Not very spectacular, but certainly very useful.
This is how my trip to Sosua in November can best be described. Evenings with regular heavy showers and once with such a prolonged heavy thunderstorm that the hotel literally shook on its foundations. After this, two of my five bags stood in the corner of my hotel room in a puddle. Long live the hair dryer to blow everything dry again. In previous storms I had temporarily put my bags away high and that was then unnecessary. This time I was too optimistic and they were hit.
The Colegio Asher has moved to the new location. Because the 2nd building on the same site with the classrooms is not yet finished, lessons are temporarily taught in the 1st building. For this, the large dining room has been divided with separate partitions into classrooms. During my stay, the roof was put onto the 2nd building. Hopefully they can quickly move into that building.
In Camu it was also fine to see several children again. Dave took me there, on the now even worse road, and there again Belgica, our contact, stood waiting for us with a big smile. The school results of most of the children who we support can certainly be said to be good. Many of them work a half day on the land, and go to school for half a day. On their faces you can see that they certainly do not have a carefree childhood. The children were therefore delighted with the beautiful new T-shirts from Fox Production. Some were even too shy to want to be seen on the photo.
Teresita, who I have known for almost 10 years, and her husband work in the district for public education in Sosúa and surroundings. A good source of information for me. When requested, she took me by car to a public school for disabled children in Puerto Plata. With funds from our foundation, the school has now purchased the missing shirts of the school’s sport uniforms for a group of children.
During another visit with Teresita and her husband Theo to Puerto Plata, we purchased 144 books, 70 pencil sharpeners, erasers, etc. They had told me about a mountain village (Diego de O Campo) a couple of hours’ drive away from Sosúa, where their son, a doctor being trained, had done some of his training. There, approximately 70 children live with their parents or single mothers, and they still live there "in a different century" Teresita told me. Since then, she and her husband try with others to bring some help to them every year. Thus, exactly where it is so necessary, our foundation is also trying to help. The village is more than 1,000 metres high and it is relatively cold in winter. Sometime in December, they drive with various four-wheel drive vehicles up the narrow slippery path with all the collected relief supplies. Our purchases, T-shirts from Fox and other things that I brought from the Netherlands will then go with them.
As usual, I travel by public taxi. You sit crammed in with seven people in this. Brakes, shock absorbers, lights, etc., often only work partially or not at all. I was on my way to a meeting about education in the DR with people I barely knew. The thigh of the young woman next to me felt ice cold, but after a few minutes in the heat you no longer notice it. When I stepped out the trouser leg on my thigh and buttocks felt a lot colder and I found it was soaked. Apparently, the woman next to me was still in her wet swimsuit under her shorts. So then you go to an appointment with strangers as if you've wet your pants!
Finally, there are now really positive developments to report with regard to the education and attitude of the Dominican government. In increasingly more public schools, children receive lessons the whole day. Up until now, each child only went to school for half a day. In many places new school buildings are now being built, because there are many more classrooms as well as teachers required. But where there are still no new buildings, it remains at a half-day of lessons, as in Camu, for example.
In addition, the government also provides more school uniforms for poor children, but by no means all those who need it receive a school uniform.
Thus things are getting better and hopefully will also continue in this way until after the elections in May 2016. If a completely different party comes into power, there is the possibility that the progress of this government in the area of education will again be completely nullified. For now it does look promising, according to insiders. Therefore we also remain positive.