I woke early on Saturday after only a few hours sleep. I couldn’t contain my excitement. We were going to meet a couple who I had met online about six months earlier. Internet friends! Yet another first for me. I’d contacted them while still in the States because of what they’ve dedicated their lives to here in the DR: health and education of the poor. A Mother’sWish Foundation is currently in flux as they transition to a new primary focus. The transition, however, is excellent news and a testament to their hard work.
Their initial undertaking offered a clinic which served the five surrounding communities—clusters of homes, really—which focused in delivering basic services related to children’s & women’s health and the most common diseases. Just under a decade later, they’ve found that the instances of disease have plummeted. The most frequent cases they now see are common colds. They’re in maintenance mode and finding, for the first time in a long time, extra time on their hands. Through home visits, workshops, organized surveys, and a great deal of blood, sweat & tears, these kind souls have made immense impacts. And continue to do so.
The project currently underway has zeroed in on the need to educate children—a gap they’ve seen in the community. And, quite frankly, the country. A current hot topic around the nation is that of the promised 4%. The government passed into law a dedication of 4% of the budget for education. Dominicans are upset, and rightly so, that the government continues to pass budgets that don’t abide by this law. The percentage of the Dominican GDP that is spent on education in comparison to other countries, rates #122 of #132. With so little focus on education and far less material resources available, you can imagine the levels of literacy and ability to problem solve among the populace in general leave much to be desired. In steps their pre-school to give the children a good start and a community center which will offer homework help and after-school programs. They don’t want to replace what is in place, they want to strengthen it. Practical. Doable. Genuinely supportive and sustainable. I’m in love.
|My gua-gua neighbor brought several bags of chicks on our trip. He tried to convince me to take one or two home.|
|Max & Josh walk down the path to Pequenos Pasitos.|
|This is the campo. My <3 is here.|
|A room in the preschool.|
|Outside what was the clinic and will now become the community center where students can do homework and find many a book to lose themselves in.|
|The pre-school playground.|
|Through the gate and into their playland.|
|Diego decided to train a new generation of drivers complete with instructions on how to pass properly. The current situation on the roads is atrocious. Check back in 15 years.|
|A playhouse complete with bananas growing in the background.|
|Rita and Diego are growing a variety of things on the property including cacao.|
|Lunch was phenomenal and made by a woman now known as "Chez Chemai"|
|Zora contemplating her next move outside the pre-school playground.|
|Walking through the farm towards the meadow.|
|The entrance to the meadow and home to two cows, several goats, a bunny rabbit and a cat or two.|
|Not to mention the chickens.|
|Josh and Zora walking down the hill toward the treehouse.|
Goat with the best hairdo ever. Hands down, diva. I bet she uses avocado shampoo.