn and I took a break to paint the kids nails. Shortly after, it was time for lunch. While we eat lunch, the kids will hang onto the bars on the windows and look through and wait until we’re done. Afterwards, Mrs. Susan, Ben, and I were putting mortar in between and on concrete blocks to help build one of the school walls. Then the whole team made an assembly line to move 130 blocks into a room to help finish it. A couple of people would load blocks into wheel barrows and I would unload the wheel barrow and pass down the blocks. At the end of every day we have what we call a “bucket brigade”. The cement is loaded into wheel barrows and then shoveled out into buckets. They are passed up to the top, poured out, and then passed back down to start over. We have to move at a quick pace since buckets are limited. Some of the children would help push wheel barrows. One of the boys, Luis, likes to wear my hard hat and gloves when he helps out.  Overall, we had a very productive day. The school is not expected to be finished for three years, but we hope with the help provided by our team and other church’s to eventually get some rooms up and ready for use as soon as possible.

Bienemy and Ben
Marianne, Susan and Ben Laying Block
Susan and the Cutest Little Girl That Came Over to Give Us Hugs
Rich and Marianne Recharging During Lunch
The Definition of Futility

From Corrie on the Medical Team:

Today the medical team drove about 90 minutes to a borough. There was a Rotary Club there that organized the plan to bring in a medical team to the rural community. We saw patients for about 4 hours. Most complaints were not serious, but one lady did have a pretty serious issue with her blood pressure indicating that she needed to see a cardiologist very soon. We cut the day short so that all 3 of our mission teams could visit the local orphanage.   

Inside Home in Batey 203
Mike Killian Installing Another Sawyer Filter System in 203

We visited the part of the orphanage that housed the little girls. The orphanage is clean and well organized. They have their own school on the campus. The girls were all clean and well groomed. They seemed very happy but all seemed to crave individual attention. They also enjoyed playing with cameras and cell phones. They knew how to find their way around cell phones to find and play games.  The girls really enjoy having visitors!           

Susan and Jeff with Francesca

Our Team Finishes Every Evening with a Dedication and Prayer

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Work Day 3

From Brett on the Construction Team:

Hump Day! It was day three on the construction site and I could feel it. With it being right in the middle of the week, tired from previous work with a lot to go, it is easy to not be motivated. However, when little kids in the village come up and help you carry a shovel or wheelbarrow across the job site, you get some energy to go alongside them. The kids were very enthusiastic to jump in today and when they weren’t working, we threw around a ball or played climb the tree. I got to be the tree. Having all the children smile and joke with you really made me remember the importance of what we are doing. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Team Hauled a LOT of Block and Concrete Today

Cassie and Chuck's First Day on the Construction Team

Laresa Is Amazing with the Kids

Ben Found Other Uses for His Headband on the Way to the Job Site

From Mike K. on the Water Team:

After what might seem like a slow start, the water team has settled into an accelerating and productive pace with installations.  Seventy-five Sawyer, PointOne Filters were checked as luggage for our trip here.  The locally sourced plastic buckets unfortunately were not delivered until Monday afternoon. Nevertheless, the team with the help of the local mission staff was able to visit Batey Brador Monday and present the filter story to some of the residents at the local church.  We also visited the batey school and asked the teacher about the possibility of installing a system at the school.  During that visit, we learned that the school had an urgent need for very basic school supplies. 
When we returned Tuesday morning, a resident handed us a list of 31 names interested in obtaining a filter.  We organized as two teams which included an interpreter, presenter, “chaplain” and, most importantly, two team members to entertain the throngs of children that were our constant companion.   Once we obtained permission to enter their home, the chaplain would first develop a spirit of trust with them that was followed with a time of prayer.  A filter demonstration would follow that concluded with the resident sampling the filtered water.  As word spread throughout the batey, it quickly became obvious to the team that the list was growing.  At the end of the day, 18 systems were installed including two at the school.  Also, a suitcase full of school supplies (composition books, pencils, crayons, etc.) was delivered to a very appreciative teacher.
Wednesday started out with some disappointment when we learned that many of the residents were away from the batey for a day of shopping in town.  Any disappointment present quickly disappeared once we organized with three teams and began to move throughout the batey.  By lunch, we had installed 18 more systems.  One particular encouraging story was a young field worker who rushed to the church on his meal break and requested a filter to be installed.  We quickly followed him to his house, prayed with him, and installed the filter. 

After lunch, we journeyed to Batey 203.  Our local staff friends told us we would meet there with the local health promotions officer.  Our objective their can best be described as a sales call.  We also believed that Thursday would be a day of community education before installations could begin.  Evidently, our expectations did not match up with God’s.  The officer there did not need to be sold on the filters and, moreover, she already had a list of 31 residents for water filters!  Tomorrow, we hope to hit the ground running with three teams and install 31 filters before 2 PM.

I am unable to express adequately my sincere thanks for your prayer and monetary support for this trip.  It has been for me personally an incredible three days mixed with mostly spiritual highs.  The low points that do occur arise from the personal stories we hear from the residents we visit.  The availability of clean water will most certainly bring a significant level of improvement to their lives.  There is such more that is needed that it all can become overwhelming.  We all keep reminding ourselves of the story of the little boy on the beach saving the starfishes.

Medical Clinic and VBS – Teresa

We went to our third batey for the week, St. Lucia, and set up the clinic in a church there.  It was a larger church, which was great, and we also had several extra helpers from the other group that is working here this week from Maine.  They were able to run a couple of the stations as well as divide pills for prescriptions, which puts us ahead for the week!

The Maine group also helped with the children and we were able to use classrooms today.  On Monday, we were outside under the shade (for the most part) of a building and one big tree.  On Tuesday, we were outside with a covered pavilion and tiled floor.  Today, we had tables and chairs and I have never appreciated them more.  In the morning, we shared the story of Jesus and the Children and this afternoon it was Jonah.  We also made a craft with each group, complete with glue, paint, and seashells.  The best part was when the children sang the song “Dios es Bueno” or “God is Good”.

Tonight we heard from Jonathan, who is working on this theology degree and works here with the Maranatha Mission.  He heads up many of their education ministries and shared about their program for adult education in the bateys called Backyard Schools.  Through this ministry, they hire educated people from the batey communities for $400.00 a month to teach adults to read and write.  It is a 4 month program and they have a goal of 200 students each term, but have graduated 295 this past term.  The program is obviously meeting a great need in the bateys.

We also heard from twelve different students, ages 18 to middle age, who are trying to pursue college degrees, but who struggle to pay for tuition.  A college education here ranges from $2,000.00 a year for a tech degree to $6,000.00 for a medical degree.  Jonathan himself  is from a batey and was only able to attend college because someone believed in him enough to sponsor his education.  He is so grateful  for that sponsorship and is now helping others to find resources to finish college so that they will be able to return and help more people in the bateys.  It’s a wonderful story of paying it forward in these communities.
Pastor Mike has been preaching on the psalms during Lent, I have been reading them during Lent and every day on the mission trip someone has read a passage from Psalms.  So today the church where we had clinic today had a verse painted on the wall and, you guessed it – it was from the psalms.  I don’t remember all the Spanish, but could translate it:  “Worship God because “Dios es bueno”  - God is good.  God is indeed good and we have been experiencing that each day this week.  May you experience that with us as we share our trip with you!